The Magic of Watercolor

Lesson 12 of 24

Watercolor Brushes

 

The Magic of Watercolor

Lesson 12 of 24

Watercolor Brushes

 

Lesson Info

Watercolor Brushes

so now we're going on to watercolor brushes now I always like to have some kind of great quote in here from an artist that I find someplace so I found this quote I tried to remain cognizant of the potential beauty of a single mark of the brush as an element in itself and I said earlier that to me brushwork is one of the most distinguishing characteristics in an artist when they become a painter and this pretty much says it it it can be a single element in itself and if you think about sumi painting and the calligraphy that they do the breaststroke is the most important thing in sumi painting that's what sumi painting is all about all right now these are our basic brushes brushes come with soft and hard bristles natural and synthetic they're flat rounds and specialty brushes and these are the ones that are in our kid a one inch flat a twelve inch around I'm sorry number twelve round a number eight round and a rigger you have a pretty good range of things that you can do with these four ...

brushes okay now these are some larger washed brushes the one on the left is a quill ma mops are great for soft applications and glazing they hold lots of paint and as you can see they narrowed down to a pretty fine point and I brought mike will mock with me today and I can demonstrate that a little bit later when we start getting into our breast strokes the next one is called a windsor and newton wash brush this is a hog hairbrush it's a daniel smith brush I think it's a susie short brush he's a local painter is pretty well known this one is a one and a half inch wash brush and this is my squirrel brush my really really soft squirrel hair brush that I use for glazing and wedding my paper when I'm getting ready to stretch shit having one good sized large brush in your in your stable of tools is a good idea it will save you lots of time and it will help you paint more efficiently because the general rule of thumb and painting is use the largest brush you can use for the area that you're painting so if you're trying to do an under painting on a a sheet of paper that soaking wet use a big brush because you'll get more of the paint down faster that way it's just a more efficient way to paint uh these air some specialty brushes the one on the left is called a fan brush fans air good for specialty painting and blending they're good for textures you khun take a fan because the brushes air kind of stiff you khun take a fan and jab it up and down on your paper and get you know fine leaves on trees and all kinds of things it's a very very effective brush in many ways the next brush over here is an angle brush I used my angle brush a lot I don't use it to paint with so much but you can because it approximates a flat you can see it has a flat uh angle on it and it paints just like a front flat brush does when you hold it at the right angle but I use it for lifting because it had its synthetic hair the hairs are fairly stiff and it just lifts out to a point it's just beautiful for lifting this is a dagger brush it that's a very interesting brush I got it because I just wanted to try it it's very very soft I think this is made with squirrel hair I'm pretty sure and it you can smash it on the paper and get some really interesting techniques with it and then that also of course comes down to an absolutely fine point this brush here is called a needy water brush and this is great when you're traveling this is a a hollow brush that you khun soak water up into you can fill it with water and then you screw the top on put a top on and take it with you traveling and then when you want to paint you squeeze the handle of the brush because it's a soft plastic it's hard enough to hold like a brush but soft enough to squeeze and it squeezed squeezes the water out into your paints and then the then you can pick the paint upon the brush and when you want to clean it you just squeeze more water out of it onto a paper towel or something like that and uh you got you got your water and brush all built into the same instruments kind cool and these last two are scrubbers the one on the left is a larger flat scrubber that I have that has some very it's sort of hard textures britain texture bristles in it and this one is the one that I asked to be included in our kid this may I may actually be showing the larger one here because I have several different sizes of scrubbers but these air for lifting these air for lifting your paint's off of your paper I also brought assuming brush which is one of agreement this out of the way sumi brushes have these little round loops on the end of him and what most of the sumi artists I know do with thes is when they're done painting with him you don't want any moisture or ink sumi ink or watercolors dies or anything like that too so back up into the brush these don't have a typical for rule on him so what they do what my girlfriend does she takes chopsticks and puts them on a shelf and waits him down with the book and then she hooks the sumi brush over the end of the day you can't even say it because it's she hooks the sumi brush over the end of the chopstick that way the brush dries out with the brush down important to do it's a helpful hint and then this is a hockey brush this is a typical asian hawk you brush and there are a lot of watercolor artists that just would never go anywhere without their hockey brushes I I like this brush it's good for a wash if you don't want to if you don't want to spend thirty of forty dollars on a two inch squirrel brush they may even be more than that hockey brushes air very inexpensive and so if you get to the place where they're just ruined or the fibres just only bend you know like you can't even get him straight anymore it's not the end of the world to toss this brush to use it for gluing or something else entirely what I always found with hockey brushes though was that when I used himto wet my papers so that I could stretch the paper on the board fibers of the brush would come out and then I would end up having to go back in with the fine point of an exacto and try to lift off the hair of the brush without damaging the paper and so that's that's just been my experience that other people who love them they paint with a moment exclusively and it's a very reasonable way to go with your brushes now this brush is like it's like a filbert brush and I don't know if you can see the brush harris they're sort of round did in a kind of an oval crescent shape minds a little bit misshapen uh but this is good for washes too I never