Art 1 – Brushwork and painting trees – Due 3/18


Watch the following two videos and note techniques in brushwork, variation in tone, opposition of large strokes with detail strokes, and the beauty of the composition in the last one (comsider the arangement within the area on the page and the use of space, movement into and around the picture plane.)

Artist in China

Comment on brushwork and technique in both, the use and importance of tonal variety, the purpose of large strokes with detail strokes,  and also comment on how the Chinese artist creates balance and interest in the composition (how does the artist draw your interest in and carry it around the picture plane.)

Spend an hour drawing a variety of different kinds of trees from observation from real life, not photos.  It need not be a composition or scene.  These are studies of the structure of trees. You may need to use several pages.


29 responses »

  1. The first artist almost told a story with their painting. I think the technique that shocked me the most was how they drew that little thin tree on the far left. I actually stopped the video and played that bit over again. I never would have thought of using the side of the brush that way. I also really liked the way the artist used the floppy round brushes to make branches a variation of both thick and thin, flowing the same way they do in nature.

    The second artist was phenomenal as well. At first, I didn’t quite understand what he was going for until he drew the first tree. Then when he pulled out the pallette knife, I was amazed. I’ve used a palette knife in art before, but never to manipulate paint in that way. The details which he put in were amazing. I particularly liked how when he started, it would me a general blob of dark colour, and as he worked on it, it suddenly took it’s shape. I was fully impressed.

    • Brushwork is so important in painting for both the manipulation of paint for imagery and for personal expression. Remember the pressure variation we did with ebony pencils to get thick and thin lines for spatial play? But when you consider the variation in brushwork, color, and paint mixing, there are more possibilities.

  2. The first artist did some beautiful work. I was astounded by how the artist was so free with her/his movement. It was so detailed yet it was almost like the artist wasn’t even trying, it felt effortless. The artist used a lot of water to make the leaves and he/she used the side of his/her brush a lot. At first I didn’t undertand what the tree on the far left actually was and then, at the end when we got a second look at it I realized what it was. A tree with a background! It was definitely may fav.

    The second artsist astounded me!!!!!!!! I actually watched the video over again because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. He actually used the top of his brush and made little splotch marks…and like ecil said his control of the pallet knife was amazing. He did that amazing piece of work in five minuets!!! what!!

    • That kind of freedom comes with experience. It’s almost like a dancer, floating across the page. I also enjoyed watching the Chinese artist again; you notice new things each time you watch.

  3. It was amazing in the video how the first tree was drawn in a grey background and the difference in tone made it pop. The large strokes and the motion of the brush gave the tree good texture and then adding in the smaller details later made it seem very realistic looking. The light and dark browns and greens also made it look very realistic. It was amazing how the chinese artist would just start what seemed to be a blob of paint but then he transformed it into a scene by using variation of tone and scratching out white parts in the paint to make rocks or texture in the trees. It was amazing how quickly he painted and how detailed he could make it in such a short period of time.

    • That’s a nice observation about layering and working from larger areas to smaller detail strokes to fill out the illusion of the form. So many times we want to do it with one pass but it’s the layers that add depth.

  4. Both artists were amazing, and I’m really jealous.
    They both started out with simple brush strokes, then transformed them into something you could make out what it was. The chinese artist especially, he’d have a weird shape of paint, and then a few moments later it would be a tree, or a house.

  5. I liked the way the trees were designed from texture rather than outlining and the use of different shades of gray. I think often people overlook the beauty of different shades of gray and that the color, or rather the lack of color, automatically makes the art ugly, or “bad”. I also liked the use of lines to create a fascinating, almost poetic sensation in the art’s viewers. I liked the decision of using non-standard tree colors, such as blue, to accent the gray shifting of values. Again, it shows that art doesn’t have to exactly mirror real life to be beautiful, and that sometimes escapism is what art needs to be effective.

  6. I found both of the artists particularly depicted the lightness and darkness of a tree, and their works are amazing. They seem don’t pay too much attention on the details of leaves, but focus on a overall style. The first artist’s color composition is beautiful, and I found The main branch was drawn at first as a structure, but some detailed branched were added later in cater to the leaves. The second artist really did amazing job in details, his knife created vivid shade. The fastness of the drawing shows his control over the picture composition. When he drew something that doesn’t have a shape, he has an idea in brain about what to do to make that part a dense of leaves.

  7. Both artist were amazing. I liked how they started out so simple and then they would add little things and make it look realistic. When they started it looked nothing like a tree. But they continued to add layers and colors and made it look real. The paint brush moved very smooth. It was like they weren’t even trying. It was just how the brush moved. I also really liked the colors they used.

    • Those little details that pull the illusion of realism together at the end are probably the result of careful observation in drawing from life and the study of techniques from master artists so that when it comes to painting, the artist has in mind the type of mark to use to represent the details.

