What better time to test different types of watercolor brushes then when you are filling up the final pages of a journal made with great gelatin-sized paper!?
That’s what I’m up to as the year moves to a close and I have 16 page spreads left in a hand-bound journal.
Studio unpacking has progressed to BRUSHES. Yay! I haven’t seen them for over 3 years. (I’ve been working with a small selection of rather worn but familiar brushes.)
I picked out some dagger brushes, pointed oval mops, long rounds, and a filbert grainer.
In that video I show you the various brushes I’ve picked out and go through my initial test sheets sharing the notes I made about my initial reaction to the brushes—how floppy or resilient they were, what the points were like, etc.
Monday I did a quick sketch of a State Fair chicken, from one of my archive photos. I painted it mostly with the Princeton Neptune 1/4 inch Dagger brush.
I did also try a second dagger brand for two strokes, but it didn’t “meld” with the other marks I was getting so I went exclusively with the Neptune.
The Princeton Neptune line is a watercolor brush line with very soft fibers for brush hairs. They are a little too floppy for my general taste because remember I like to push thicker paint (even when working in transparent watercolor) around.
It’s definitely a whole new experience for me to use this hard to control, floppy dagger in my sketch. I’m still exploring the marks it can make, and water control in this brush is a whole new matter I’ve just dipped my toe into. Look at the close up of the image and you’ll there are a lot more back runs than in my usual work. And in general the paint is more dilute.
There’s also a lot more texture of strokes everywhere because I’m feeling around to see how to lay down the paint while the brush tip dances away from me.
I understand that people love this brush style for plants, landscape effects, and other painting subjects where the strokes need the specific shapes this brush style offers. I’m not sure I’ll be able to integrate it into my work which currently focuses on portraits, but I’m having fun playing with it. You’ll see more posts about the brushes I discuss in the video in the weeks to follow.
I’ll even be videotaping some of these painting sessions to show on my Patreon site in 2024.
I hope you’re deep into your own art tool testing experiments as the year draws to a close and you’re filling up your journals!