use it but a lot of people do I actually put a piece of green tape around the bottom of it in case I ever want to do acrylics are paint with any acrylic mediums or anything like that you never want to mix your bushes if you paint if you're a dual painter and you paint in watercolors and acrylics you separate brushes don't mix him up now you can get him pretty clean and my mind goes well why not you know if you wash it off at the end with some soap and water why not but that's the general rule with um eventually one day you're going to paint with your acrylic brush you're not going to clean it properly and then when you go to use it for your watercolors you got a problem so just to be safe I wouldn't mix him up and this is my quill mott brush and well when we do our breast stroke so I'll lead this out so we can do a little sample with that some people love natural bristle brushes other people love synthetic brushes it just depends the natural bristle brushes have a tendency to be softer and they don't have the the strength in the bristles that some people really really like the synthetic brushes air have more tooth to them they they're a little bit harder they they put more pressure on the paper it just depends on your style of painting and what you're the most comfortable with so the hockey brush soft hair good for large areas the sumi brush is really great for linear drawing in shapes but once you use them for a period of time they don't bounce back they sort of retain their their shape now my hockey brush does bounce back now because I haven't used it all that often now you're gonna want to get an effective brush holder I don't want to use the term good because you just want something that's effective this brush holder on the left is one that came with my large portfolio I have a very large sort of canvas for police portfolio that I take my paintings and artwork back and forth to class from to class with and this brush holder came with that portfolio and I find it very convenient it just slides down in the side pocket of the portfolio and I take it out and aiken you know too sly it flat and that contains pretty much all the brushes I ever use but I've used the one on the right is well the one on the right is called a fuda maki brush holder it's very inexpensive I think daniel smith sells like six ninety five or something like that and it has this fabric sewn into it thes air like like bamboo little bamboo sticks and the pockets hold all of your various brushes and it holds them up straight and it's breathe a ble because these air just pieces these air just sticks next to each other so so everything dries out and then you roll it up like it like you roll up sushi you just roll it up and it has this little thing around that has a little plastic nip on the end of it and that plastic nim once it's all rolled up you just put stretch that tight and stick it in between the slats of the bamboo and it holds it all together but it protects your brushes so you're gonna want to do that what cause once you once you let a brush dry in a bad form in other words if it's if it's if it dries and it's bent or it dries and some of the bristles are stuck out to the side it's very hard to get them back if you can really damage your brush now another brush holders the one I just had out here when I was showing you this is a great holder if you use fewer brushes than I do because what happens is you can stand this up this thing goes off and secures it in place and that just stands up right on your desk and ah lot of people use thes because you know to tell you the truth if you I take all of my brushes with me everywhere I go because I don't I don't know what I'm going to be doing in my next class but if you're a tte home and you're painting a painting hopefully you've done your strategy you figured out what brushes you're going to use you figured out your techniques you've stretched your paper if you need to you've you've created a strategy in your head and you've got this all set up so if you know that you're only going to use for brush is this is perfect because it puts him right there okay so here's an exercise let's take out a piece of paper you guys and let's paint with all of your brushes let's do wavy lines let's do some dry brush techniques let's do soft and hard pressure and take any paper that you want to work on you might want to take a run like maybe one rough sample and one smooth samples so that you can try on two different papers that are really really different you can even try on your u po if you want actually maybe I'll do on this watercolor board you guys can do whatever you want to maybe I'll try this and we'll see what what happens with that because I'm not painted on this before I just had a sample so why don't you try mixing a color not you know not just sticking with your primaries now like see if you can mix up and really nice cool purple with your eliza rin and your ultra marine and I would start with a nice fully loaded brush and run it across your paper and you'll see the paint will get thinner and thinner and thinner and thinner and thinner and thinner and thinner and it'll be very heavy and loaded with painted the beginning but get very thin at the end then if you lower your brush so that it's at an angle and you don't reload it with paint you can get your dry brush technique and that's the dry brush technique see that then what's makes another color got some grain here let's go with some green and I'm working with the one inch flat now start with your thick stroke and turned the brush and end up with a thin stroke now we're painting pretty slow here eventually you get to the place where you're so adept at what you're doing that this this just becomes second nature my tea one of my teachers uses her flat almost exclusively and she holds her brush like this I don't know if you can see I'm I've got the brush like this she holds it like this and she paints this way all the time that's sort of how she gets trees tops of trees bushes on the side of a house anything where she wants a little bit of texture in a little bit of interest mixed in you can see that makes a great tree trump and she uses the side of her brush which I never would have thought to do I would have thought oh I'll hurt my brush if I do that but you can't you can't as long as you don't just grind it into the paper to the point where you pull the fresh air is out but you know you can get just turning your brush and using it in different ways I can give you some really great effects I like my little tree is a happy little tree so happy little barbara street okay so that's our one inch so let's take our number twelve this is my daniel