Thursday 25 March 2010


Violet Studies and Varied Brushstrokes

It is amazing how a simple walk in a country lane can create so much inspiration. With a million things that  need to be done this morning I find myself distracted casting everything aside and playing with a violet.

On a scrap of paper with absolutely no intention of creating a frameable painting I have simply allowed my brush to capture the essence of the tiny flower. The first challenge is to gain the exact purple shade which isn't as easy as you may think. Next I needed to decied is this a solid petal or a transparent one. If you look at my samples above the answer becomes obvious. The solid study looks more realistic.

Then I choose my brushstrokes. I don't physically choose them anymore because after painting for many years I instinctively know which will suit each subject but there was a time when I never really gave this much thought.

From studying in China I know where and how I place every mark is  important. I can achieve so much with just one touch of the brush.

My Shanghai mentor was a tiny lady who was a master in her work. I felt honoured to be able to hold her brushes yet alone use them. She taught me how to load my brush with more then one colour at a time. She taught me how one brush in any size can achieve so many effects purely by how you apply it and by how much pressure you use.

The petals of the darker violet are in one stroke without my returning to the petal to add more pigment. It's a  well placed and controlled action. Then by turning the brush at an angle and laying it sideways on the paper I can create the larger lower middle petal of the same flower..If I lift the brush quickly I can create another effect simply by removing the brush from the paper at a certain speed.

Where we start, where the brush first hits the paper and  just as importantly what happens when you pick the brush up to leave the paper is so exciting. .And yet it is an overlooked area. As artists we often describe everything else but not brush control.

I am so grateful for having lived in China, so lucky to have been taken under the wing of a gifted mentor and to be honest, delighted I can pass on this knowledge. Keeping tips is  a selfish act. Passing them on helps others create beauty for to be enjoyed.

I feel like painting primroses now in a Chinese style, I wonder how they would turn out!




love seeing this post jean have been making studies of violets there are so many beautiful different shades and white ones ... tiny flowers are beautiful and difficult to capture ! you sound really pleased with the book .

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. God Bless You.