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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Benefits of Brushing Out a Painting

'Summer Meadow'             16x20          pastel       ©Karen Margulis
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It was a Studio Surprise Day.  That's when I walk into the studio with nothing really in mind to paint. I puttered around and did some business things and as I was putting something on a shelf a painting caught my eye.  It was an older 16x20 pastel that I had put aside. It was a commission that was cancelled so I never bothered with it. I didn't love it because it wasn't all mine...I had painted it with the wishes of my client in mind. They asked for specific colors and details and when the commission was cancelled I was happy to put it aside.  Today it called to me. (don't you love when that happens) I knew what I wanted to do.

The original painting

After a good brush-out
I brushed the painting off with a stiff brush leaving me with a ghost image. I sprayed it with workable fixative and went back and simplified the whole painting. Brushing the painting off was the key! Why does this help?
  • When you brush out a painting you are left with a soft and dreamy image and you remove a lot of the detail. The more you brush the more ghost-like your remaining painting will be.
  • It is much easier to make changes over the ghost image. For one, you see less detail to bog you down and you also restore the tooth of the paper allowing more layers of pastel. I like to use fixative so that I 'fix' in place the ghost image and I like the texture that results from working over fixative.
  • The ghost image allows you to simplify and determine where to paint with the most clarity. One of the things I disliked about my original painting was the fussy detail everywhere. I wanted to simplify and unify some of the busyness.
  • Brushing out something you aren't happy with just plain feels good! It is always good to remember that nothing is precious....brush it out and do it over. It's only paper and you might end up with a more pleasing painting!


JodyArt said...

I never thought do do a brush out,thank you for the great tip.

Julie Ford Oliver said...

I love the end result. It is beautiful.