smith number twelve probably comes close to being the brush I use almost more than any other and let's do another color let's make a bright orange or make whatever color you want it makes no difference to me what kelly you want to paint with so there's a request to see one of the students paintings is that what we're seeing now yes that's craig yeah too many craig's and greggs that's right that's right so I would start out on this and I'm going to run this right into my tree and see what happens to the paint when it hits the wet I'm going to start out very light and thin and then I'm going to press harder and harder and the harder and harder and then let up on the pressure and then go down again and then let up on the pressure see what happens when you press hard the paint thins out when you let up on the pressure the paint runs out of the brush down onto the paper and onto the board and then when you press hard it gets then again these are the kinds of things I would really like for you to just practice and just take a pencil and take some notes and this is how you will learn how to paint by practicing your strokes taking notes about it so that you know what you did later so that you don't come back to it you know after three glasses of wine and go huh on molly I just want to show some of the other people's pieces this is what they would think that he's playing with various things wait we only have one camera for the I love the way you bled all those together david well yeah that teacher that teaches you color mixing right you did two exercises and one that was great that was a great idea always the rebel david always the rebel get one more oh that's nice perdita now we're going to we're going to try something called scum bling now scum bling is a very interesting I'm going to make some fellow with this dark green I had mixed before I love scum bling it's fun you never know what you're going to get with that either but it's fun scum bling is the one on the slide show that's underneath the green stroke in the middle it's this is the scum bling technique right here all this one through the middle it's a combination of dry brush and side stroking and you literally hold your brush parallel to the paper you don't hold it like a pencil or like a brush or any of your standard ways you hold it parallel to the paper and you just stumble along you paint with the bottom portion of the brush not the tip and I mean take a look at this does that make great waves on an ocean or rough choppy sea wave does not great that's gambling yeah and I you know I can't say this enough what's so thrilling about this medium to me is that you don't know what you're going to get you can be fairly certain you can have pretty good control but there's always about twenty five percent of what you're looking for that's that's unknown before you get it and what brush were using to do that not a very not you don't want to really especially because you're using the side of the brush and you can you know hurt brush fibres if you press too hard it's not a very hard pressure is just what will give you that that light dry brush technique on top of the paper and what what brush are you using for that I'm using the number twelve round number twelve around and somebody else I made a comment on stumbling and they said it sounds like what she would paint after those three glasses of wine strip you would tumble back into the studio to go stumbling yeah you can go over it again and if you go over whatever was done the first time and it's still a little bit wet and then you put more color rented to it you get bleed effects in in puddles and pools of the water and I mean it's just that's why it's so important to do exercises everybody wants to go to a painting and you know before we finish this class today we're going to do a painting uh but with been in class a few times now but doing these exercises is really important because that's where you sort of subliminally taken what you need to take in I had a great a quote from a student after taking a ten week photo shop class at the very end the students said yeah but this is all great when are we going do something well that's what's left up to them I can't paint anybody's painting for the moon I can just give them the scales all right so let's take our number eight brush and pick up another color now the number eight brush comes to a pretty fine point you can get some nice fine detail with your number eight as long as you you know make sure your pressure is right you see those thin lines but you can also do then press down hard wavy then press down hard then press down hard all of your brushes will give you this kind of effect if you lift press lift press lift press and move in a wavy line so you can also do things like this a lot of artists paint water this way of course they don't do it with red the red sea there was a question on this gambling there people want to know if you loaded the brush yes you do you could you pretty much loaded you don't want it to be so loaded with water that the minute you touch it to the paper a big wash falls out on the paper but it has to have enough paint down in the bottom part of the brush bristles so you in order to do that you don't just dip it in because then the paint stays all on the tip you need to load it up all the way down to the bottom now that was my pyre als scarlet and what I thought was a pretty dark color look how that's drawing look how light that is now you're not seeing the totally accurate color um in the cameras because of the heavy light on it but thank you for adding bacon to that the last little one that you did there like a piece of bacon and people were happy okay so that's your number eight that you're going you're going to want to play with that one too because when you want to do some of some of the finer details of things that's probably where you're going to go now I'm taking my rigor and I'm going to use the halo blue here let's get a nice dark color and I'm going to mix that with whatever palate juice I got down here and the rigor are those little strokes along the bottom on the sample slide where it looks like these strokes down here where it looks like blades of grass along a beach you see this kind of stuff along a beach are along the edge of the you know in a landscape and stuff like that or the same kind of strokes that you can put in trees so what you do is you hold a brush up towards the top of the brush you don't hold it down here because down here you can't get quite the flicker or the flick that you're looking for you hold it up in the top and you put it down and you flick it and there's a art and a and a way of doing it and