This is a painting I did in the Japanese Inks class I recently took at the DAA. This is an on-line school that teaches art using Painter by Corel.
The class was a study of the philosophy of Eastern Art. In Eastern Art, the idea is that through a simple stroke, you tell a tale. One is to use minimal strokes in the painting.
I took this class because simplicity is an area that I have tried to focus on in my art.
It is so easy to overwork a piece. I know this is something I share with many other artists. It seems like I always want to add a bit here, a bit there, and the next thing I know, the piece is overworked.
What I am learning is that if a brushstroke looks good, leave it. Don’t start putting the same brush stroke all over the painting. That ruins the “specialness” of the one stroke.
In this piece, I did the tree trunks and branches with a particle brush. Particle brushes are made using math and physics. They are new to Painter. I had not liked most of them, as they are very hard to control. However, Karen Bonaker, the owner of the DAA, made us a spectacular particle brush to work with in this class. It literally danced across the page.
Then for the flowers, I used another brush Karen had made for us. Just one stroke with it, and I get all kinds of blossoms.
Karen had us put the trunks and branches on a different layer than the blossoms. Then she had us go back after adding the blossoms and erase some of the branches in the trees. I found that breaking up the branches like that worked really well in giving the painting depth.
I have mixed feelings about using brushes that other people make that then lay down that person’s strokes. I feel that every stroke in my painting should be my own. I usually stay away from brushes that make strokes that look like something. But I think I’m maybe becoming a little more open to them. Karen makes such beautiful brushes, they’re hard to resist.
To finish this piece, I added a couple of textures to give it a background. I used the multiply composite method on the layer the textures were on to make them transparent. Then, on one of the textures, I added a mask to the layer and using a brush with dark gray paint, went in and muted some of the texture.
When you add a mask to a layer, you then use black to get rid of something on the layer or white to bring it back. When you use gray, it leaves something in between.
I am hoping this class has led me to start making fewer strokes in my abstracts. I need to get busy with some new ones and find out.