Thanks again everyone for the encouragement. This is definitely a lot less nerve wracking than the lectures I do at OCAD in Toronto Canada when as many as 60 students are watching a portrait take shape. The challenge writing this post seems to be finding the right words to say simply what is most important... I digress already!
Here is the next post.
I am showing in the next two photos my brushes and other painting tools.
I've tried so many different brushes over the years from the cheapest fall apart 50 cent types to the finest (and very expensive )Winsor & Newton Series 7 sable brushes. I have one conclusion...
Use Good brushes!
The question is always.. What is a good brush?
A good brush for me is one that behaves in a predictable way. Sometimes I find a brush that wears down a little to the point I can make nice textured passages. I have other brushes that keep a sharp chisled edge... and others that come to a perfect point.
I have fought too many times to get the drawing right... the values right ...the colours right and that last piece of desert in my mouth to try and fiddle with my brush coming to a good point! A good brush loads well with paint. A good brush is as important as good paint and CLEAN TURPS.
When the tools are right for the job ... the job is so much easier (or perhaps I should say you have a fighting chance).
Imagine a musician sitting down to a piano that is out of tune... they are defeated before they begin.
I know as a young ... hungry art student I couldn't afford the very best .. but I got the best I could afford.
Sadly ... I didn't know much about brushes or colour or canvas then and I bought some very strange things indeed. I still keep a few paints from years ago because the names are so weird!
I will discuss colour in more detail later.
The white brushes shown are synthetic from Boesner in Vienna. ( http://boesner.com/index.htm
) They are firmer than sable .. hold their shape better than bristle but hold less paint than either sable or bristle. When I am painting small I find I need brushes that give me more control over my drawing with smaller shapes to deal with. When I paint larger (up to 6 x 6 feet) I can get out the big bristle brushes and lay the paint on nice and thick.
The two yellow brushes are old bristle brushes and the names are worn off. They are cheaper quality brushes and I use them for quickly mopping paint into an area.
My favorite bristle brushes are Langnickel. Also I have a set of Raphael bristle brushes that have served me well for years.
I use flats... filberts and brights. (I dont usually use filberts in the cafe... I find the flats give me better control over architectural features.)
The other two important painting tools are a good palette knife and a strong cotton rag!
The rag serves well for wiping away passages I don't like (mistakes) and for applying textures and blending now and then.
The knife is a new paint tool to me in some ways... I took Richard Schmid's advice and am using it more and more for razor sharp edges and laying in large masses quickly.
I also remember reading somewhere Sargent saying you should use a brush that feels just a little too big for the job at hand and I must agree. I think this forces simplification of shapes and values without a whole lot of blending.
The second photo shows how I hold my brushes and a rag for cleaning as I go. That leaves my other hand free to paint and sip coffee.