Brush Offs

A student asked me about how to vary her brushstrokes because hers all had a monotonous sameness that detracted from her painting. Her question got me experimenting. I developed this exercise to show that any brush?in this case a 1/2-inch flat watercolor brush?can be used many different ways.


I added a couple more trees in the background to complete the scene. The technique was the same, I simply watered down the paint so the added trees would look farther away. I love this technique for creating simple, hand-painting cards for thank you notes.

No Brushstrokes Painting
1. Select a flat brush with any color or kind of paint.
2. Create the fronds of the palm by tapping the flat, bristle-end of the brush on the paper.
3. Start tapering the direction of your brush “tap” to the point as you approach the pointed end of the palm leaf.
4. For the trunk, again tap the flat, bristle-end of the brush on the paper. Some taps overlap, some don?t. This gives an uneven, natural look to the trunk.
5. For the beach and water, again tap your brush.

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