Mark Making: the Sequel


Why all the long brushes? Most of my instructors have used either short flats and brights or only filberts for all of their work. Jerry

Lori's Response:


Why all the longer-shaped brushes? I get asked that a lot, and have touched on it in an earlier blog once before (original post can be found here). Recently, I have been taking more time to demonstrate just why I love them, and why I have them in so many different hair types. First, a word about the length. Longer hair, quite simply, holds more paint because there is more surface area. I advise my students to fully load the brush on all sides, and practice making long, juicy strokes and calligraphic marks. Hold the brush as the very tip and parallel to the painting surface. With a light touch and just the right paint consistency, these long hairs do the work for you. Long flats can fill an area quickly, while longer filberts and egberts leave graceful, expressive lines. Add just slightly more pressure on the brush to make broader swaths.


My brush collections contain both natural and synthetic hair types. Rosemary & Company's Bristle Series responds to more aggressive, textural moves. I use these mostly in the beginning stages of a painting where thin, scratch-like darks make sense. The Classic Series, loaded with thicker paint, lays paint right on top in progressive layers. Next, enjoy designing medium-to-small-sized shapes with the Ivory Series. One of my favorites, when loaded properly you will appreciate the added finesse you can achieve with these as compared to the previous two types. Moving to a softer and slightly springier hair like the Evergreen allows me to get just the right amount of added dance in my work. Try loading with medium-thick paint and use a light, quick touch to skip across the surface of water or finish tree trunks and branches. Just by varying the pressure on the brush and rotating it, you will find dozens uses for the egbert shape. The long flats are useful in much the same manner with the added perk of having nice, sharp corners for dots and dashes, sparkles on water, and delicate leaves. Use swords for wild, organic shapes, and don’t forget to alter your stroke direction. The obvious mark works well for fine grasses, but also experiment with pushing the brush flat side to the canvas, lifting, and pulling. Finally, with only the tiniest bit of effort and thinner paint, use Shiraz riggers and swords for fine lines, and staccato marks. These are just a few of the brushes I use. I also enjoy long Masters Choice flats and filberts Series 279 and 278 and the inexpensive Series 303 in medium to larger sizes. Experiment, play, and see what you can discover.

Check out my Rosemary & Co. brush collections. 

Lori Putnam 8 Brush Starter Set

Lori Putnam Complete Set

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