Expressive Brushstrokes

When one thinks of brushstrokes and their characteristics, it may bring to mind the lyrical strokes of Vincent van Gogh, the staccato style work of Claude Monet, the rich textural work of Nicolai Fechin or even the powerful blocky work of California painter Edgar Payne. The contemporary work of Wayne Thiebaud employed creamy, sensuous strokes in his pies, pastries and ice cream. In these cases, their brushwork brought out their individuality or uniqueness.

The type of brushstroke brings out the characteristics of the subject when properly used. For example, firm edges depict crisp forms such as architecture. Soft edges may deal with the sensitive turning of a form as in a figure or fabric. Ragged or textural edges may show brush or trees. Flat strokes may show flat planes and wet-into-wet strokes may show softer color and value changes such as clouds.

–Craig Nelson, author of 60 Minutes to Better Painting

Mark Gottsegen is an associate professor of art at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and chair of ASTM International?s subcommittee on artists? materials.

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