View Full Version : Joseph Alleman Technique

08-21-2013, 03:31 PM
Hi all,

I'm hoping someone can shed some light on this for me. I'm a big fan of Joseph Alleman (josephalleman.com) and, amongst other things, really like the effect he gets in his grass areas. See here (http://www.montgomeryleefineart.com/artwork.php?aw_id=623&artists_id=1&page=17) and here (http://www.montgomeryleefineart.com/artwork.php?aw_id=911&artists_id=1&page=8) and here (http://faso.com/fineartviews/59023/faso-featured-artists-artist-joseph-alleman) for examples.

I've tried to recreate this with no success. I've tried scraping, lifting, pushing the paint around and all sorts but have never come close. Does anyone have any better ideas? Of course it could well be that I am doing the right things but my general hamfistedness and lack of technique is getting the better of me.

08-21-2013, 04:06 PM
Hi Michele;
I'm almost positive that the technique used is lifting off. The question is....with what? It could be simply paper towel or some soft material. I doubt if its a brush since its so soft.
I would think he would go back in in certain places to reinforce the illusion of grass stems.
Why not email him? Most artists don't mind parting with some tips...

Marcio C
08-21-2013, 04:09 PM
I've read an article by him from a couple of years ago where he states he applies very think paint and then wipes it off with a sponge to create his texture. I don't know whether this applies specifically to grass, but might be a clue.

08-21-2013, 04:17 PM
Thanks guys. I think you're right it has to be lifting off. And if it is very thick paint as Marcio says then it would give those darker edges.

I didn't think to email him - good idea!

Off to try some more experiments - if I'm successful I'll post the results.

Brian Barnes
08-21-2013, 05:17 PM
Alleman does get a fantastic result. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

I think the suggestions so far must be right. I'm thinking maybe a dampened (but not wet) 1" or 2" flat sponge brush (very inexpensive) could give that effect if working wet-in-wet, washing and wiping the brush between swipes. Of course the first step would be to apply a very rich coat of dark paint. Then when lifting to get the light areas, angling the brush toward or away from the direction of quick strokes would give the varying thicknesses for the grassy chunks. Lots of paint gets wasted ... but hey ... at $4100 per painting that's nothing! ;)

I haven't tried it yet but the concept is appealing. I'd love to get Alleman's results too.

I'm looking forward to seeing your results. :)


08-21-2013, 11:38 PM
Just guessing... damp flat bristle brush? Do let us know if you try it.

08-21-2013, 11:58 PM
Hmm - all good food for thought. I pass by Blick's tomorrow and I'll see if they have a sponge brush. If not I'll give it a go with some flat brushes.

Wish me luck!

08-27-2013, 06:58 AM
Ok - so I bough some (extremely expensive) sponge brushes. I think they were 49 cents each. I tried various things and gained a bit of insight.

1. Putting on a layer of thick paint and then trying to sponge it off didnt' work very well (see very top, raw umber test).

2. A thickish but wet layer of paint is good to start with.

3. Lift off with a damp sponge but *slowly* so enough of the paint lifts off to show the effect (see the rest of the raw umber patches).

4. The grass effect is getting better but still eluding me

5. The dark/light (raw umber and dark brown) mixture came out the best. This was varying the pressure and direction of the sponge. The lightest 'grassy' bits were going back into the raw umber after the darks had been put in.

All in all - I'm reasonably satisfied this is worth pursuing. Thanks for everyone's help.


08-27-2013, 07:03 AM
Actually for comparison I should dig out my earlier efforts - you'd then see how much of an improvement this is :-)