Art 1 – Brushwork and painting trees – Due 4/28

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Watch the following two videos and comment on techniques in brushwork, variation in tone, opposition of large strokes with detail strokes, and how the second artist creates balance and interest in the composition. (Consider the arrangement of form, the use of space, and the movement into and around the picture plane.)

Artist in China

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

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25 responses »

  1. This was really really cool to me. The way she was painting each thing showed that she had experience, but it was also showing that it could be easy for someone to just learn. A lot of the fluid-looking brushstrokes are from the amazing brushwork and careful placement. But nothing is really planned out, the pigment is all just put down where she wanted it and where it made the picture flow.

  2. Both of the artists in the videos were amazing! I noticed that in both, they each had very loose grips of their tools. This allowed them to have that fluid loose creativity within their pieces.
    In each they first laid down the dark parts of the composition and then used that (along with other tools) to create the lighter parts. It was cool in the second video how he removed pretty much all the paint to create depth. Examples were the path, the rocks, and the roots leading to the tree.

    Another aspect that both had in common was there abstract looseness in the trees themselves. This created a body that everyone could recognize but wasn’t too details to make to over power the piece. Majority of the detail was actually in trunk and roots of the trees. I think this added to the dimension of the tree and the piece as well.

    In the second video, the artists creates balance and a sense of space through his act of putting a large tree and a setting next to each other but not too close. He also creates shadows in the water for each part, adding yet another demonstration to the painting. One other thing he does is make it so the parts of the painting leave the page so it look like there is more beyond the piece. This gives it a nice “real” aspect to it. The second video painting was definitely my favorite. I want one.

  3. Both artists have free flowing brush strokes and kind of let the ink take over. They both have a loose grip on the brush. In the first video the artist used water to make the tree look slightly blue which served as leaves and it differentiated from the branches. I also liked that the artist in the first video used a sponge instead of just a brush. The guy in the second video has so much skill. He is able to create such a detailed wonderful piece within minutes on the street. I like that he used the technique of taking away paint instead of adding paint to make details. He also uses blotting to create the sides of the river bank which was interesting. He leaves large blank spots which balances out the really dark blacks he has in the painting. one thing the second artist did that caught my attention was he gave us a certain perspective as if we are walking down that trail.

  4. Wow both of those videos were amazing. I especially like how the chinese artist used the knife thing to create white negative space that took shape into walkways and fences and the vines, which in my opinion were spectacular. Both artists, as mentioned above had quick, relaxed strokes that relied on the ink to make its own kind of art. I thought it was interesting that the image took a while to be recognizable to the viewer. Both artists used water to vary tone and mix colors and both used tools in addition to brushes. The artist in the first video sometimes used multiple strokes to create a knobbly trunk and also used the technique taught in class, of wetting the brush and just dipping the tip in ink. I liked how the second artist added branches to the canopy of the tree after having made leaves and again I loved the vines. The second artist’s piece was great. The seeming simplicity with so much white space yet the detail and the sort of sweetness of the image blended perfectly to make a somehow emotional piece. The placement of the land with the water winding through the center added movement and asymmetry which was mirrored in the walkway. I agree with SilverNight in that I want one!!

  5. I find it rather amazing that something as simple as brushstrokes can be so defining and influential on how something looks, especially something like a tree. I also thought the two blocks of color in the first part of the video and the dabbing of brown was a really strong point, it proves (at least to me) that nothing has to be perfect and the outcome is greater than the sum of its parts. Like square said, the process of removing paint instead of adding it, was rather ingenious. Also like SilverNight said, the abstract looseness of the trees themselves, s present and makes me feel certain emotions and kind of an amalgamation that could be applicable to all trees or specific enough to just the one.

  6. I thought thats it was interesting how, for all but the first, the artist used relatively large loose strokes for the leaves and small controlled ones for the branches, which is the opposite of what I would have done. As for the second video, I simply cannot comprehend how he manages to pull it off. he creates balance by having trees on both side, but keeping it from wing symmetrical. I’m not sure what part of the composition makes it so interesting, but I think that the process is a big part of it. How does he do it so fast?

  7. Brushstrokes are incredibly simple, yet these artists make such a beautiful and complex thing out of it. Each brush stroke by itself didn’t make art; they all worked together to create a beautiful representation of nature. The large strokes defined the general shape, but the smaller strokes begin adding detail and color, actually making TREES. I love these two artists so much. The chinese artist seems to focus more on the broad shape, the design, the layout of the piece, rather than the individual trees. The trees all work together to create a scene. The first artist focuses more on the individual trees and the details that they are composed of. The bark and the leaves and the branches work together to create a tree.

    I like these people!

