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post #11 of Old 06-24-2016, 03:13 AM
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Location: Stockholm, Sweden
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That's interesting. I have a few Taklon and nylon brushes. Taklon holds paint fine, but the hairs are thinner and won't leave equally pronounced marks. The 'bright' hog brushes have this characteristic that they may remove paint, but many artists use this to an advantage. They are designed to cover an area by making many short strokes, thus increasing the colour 'vibration' in the paint layer. Many artists buy only 'flat' hog brushes, which have longer hairs and are easier to handle. But as they are worn down, they become 'bright' brushes, which are useful, also.

In my view, brush marks, as well as other structural elements, are very important. It leaves the artist's signature on the painting. Many art experts can determine only from the brush marks which artist has likely painted it. The tactile aspect is valuable because it makes the painting more material, that is, it is not merely a representation of something else, but is a material object in its own right.

This tactile aspect is evident in old still lifes, but in another way. Below painting is by Luis Meléndez (1716–1780). The Old Masters tried to create an illusion that was even more real than everyday reality, so that one almost wants to snatch a piece of cheese from the painting.

However, most people, today, aren't prepared to make this enormous effort, and that's why it's important to make the painting tangible by other means. Braque added sand to his paintings, and he use much pastose paint. Interestingly, he sometimes used a lead pen, because he liked that the drawing showed through.

This emphasizes the creative aspect. Visible brush strokes are like moments in time that have become imprinted in paint, and thus one gets the impression that it was painted yesterday. It enhances the feeling of reality, and therefore also the artistic value.

Mats Winther
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post #12 of Old 06-24-2016, 06:20 AM
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I should add that Braque put great effort in imitating marble and wood in his paintings. This was to achieve the effect of a material and tangible reality, i.e., something that we are familiar with through the sense of touch. Arguably, the still life is the highest art form, because it is all about tangibility. The artist is standing very close to the object, so that may touch it, unlike in landscape painting. Therefore the latter has more the character of depiction. At least, this is how one could understand Braque's great preference for still lifes.

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post #13 of Old 06-28-2016, 04:21 PM
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Location: Glendale, Arizona
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I believe I'll stick with my original recommendation that for beginners, the use of stiff, natural hair bristles may be discouraging, because of the manner that they deposit the paint.

There is always plenty of opportunity when reaching the final, uppermost layers of an oil painting to lay the paint on thickly, with impasto strokes that show, and with all the 3-dimensionality that goes with it, but for beginning, underlayers, a smooth, brush stroke-free surface is much easier with which to work.

It is terribly difficult to apply fresh paint over a textured, impasto, dried, oil paint surface, and for the initial, block-in layers I'd always recommend a softer, flat brush for that purpose.

There is plenty of time to glob the paint on, using thick, impasto applications of paint, even with a stiff brush that leaves those choice brush strokes and marks. But, for beginning painters, with beginning layers, I'd still recommend a soft, Taklon bristle brush.
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