there some who are just masters of of this rigor I don't do it enough to have become a master at it but it's a great brush it will give you effects that other brushes simply can't give you your you're stroking craig you're going like that you want a flick it let's so how do these brushes relate to the brushes and photoshopped can you get e no I thought about that a lot when I was doing some research on this for this presentation of course you know I went to the web and I would type in brushes and brush strokes and at least at least two thirds of the links that came up on the first page of google were all about photoshopped brushes not about this kind of brush right so that's been very prevalent on my mind recently well for you photoshopped users out there you know I got all these brushes that you can do with and there's about six point two million combinations you could do with a brush in photo shop yeah and that about another fourteen million combinations of brush is that you can use with watercolor and painting and in yesterday's class jason you said you only know about eighty five percent of what photoshopped khun due and I almost fell off my chair because I took a class um gosh it was that ivy see right when they still did classes many many moons ago I took a class from somebody who was a photoshopped beta tester and he had he the class he said in the class he said I have been working on this program for six straight months forty hours a week eight hours a day five days a week and I only know fifteen percent of what this program conduce and that was twelve fifteen years ago right so if you know eighty five percent I have to tell you my hat's off to you I don't know how you do it well you know that somebody said I want jason to teach this watercolor class in photo shop able to get and you know you can I mean because there is the watercolor there's the water color filter yeah in photo shop is you make it look like a watercolor and I stay away from it obviously for obvious reasons but ideas and it can make it but it's to me it still looks digital it is it just still looks digital because it's it's formulas and algorithms and and it doesn't have the the lack of structure and the lack of predictability to it that that true painting by hand has so let's see some samples of what everybody's done what what do we have going on there you know another interesting thing about the photo shop thing is to is that I use one brush in photo shop it's the round fresh period that's all youse right but that's it nothing else right I don't need anything else everything else now see david I love the way your colors all bled together I think that's I think that's fabulous I mean look at look at what happened they're having fun but that is just great in your brushwork god that's faneuil ous this is perdidas oh pretty you did really well with with your rigor yeah yeah the rigors of really good isn't it fun burgers a great press this's great we have greg craig and craig so this is you got a lot of varied line in there I think that's I think you learned a lot and then now what paper did you use greg I use I just used to the one we tore half okay to start today okay oh no I guess I didn't you okay use the artist then used a full quarter sheet okay and haven't you craig when she's uh been using the um cole leather not the most rough one word about the saunders one hundred forty pound calls sanders waterford that's a good paper too yeah let's see what is the one that you've been using that yeah let's see what you did with it I've just been trying to get my scrambling down I had some difficulty with my scrambling I figure that maybe my brush was too loaded well you need to make sure I mean you don't want it to be soaking wet so that when you put your paintbrush down it just drops a huge pool of that's what I think too much water too but you need the pigment down in the bottom of the brush it needs to be down in the bottom of a fish okay now let's take while we're still painting we're going to do our next exercise and what you want to do is just take a sheet of paper I'm gonna use this one and you want to with clean water wet like a rectangular area sort of a square rectangle lam doing this on rough paper so this is going to look probably different from anybody else's but just have a nice wet section well in the middle of your paper people are asking what's the difference between a rigger and a liner brush they're pretty much the same and it's called a script brush a rigor a script brush and liner brushes I've never actually bought a liner brush but I think they come pretty close to being the same I'm not positive because I've never bought one but one of the questions was doesn't recur brush have less hairs on a liner brush well it depends on the size you get it just depends I mean there's a size that has about three hairs in it and then there's one that's quite a bit has quite a bit more you know brush dimension to it than the others it just all depends they come in different sizes too ok so so pick up one of your paint and make sure this is one that has a good amount of pigment in it you know pigment to water ratio pretty thick and just start on the dry side and drag your brush through the wet portion and then come out the dry side on the other side that it's so cool now I'm going to use my number twelve round boy craig I just looked at the clock again I can't believe it I thought I took so many slides out I thought oh this is going to go so much faster now take your round with another you know pretty loaded with paint good thick paint run it through again and then come out dry on the other side and then take your number eight and do the same thing so what pressed you used teo sign your name you know what I used to sign my name pencil ted not all uses a pencil and I never thought of doing it before but that's what I use it gives a lets me right in my sort of characteristics imer a style and it's not dark and it's very unobtrusive and I don't like my signature to be part of the painting some painters it's part of it but they put it in the painting somewhere I don't like that so anyway look what happened that's wet into wet and went into dry all in one fell swoop I don't know if you can see what's happening here but is if you can see how the colors are blending between the red and the green let me angle and get the shine off can you see what's happening there right where my finger is pointing it's fantastic learning to use those mixing things are going to make a huge difference in your ability to paint okay so I'm going to continue on with the presentation then while everybody else is painting that's the exercise we just did okay