Paint with Realism and Expression

A Quiet Reminder
Oil  18"x 24"
artist Lisa Larrabee

It has been a constant challenge for me to paint with... paint.  I would load up my brush with paint, lay it down on the surface with bold intention and then eventually smear it around until it was smooth and blended.  This past summer, I took a workshop with an incredible artist, Henry Yan.  He told me my palette was starving.  I added more paint.  Would you believe that more paint on your pallet can translate to more paint on your painting?  It sounds too simple.

I started this painting very loose.  The paint is thin, but the application is expressive.  I realized immediately that I had to slow down and concentrate to make the shapes of the tree accurate.  I began building the branches in relationship to each other, paying careful attention to the spaces and shapes between the branches.  I pre-mixed a range of colors within the tree so that I could easily adjust the color as I moved from branch to branch.

With the tree blocked in, I began painting with thicker paint in the background.  Each brushstroke required loading more paint onto the brush.  Loading each brushstroke is really important if you don't want to blend it smooth.  I have discovered that I love using Rosemary & Co long handle chunking egbert brushes.  They are stiff long-haired brushes that allow me to lay down thick impasto paint.

I am not a master of wielding thick paint, but I have made progress using more expressive brushwork while maintaining a sense of realism.  There is so much still to learn!  It makes each painting an adventure.

~ Lisa