  8. The first artist’s techniques were pretty basic, and I didn’t think it was all that good but the second one was really interesting. In the beginning of the video, when he was making the marks with his brush, I wasn’t expecting that much. But then all of a sudden, with total confidence, he would take that knife thing and all of sudden it was totally transformed. What he was actually doing wasn’t that complicated, (not that he isn’t super talented) but yet the end result looked like he had slaved over it to get that effect. The roots, the water, the fence, the pathway; he created them so effortlessly but I never would have guessed it by looking at it. It definitely made me look at the tools you use, and how much of a difference they make.

  9. Unlike wallflower I liked the first artist’s techniques. Although they were basic, they were more useful. I, unexperienced tree renderer that I am, need things to be simple and easily explained in a concise and understandable fashion. That’s what the first artist did, and they deserve credit for that. And although the first artist’s paintings were undeniably less complex, I thought they looked pretty good. I know I couldn’t do better.

    The second artist, as I said, had more complex paintings. He was also very good at what he did. That video wasn’t an insturctunal video and I came away from it awed at his skill, he worked so fast and in a very relaxed fassion, but I didn’t come away a better tree rendoror.

  10. Both artists were fantastic. They painted with such clear understanding of what they wanted to accomplish, and that astounded me. I think it’s important to let the art takes you wherever it might, but also have a sort of abstract goal of what you want to get done somewhere in the future. They left open possibilities by starting with large, light brush strokes and making darker, finer, and more detailed lines as they discovered which direction they wanted the paintings to go in. The first paintings may have been less complex, as wallflower and Frodude said, but they were beautiful in their simplicity. They got the point across of the structure and beauty and changing tones that a tree has in a very concise way.

  11. Overall, I enjoyed watching both of the videos for the artists. Both videos were quite mesmerizing. I liked the different techniques and styles of art the first painter used. They quickly created different treas that were unique and had their own style and color and feel to them. The trees in the first video seems a little dark and sad, from their pale and faded painting style.

    The second video was very interesting. I was very impressed with how fast he painted the first landscape and the detail that he showed. He seemed to be just carelessly whipping the broad paintbrush across the canvas but the detail really showed in the end. He used the pressure of the brush and the strokes to finely tune the shadows and the darkness of the paint. I also liked his use of the knife to scrape away paint to create a new texture and look to the paint. He quickly could transform on solid tree, to one dressed in branches and covered in roots and bark. He used texture very well.

  12. i enjoyed the use of tone and variation simply because a lot of people dont see it but in a tree each leave has a different tone or shadow and i think its important to convey that some how in your painting. the difference between the brush strokes being used was very impressive i found the second video more interesting with its technique.

  13. Both artists initially used a larger brush to apply the base coat, usually very watered down. Small brushes were used to add detail layered about the initial coat, and paint was gently blended into the canvas using a larger brush. This multi-layered effect looked odd in stages, but culminated in the end with a beautiful result for each painting.

    Unlike the first watercolor demo, the Chinese artist used a scraping tool to add texture and dimension. This technique really made the lights and the darks of the painting pop out in contrast, and effect which I find quite appealing.

  14. Thought the both artists was cool in the way they layered the paint slowly, and how the paint slowly came to together to form their pieces. Also thought it was cool how they used a lot of different shades of the same color to really detail his/her piece. The way the artists used different sides of the brush (wide, thick broad strokes or thin whispy lines depending on the face of the brush) is fascinating. The way the Chinese Artist used tools to give real texture to his painting was really interesting.

  15. I personally liked both artists’ work, but I felt that the first artist’s more simple techniques were more helpful to me. That artist seemed to use a lot of water and a technique with the side of their brush to create texture and keep paint light and transparent.

    I thought the speed with which the second artist painted was astounding, and I think you didn’t really realize all the details they were putting in until the painting was done. I was also shocked by how easy they made it look.

  16. I really love the trees that this artist drew. And I think their amazing! In my opinion, I think the artist more focus on the darkness and lightness of the trees to show the reflection of the sunshine. And that makes the trees more lively and more real. What’ more, in the middle of the video, the artist changes to use the tissues instead of the brush. And this creates a better shape of the trees, also because the tissues have a bigger area for painting, it can mix up the colors more naturally.

  17. The first artist put a lot of effort into the leaves of the trees and the general shapes of the branches, but I think it would have been interesting to see a bit more detail in the texture and color of the trunk and branches of the tree.

    The second artist was exceptional. They painted very quickly and put in lots of small details that usually take me forever to finish.

    Overall these were both really neat and exhibited some cool techniques.

  18. Both of the artists were very good and they made it look super easy. the first artist made the tree and then dabbed on leaves which was very interesting and the second artist was so fast, it was amazing.The way the Chinese Artist used tools to give real texture to his painting was really interesting.

  19. I thought both artists had very effective as well efficient techniques. They used minimal brush strokes and it looked wonderful. If you focus on making it look perfect with every little detail it’s never going to be finished. Mostly because it will only look perfect if it’s imperfect. That’s the way the natural world is. I find that the more time you spend trying to make it look right, the farther you get from realistic. Also, the brush strokes were very fluid and gave the painting a feeling of movement. I was very impressed with the speed and skill of the second artist but I also appreciated the simplicity of the first.

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