  8. Both artists in the videos had a loose grip on their brushes. In turn their brushstrokes were very loose. Both artists also used variation in shades to make their trees come to life. The women would build paint to create darker areas, then add water is she wanted it to be lighter. The chinese artist would start out pretty dark and then scrape off paint to create the light areas, which is how he made branches. Both artists used large strokes to create trunks, and littler strokes for leaves and near the tops of the tree. The chinese artist had a balanced composition, because on one side of his painting he had several small things like the house and on the other side he had the one big tree to balance it out. Both of these artists were awesome.

  9. i absolutely loved the two videos. The first one was great because it opened my mind up to the idea of using techniques that i my not think of at first. For instance, i would have never thought of turning the paper sideways to get those horizontal lines. But after i saw that, it seemed so self evident that thats what would make the tree look the most organic. Also, using the sponge to create the leaves was great too. One thing that the first artist did well was to create an organic imbalance in color. It wasn’t uniform or balanced over the central axis of the tree. Instead, there was more color and leave on one side which makes the whole thing seem more natural. Also his use of detailed strokes mixed with brod strokes made it seem more realistic. The second painting was most surprising. I don’t know if he had the whole picture in mind before painting or if he was making it up as he went but the overall balance was great.

  10. The artists used some very detailed brush strokes that were methodical, but for big sections of the paintings, broad random sections were used. The trunk was also the darkest part of the painting, and seemed to be the most methodical. That doesn’t mean the entire trunk was dark, because there was a lot of positive space and value used to make the dark parts look darker. The brush strokes were small detailed back and forth strokes. To layer with different colors the artists used water to dilute the solution, this made the colors become lighter, and the artists would layer over different sections with darker colors. Long strokes were used to create the trunk, and littler stokes were used to create the details. Shapes weren’t used as much as I would of thought.

  11. The brushstrokes are deceptively simple, very loose but actually detailed and precise at the same time, making it look simple and easy when in reality it wasn’t. The strokes seem to flow over the paper, the ink forming abstract shapes until a tiny change is made, a detail added, and all of a sudden it becomes not only recognizable but breathtaking. Large strokes seemed to be used a a base, while smaller strokes and the removal of ink was used over them for details. Darker tones, often with more of a blue undertone, were used for shadows with the first artist, however the second artist seemed to prefer to remove paint for emphasis. The second artist draws the eye through negative space, and the use of constant between very dark color and white, or in a few cases, pure black and white.

  12. I like how the artist uses very simple brush strokes and slowly blots them down using a dabbing technique, then slowly glazes over with more details. Long thin strokes are good for the trunk of the tree, while deeper, stronger strokes are used to evince a calmer tone to the work. I like the contrast in colors that the second artist uses, particularly with opposites in the branches and the leaves. They use a general color to represent many of the leaves, rather than detailing all of the leaves together. I will try to use this in my drawing.

  13. The brushwork looked relatively freeform, but you could tell that it was very methodical as well, with the difference between thick and thin strokes giving the painting depth. The broader strokes created a base, while the thinner ones add all of the details. The variation of tone and intensity is what makes it appear to be three-dimensional, and gives it an almost dreamy look. Also, mainly with the second artist, the removal of the paint created emphasis. Another way to create emphasis is to use more saturated and intense colors, which are contrasted by lighter more translucent shades. Another way that they create emphasis is with negative space; the absence of any paint draws the eye there very effectively

  14. my computer wouldn’t play the second video but I really liked the first artist’s trees. I noticed that he always drew from tree from the ground up and would often add the leaves before he finished all of the branches because they are somewhat unpredictable. Furthermore I noticed that he left alot the piece up to the imagination of the viewer where contours, shadows, and leaves are often hinted at and inferred into existence by our perception of it. He also drew very loosy only guiding when the brush would make a sharp curve for a node of a branches and largely let the actual curves create themselves. i also noticed that he applied shadows after he had already created the lighter shades of the trees structure.

  15. My computer would not play the first but the second video was amazing and I couldn’t believe what the artist had don’t is such little time. The artist either started from the bottom of from the side and was always very quick to add the different colors and details. The artist used very different tones in each of the trees but blended them in such a way that it felt like it was meant to be that way. Her brushstrokes were seemingly light and delicate but held so much color that they came out strong and brilliant. The way she used the whole space for all the trees and wasn’t afraid at how they would clash if they got to close amazed me. she also seemed so smooth in all her motions, I can now say I am interested in drawing trees.

  16. I really liked the fluid, loose brush movement and the casual way that the artists approached their paintings. They started broad and loose and then moved on to the details. I really liked the way that the second artist used the scraper tool to make incredible detail. What really amazed me about him was the way he did the roots on the tree in only 4 or 5 scrapes and they looked perfect, and effortless. He also let the viewer fill in what he didn’t with many suggestive lines and shapes that allowed for an even better looking piece because the viewer was fabricating parts of it. He also uses lots of stark contrast with pure black and pure white which gives it a very distinct look.

