I came across these two videos by Vinita Pappas on Youtube late on Friday evening. I rather like the idea of the exercise of using only six brushstrokes to paint a subject. I’ve been itching to try it, but not able to get to my brushes so far this weekend.
One of the things I’ve learned from painting is to slow down a little and not be quite so goal oriented. When I started painting I had a bad habit: every time I picked up my brushes I expected to create a final painting that would be good enough to put in a frame – and I wanted to do it in a maximum of one or two sittings.
Now I enjoy each stage more and have many paintings that pause for weeks before I go back to them and start working on them again. I find the waiting time gives me a fresh perspective which can sometimes be very useful.
The six brushstrokes exercise really slows down the thinking process, and although the whole thing is done in one sitting, it’s a far more reflective process overall. Every brushstroke has to make a contribution to the end result so each one has to count.
Given how much I like painting loosely, I was looking forward to seeing what she did with the paper she wet and was briefly disappointed when the first video ended before she started on it. But, there it was – Part 2 of her Confident Brushstrokes exercise:
I can certainly see that this would help develop confident brushstrokes, but that’s not all the value an exercise like this delivers. There’s the added benefit of learning to distill the image down to the essence of the subject, and of getting better at creating purposeful marks on the paper.
I’ve already started looking for my first subject. Later this evening I think the brushes will have to be exercised!