Monday, January 17, 2011

Dana Passage Windy Day

"Dana Passage Windy Day", 8 x 12 In, Oil on Panel
It was so beautiful today after the last few days of heavy rain, that I did a couple of warm-up paintings of the view outside my studio window. This is one of them.

A couple of people asked me about the size of the "big brush" I used for the painting yesterday. The one I used yesterday was a beat-up old thick #8 bristle. I've been watching the PKR videos and Peggi generally seems to use #4 and #6 brushes--these seem small to me but are what I've been using the last week because of the lessons. When I take a workshop from Ovanes, I use #8, #10 and #12 bristle brushes. Brushes of different brands seem to also be slightly different depending on how thick they are. But the important thing is that whether you use a smaller or bigger brush, it is loading the brush with paint that will make a difference--its just that a bigger brush forces you to load more paint (if you don't use a lot of medium). If you watch Peggi's videos, she really loads her brush. Ovanes lays out big piles of paint and he really loads the brush. There are so many variables with the question of brush size such as loading the brush, use of medium or no medium, consistency of paint, how you hold the brush--it is a huge topic and one that I am always experimenting with. I read some place that you should hold your brush in a way that feels natural. However, any different way of holding the brush will initially feel unnatural and I've found it worth exploring new ways and creating new habits. For example, I taught myself to be able to hold the brush at the very end with my thumb and first two fingers in order to make a thin line after watching Jove Wang hold his brush like that. When I first tried this, my hand was so unsteady that I was lucky if I got close to the place I wanted to paint. But with practice, now I can do it much more easily.

Purchase this unframed painting.
Contact me if you would like to purchase a plein air frame.


  1. Kathryn,
    Thanks for the brush info. So true about brands and types also. Then loading and how you hold it- so much to think about!!
    I like "Dana Passage"- It looks like a sunny beautiful day from the colors. The sky is gorgeous!

  2. Kathryn, Just had to send a note and tell you how much I enjoyed your holiday still lifes, especially the roses and glass jars. Great stuff! Also, just adore that painting you did in the video demo - the girl with the yellow scarf. Your paintings are getting better and better. Must be all that daily painting!!

  3. Love this bright landscape. Love the minimal strokes and all the thick paint.

  4. I love the painting and reading your posts. Beautiful brush strokes. Very nice!

  5. Thanks so much for the discussion of big brushes and strokes. I often either hear artists recommend using "big" brushes and so many times that is hard to figure out what that means to them. I have been watching PKR's vidoes too and you are right about the amount of paints she uses. I have often tried to hold my brush like others but like you said, it takes practice to really make it comfortable for you. I do, however, continue to try out different things to see what works best for me.

  6. Thanks for all your comments! If anyone else has experiences with different types of brushes and how you hold them that you'd like to share, I'd love to hear about it!