Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Girl with Blue Skirt - NFS

5/25/10 "Girl with Blue Skirt", 14" x 11", Oil
This is a semi-limited stroke exercise.  After the graduation ceremonies and parties and the long drives each way, I needed a focused painting exercise to get back into my routine.  This might be a good sketch for a larger painting.


  1. Hi Kathryn,

    Will you please explain what a semi-limited stroke exercise is (other than the obvious).

    Thanks! Great little study.

  2. Hi Liz--I got the concept of limited stroke studies from Peggi Kroll Roberts. In her exercise she estimates and then counts the actual strokes on a particular painting, limiting herself to her estimate. When you do this, you are 1) forced to load the brush with enough paint to cover an area with paint without lifting the brush, which forces you to have enough paint in the mixture on the palette (a lesson in itself) and 2) once you get the paint down, you don't go over it. When I said "semi" limited stroke, I meant that I pretty much stuck to #2 but not quite--I fudged a little on that. I think sticking strictly to #2 for the sake of the exercise is a very good lesson. There are so many different ways of getting the paint onto the canvas and I love the surface quality of this method--it is fresh and expressive. It is fun and fast and engages the "right" brain.

    You can get Peggi's DVD's from:

  3. PS--the concept of limited strokes wasn't entirely new to me. Years ago we use to do very small limited stroke plein air paintings in a series. We limited ourselves to five strokes on each panel. If we didn't like the result, we couldn't go back, just on to the next little panel. We used big (#10) round bristle brushes that would hold a lot of paint. Part of this exercise was also to experiment with holding the brush in the non-dominant hand. This type of exercise on small panels is reminiscent of the "apuntes" of Sorolla. I was fortunate to be able to see a room full of these beautiful tiny paintings in the San Diego Art Exhibit of Sorolla back around 1990.

  4. Thanks for sharing that Kathryn, sounds like a great exercise.

  5. Hello Kathryn, I love your work and the idea of doing some limited stroke paintings would be very helpful for me. Your colors and brush strokes tend to look fresh in your work. Thanks for sharing!