dry brush jokes you can get fine dry brush strokes uh little coarser and very coarse the breast strokes down on the bottom were taken were done with a pretty wide brush that I put make sure had plenty of paint on the tip of it and then I separated a doubt I separated out the hairs of the brush so that there were spaces in between and then I painted with that so they're all sorts of things you can do this painting you've seen before was done I stumbled the mountains I did some dry brush and then I went back with a brush loaded with water and just dropped in water to see what happened and I loved the effect of what that did up in those mountains but that's a little dry brush mountain technique so what we ever trying a three glass of wine watercolor class where we actually have three glasses of wine and is trying to do watercolors every once in a while my class breaks out a bottle of wine and we but we get kind of rockets it's full of a a bunch of women who've been painters for a long time and we get together as much for the camaraderie and usually we have decaf coffee but you know we do do it now in class you got an exercise a piece of paper that looks like this so take that out and we're going to do another exercise take your one inch brush and mix up really good puddle of paint I'm going to use ultra marine and it's gonna have a little bit of a liz um crimson innit because I don't care what color it is I'm going to use my palate juice for that mix up more paint than you think you're going to need to cover a square this big and you might want to use prodigy it might want to use your one inch and mix up so you are okay I couldn't see it it looked like the twelve makes a good amount of pain start filling in your square now when I do a flat wash I pretty much leave the paper flat because you as long as you stroke while the paper while the paint uh the paper is wet you can go over your stroke you can add paint and you're gonna pretty much end up with a flat wash now normally on a painting you're not painting squares like this then in the end you might want to tip it up a little bit and if you have a beat of paint down at the bottom that you don't want to be there clean out your brush a little bit and turn it into a thirsty brush which means that you taken most of the water out of it and just touch it to that area of the paint that has too much pigment in it did you wet the paper first before I did not I did not for this now you can but then you really have to have more paint in your brush and you have a chance of having having it not be quite so flat and smooth now that's a nice flat smooth wash that's a flat wash pretty flat you do you have to mix a lot of pain now you might actually you guys might actually want to tape the piece of paper down for this next portion because you're going to have to tilt your board a little bit to do your graduated wash so now I'm going to do a graduated wash and you do with the paper first there thanks you've got some good clean water and try to give it an even coding when you're doing wedding toe wet it's always a good idea to hold your wet area up to the light so that you can see that the sheen the shine of the water is covering all of the paper now I didn't do that once on that one painting where I ended up with those great wonderful clouds because I thought I'd wet the whole painting and I didn't and that was a happy accident but if you really want to make sure you have a totally soaked area you'll need to hold it up to some light now what you do with this is you take your brush you load it with paint any go along the top then you went rents the color out and you go back with a clean brush that has most of the water taken out of it and you graduate all the way down now some people you can also get a better effect when you do this on dry paper and what you do there and I'll try to do a little sample of that you can do this either way now that's not a great variegated wash I bet if I went back in still wet enough up top so I went back in and put some more paint and went over it I might be able to fix it because it's still wet enough but it's very difficult to fix these afterwards and I can see now that it's not gonna work for me because I'm getting a back run but that's a variegated wash now you can we try it with a smaller brush just off on the side you can do a fully loaded brush and you get like a beat of paint along the bottom see that beat a pain I don't know if you can see it it's so small and then you go in with a brush that doesn't have any painting it just clear water and as long as you touch that bead and pick it up it's not really working it's too small in area but you can sort of see it you get it's dark here and it gets lighter is it goes down into the water this is something that you're going to have to practice a lot and I don't know if you can see I have sort of a dark stripe in here I actually think the water there was the paper was too wet and I think I went in with a brush that had too much water and it also and but that's what you do you tilt it and you let the paint the force of gravity bring the paint down on the paper and molly there's a question of what does the term back run mean back run is when you have more water in your brush water to pigment ratio in your brush then you have in the area that the brush touches in other words if you touch an area that's still wet but has sixty percent pigment and forty percent water with a brush that's wet that has forty percent pigment and sixty percent water you're going to get a background and what it is this is just water pushing pigment particles out of the way also you get back runs if you paint on a board that's been stretched and you've got paint that's been that you've pushed off the paper and there's all puddles of paint along its side and if you don't stop that up along the side of your paper that paint can go back in across the edge of the paper and create backward backgrounds all on your painting so when you're painting and you've got something stretched you make sure that you keep the area around the paper that you're painting on pretty dry because you don't want a background that way so I'm not really very happy with this graded wash you know it's it could certainly be a lot better and in the presentation the one on the right in the presentation that was pretty happy with but I did some more and I wasn't happy with these at all see this is not easy grated washes air not that easy this is something you're gonna have to really practice in order to figure out what you're doing and to get to be an expert at it now and obviously I mean I haven't done enough of them to be a total expert at um it at all

