Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Brush or knife?

I usually paint on a larger scale with most supports 36" wide or tall and ranging from a mere 4" or 48".  Painting solely with a knife takes its toll on my hand, making it still after painting for a couple of straight.

To ease the stiffness,  I take a break and draw or, funnily enough, do dishes!, as the warm water helps bring back mobility quickly.   This time I thought I'd try painting with a brush.  I started out using brushes years ago and then moved on the painting knives, enjoying the texture and speed of painting more.  However, brushes don't have the same demand on the hand, so I thought I'd try it on a small piece.

Little Red Riding Boat II (brush)

This is a 4" x 4" painting using a brush and oils.  I can't tell you much about the brush except to say that it is a flat and a hogshair.  I don't have many brushes, having used knives exclusively for a long time, so grabbed what I had available.

It felt awkward to use a brush again but I persevered.  Thicker paint application provided a similar impressionist technique that I use with a knife and I think I used the brush almost like a knife with no blending.  I laid down colour, one stroke at a time.

Little Red Riding Boat II (knife)

I had another little canvas so I thought I'd create the same subject using a painting knife.  Painting on a very small scale with a knife is challenging, no matter how small the knife is and I felt like I was using a shovel at times on this one!  Here I was more comfortable with technique, despite the problems of working on something this tiny. 

Brush (left) vs Knife (right)

The results are two similar but different paintings.  The impressionist technique is present in both but, to me, the brush marks look more evident in the first.  That can be a good or bad thing depending on the viewer thoughts.

Will I go back to brushes?  I doubt it unless I have major hand issues that prevent me from doing so.  If that were ever the case, I may have to relearn how to use a brush again.

What are your thoughts?  Which version do you prefer?  I'd love to know which and why.


Rose Welty said...

It's interesting to see how your comfort level with the knives comes through. It is clear in the knife painting that you were having fun and added so the sparkle. The brush painting feels a but more forced. Both are lovely, but I like the knife version better.

Jo Castillo said...

I’m with Rose. The knife painting is more lively. I do like the water done with the brush. Knife version is my choice. Maybe use a combination?

Jeanette Jobson said...

Rose, I really am outside my comfort zone with a brush these days as its been so long since I used one to produce anything. I don't think I'll be moving back to a brush any time soon. :)

Jeanette Jobson said...

Hi Jo

Yes, I agree, the knife adds more movement to the paint surface. There are some similarities with the brush but the two techniques do show their differences well.

I did use a brush a little in a previous painting that included a lot of cloud - and also used my fingers! But in reality I can do as much with a knife as I can with a brush, so I likely am sticking with my knives, at least for the foreseeable future.

Jennifer Rose said...

I'm going against the grain and say I like the brush one better lol love the light it has, but it is hard to choose since they are both really nice :)

its good to know that if you had to stop using the knives you do have another option

Jeanette Jobson said...

They both have merit and maybe I'm more biased towards the knife as its my comfort zone. My discomfort is not in the final piece but the struggle to make it happen due to unfamiiarity. I'm sure if I had to go back to brushes, technique would become more comfortable with a bit of practice, but the first few may not be too pretty. :)

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Anonymous said...

I would prefer the knife to the brush as (to me) it has depth, probably if they were not side by side I wouldn’t be as “ judgmental”.