Personal Art Blog

Sharing the lessons I teach at the Artist Guild and the personal discoveries in my art.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Watercolor Detail and Fan Brush Video

Artist Note.
On yesterday's post I showed a video on how I use the fan brush
for foliage. The link I provided did not work so I am 
showing it again today.

Thank you to Lauren Nelson for sending me a corrected link.
I have never even met Lauren, but she has generously 
helped me with computer issues before.

Yesterday's post was on using oil paints but I have been asked 
if the same technique
works with watercolor or acrylic paints.

Above is a foreground base on which to 
develop texture or grasses.
I used watercolor and fan brush in same technique
as on the video  Naturally, the difference between the video 
and using watercolor would be starting lighter
and gradually adding the darker colors.

close-up of foreground - oil
I start with my transparent darks first...using the brush like a chisel
See short video below after reading.
Then I add the opaque colors using the same technique.
If you try it, then remember to leave some
of the darker areas showing. After the demo, I noticed many
of the artists were not using their arm or holding their brush
at end of the handle - they were controlling too
much by holding their bush in the middle, and being very careful.
Unfortunately, this results in a very uniform stroke.
So listen to the sound of the brush against the canvas
in the video and you can tell I whack at it.
I have found it gives a more natural appearance to build on.
Practice on a piece of canvas and remember you can
wash it off and keep starting again.  You will end up with a
canvas you can still use with a wonderful neutral base.
Take notes of the different effects you like so you can
repeat them
link to video HERE


  1. Goodness! Love that English accent, Julie! And this was so darned helpful! I use the fan brush exactly as you said most people do and while it can be helpful for trees (particularly pines), I've never been really satisfied with my results. I loved seeing how you used it for watercolors and I know the results are spectacular for oils as well. Love the colors in your foreground in oil and the watercolor is a spectacular weedy area! Thank you for reposting the link!

    1. So pleased you got the see it this time. Thanks so much Sherry for giving it another go.
      Me - an accent?

  2. The link works well and it is wonderful to see you in action. I would surely have used the brush incorrectly. I appreciate you explaining how to apply this method with watercolor as well! Great point about holding the brush at the tip too! I love the effects you get and the idea of working the brush like a chisel. This is invaluable information Julie!

    1. Hope you give it a go. Anything we do differently always helps our painting. It helps solidify what we like and what we don't.
      Thanks so much Celia.

  3. Dear Julie - I loved seeing this video...the link was perfect - sure hope you will do this again - enjoyed seeing you work...will be trying this with my watercolors for sure. Hope you had a lovely Mother's Day. Hugs

    1. Thank you, dear friend. I loved your post for Mothers Day and YES - my day was lovely.

  4. Thanks for the video! Love the way you manhandle that brush!

  5. Yes, thanks for the informative video...I'll try this!

  6. I must admit it never occurred to me to use those brushes as a chisel. Duh! I never cared for the phones mark they made used pulled downward, but I did like the very thin line they gave me used sideways. Good video video. Got me thinking.

  7. A picture worth a thousand words. I will try it but also just use that stroke with some of my older brushes. It will be fun. Thank you Julie.


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