Brilliant Brush Marks

Many artists have experimented with approaches to capture light in their work, often by using individual brush strokes of different colours. They would often work outside to try and capture the light and make their work more realistic. One of these techniques was known as Pointillism. The surface of the painting is broken up with dots of pure colour, when viewed at a distance the dots appear to fuse together creating a mesmerizing haze of brilliant colours.

  • Water colour paper
  • Photocopy paper
  • Paints – water colour and acrylic
  • Water colour pencils
  • A variety of brushes – old tooth brushes, cotton buds, wood, nails, straw
  • Other printing materials
  • Wax crayons
  • Coloured inks

1. Begin with an A4 piece of water colour paper. Experiment making as many different marks as you can using the different brushes and objects you have available.

2. Now decide on a simple object in your home such as an apple, red cabbage, or a tomato. Fruits and vegetables work well. Using only your brush, build up areas of colour to create an image of the object.

3. As Autumn approaches there are lots of beautiful berries and the leaves are a wide range of colours. Use a range of brush marks and strokes to build up areas of colour to depict leaves and berries.
4. Now you can use this method for landscapes. Draw a small rectangle and use very simple shapes to represent mountains, water, trees, etc. Now use the varied brush stroke method to build the landscape using lots of different colours.
This is a landscape which is broken up in shapes and colours. I used paint and water colour pencils. This exercise produces a lovely mosaic type effect.
6. Wax crayons and ink method – cut a piece of A4 water colour paper into 4 or 6 smaller pieces. Colour the whole piece with wax crayons – use bright colours and press really hard. You could try a sunset palette or a rainbow across the page, making sure you cover the whole paper. Now take the paper to a sink and wet on both sides thoroughly. Fold the paper into a tight ball, unfold and repeat into another ball really tight. Unfold and flatten out. Using a dark coloured ink paint over the whole sheet of colours. The ink will sink into it and give a lovely mottled effect. When dry look closely at your sheet to see what you can see – you can use more ink to highlight any features you can find. For example, if it looks like trees you could draw details of the trunk.

Enjoy experimenting.