This experiment is designed to help you make fresh, lively paintings using a few well-chosen and carefully placed strokes. Where in the previous chapter, Limit Time and Palette, you moved fast, here you may actually slow down a little and take time to find the most effective and efficient strokes you can use. You’ll find simpler colors, use somewhat larger, gestural strokes, and overlap them to create an impression of detail, while limiting the number of strokes you use. The idea is to see how few strokes you can use to make a painting that effectively expresses a place.
|only one stroke each|
I recommend preparing a smaller sheet of paper and doing a very simple line drawing to locate the major shapes. Think carefully about what needs to go down first. Paint what lies behind before painting what’s in front of it. Paint through objects, varying pressure where the sky passes behind trees or other items bisect space. Utilize some of the lovely habits of pastel, sometimes making a thick, impasto stroke to obscure what’s below, or a soft dry-brush stroke that allows color to glow from beneath. Think about how you can create color modifications using careful layers and different kinds of strokes.
Don’t try to make every nuance of color, highlight or shade. Distill the colors to essentials, modifying them where most useful to express the scene you’re painting. Choose the most vital shadows or highlights. Decide where smaller strokes will be necessary and most informative, and use them judiciously to draw the eye to the area of interest.
|Painting in progress with hash marks to one side.|
Take the time to find strokes that work together to create the impression you seek. Go slowly, thinking through how you will structure the piece. In searching for the essential stroke you may find that you honestly don’t need to use more strokes. You only need to use better ones.
|20 stroke Sandia|