“The mere matter of putting on paint…..
[Brush]strokes carry a message whether you will it or not. The stroke is just like the artist at the time he makes it. All the certainties, all the uncertainties, all the biggness of his spirit and all the littlenesses are in it.”
Pigments and reality
I love the brushwork I see in the paintings of Velasquez, Sargent and Van Dyke. There is so much life in it, so much more than the paint it manipulates. I love that brushstrokes are related to the making of the work, not dryly like that sounds but each brushstroke a singular event, crafted in itself and in relation to all others. The gestural marks, the expressive qualities, the sponteneity. The energy in those marks contributes to the impression, simultaneousy both a record of both gesture and complete presence in that moment; a zen sword fight with pigments and reality.
I was astonished the first time I saw someone work like that; entirely on some higher plane. I had no idea about that act of making until someone showed me: About the gesture and expression of the movements needed to make those marks, or the intention and focus that encompasses each of them. I admit to being totally fascinated; it’s like some strange and expressive martial art.
Getting to great?
As with other martial arts the keys are clear intention, diligent practice and the guidance of a master.
Take some time to explore what marks you can make with your brushes, with speed or slowness, pressure or glancing softness, tension, intention and emotion.