  17. The brush strokes of the artists perfectly expressed the shape of trees and branches. The artists used swift, organic strokes rather than spending a lot of time making each line perfect. It looked almost as if the branches were growing directly from the brush– in other words, the brush strokes looked so effortless. Both artists used shading to create a tree-like texture and dimension. I particularly enjoyed the style of the Chinese artist. The use of simply black, white, and the shades of grey in between conveyed the tranquility and simplicity of trees along large landscapes. There’s also a sort of captivating eerie-ness in these paintings.

  18. The biggest thing I noticed about both artists is the confidence of their brush strokes. Confidence not necessarily in speed–although both artists were remarkably quick–but more in steadiness; it’s like they’ve been painting trees so long that they don’t even have to thing about it anymore, they just move their brush and a tree begins to grow. I also noticed the way they held their brush was really relaxed. The first artist had a loose grip and even used the side grip that we used earlier in the year.
    The other thing that interested me was their approach to composition. Both artists started off with big lines and shapes and then slowly came down to detail. A particularly striking example of this is the way the second artist came in with the white at the very end to create the path of the right side of the painting. I thought it was really amazing that they could create such realistic and meaningful works with just black and white, and I think it really speaks to their skill in detail work.

  19. For the first video, I thought the way the artist created leaves was really cool–she used several methods, including flat strokes with her brush and patting with a stippling/sponge sort of item. I really liked the way the second method looked and hope to try it in my own work. The way the artist in the first video created the branches and trunks of her trees was also interesting–I especially liked her first and last trunks in which she paid attention to both the dark and light spots in the bark.

    In the second video, I thought it was interesting how the artist progressed through the painting, starting with wider, darker strokes and then slowly getting down to details. She blocked out the dark areas first and then went in with some tool to wipe off/scrape off the black, leaving the highlights behind. I wonder whether the artist knew what she was drawing from the beginning, or if she was just letting the art take over–I would guess the latter! Something I really like about the composition of the piece is how the object in the foreground (the tree) doesn’t necessarily command all of the viewer’s attention–my eye keeps being drawn to the background, where there’s house and a boat. I liked that a lot.

  20. In the first artists video I thought the great variety of brush strokes and use of what appeared to be water was very interesting. This created different textures and allowed the painting to come to life in my eyes. I saw that these brush strokes were made possible partly by the relaxed way in which they held the brush. In the second video the method of going about the artwork really stood out to me. Starting with wider strokes and becoming thinner and more focused on detail as that work progressed. I thought that it was really impressive how both artists were able to create such realistic and detailed works.

  21. I thought the first artist seemed to focus more on shading to create texture and shape to the trees, and leaned the brush bristles more on their side to get a thicker sweep of ink,larger brushes to make three-dimensional tree trunks techniques in brushwork, a sponge to create more blend between the leaves and the trunk (making the tree seem more organi)c, and the point of the brush to draw fine branches.

    The second artist seemed to work very quickly and concentrated less on the direction of his brush, but more on the amount of pressure he applied (from small dabs to stamping the paper with the bristles), and used these variants in brush-dabbing to create a variation in tone and create a pattern for the tree. The darker brush dabs create the trees, where the lighter dabs and sweeps make the soil. He also uses the knife to create more shape in the soil as it adds lightness and accentuates the shadows. Another brush is used for blending, just as the first artist uses the sponge.

  22. I thought it was cool how the artist used the abstractness of water color to actually enhance the look of the tree by making it more natural because I have always had trouble controlling watercolor. It’s interesting that she goes in at the end and thickens the trunks or adds more branches because I thought you would do all of that before you add leaves. I also liked how she stacked darker colors on top of lighter ones to make shading and variation of leaf color.

  23. Something interesting that i found about the making of the trees was in the first tree it was one of those compositions I really didn’t know how it was gonna turn out because of the two thick pillars but they were a creative way of setting guidelines for the trunk.This in itself spoke to the fluidity the artist used when communicating this sturdy solid trunk of a tree. Another thing that was eye catching was both her layering of colors and the different tools she used to create texture. The multiple layers of the water color enabled her to enhance depth with in the picture with out taking the effect of making the tree out to be a few almost accidental brushstrokes. I could not access the second video it looks on my computer that there is only one video and I am not sure how to respond to the second video.

  24. The painting in both videos would require a lot of practice drawing trees and landscapes, and they show how to use a brush to create texture. In the first video, they use color, but very subtle color. Also, they use varying brushstrokes, to create texture and leaves. They make the tree shapes organic, and unstructured. The second painter was spectacular. I like how he would paint first and then move the paint with that other brush so it adds light. He made the painting look like a photograph.

  25. It’s quite interesting to see the trees that kind of jump out and paint themselves, creating an organic and cool image of trees. The paintings are really realistic in the second one, and it is very interesting to see them paint in a way that I don’t really expect to for trees, but using this somewhat odd method, they create a really interesting and really detailed painting.

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