Class Description

Join Molly Murrah for a fun, 5-week watercolor class for beginners. Learn about color, papers, brushes, drawing and composition, as well as many great painting techniques that will get you working and playing with watercolors!

Reviews

Susan Mueller
 

Absolutely loved this class! I've been fiddling with watercolor for the last year, but have never really taken any art classes. This was the perfect intro level class in so many ways, covering basic principles of color, composition, etc. - and always in a warm, encouraging atmosphere. I learned so much about watercolor as a medium, and I would recommend this to anyone interested in getting involved with it. Would love to take a class with Molly again!

a Creativelive Student
 

I absolutely love this medium and have owned the material for about 5 or so years now, afraid to waste them. I've bought books but realizing I am both a visual and audio learner, this is the format for me. It is so important for me to be able to replay and review the information that taking a local course is just not as convenient as this has been for me. Molly is a delight to watch and listen to, she is such a wealth of knowledge. Thank you Molly and thank you CreativeLive!!! I am in love with this site.

Linda Berg
 

Molly is captivating! Her soothing voice exudes her love of watercolour painting! She is very organized and knows how to paint with watercolours and how to teach it as well. Not all painters can teach... I was drawn into her 'teachings', loved listening to her wealth of knowledge, and signed up for her course. Oh, I recommend it totally!