Hand made brushes!

This was a super fun week of making our own brushes. The goal was to create brushes that will reflect hand movements and gestures. I used both high flow paint and india ink.

My five brushes consisted of strands of cotton string, soft fabric netting, wheat threads with the seed side up, evergreen, looped raffia, and netting on a string from a produce bag. I also made a q-tip brush and a chenille pipe cleaner brush ithe the tips bent which aren’t pictured.

Brush made fromQ-tips bundled together.  No doubt I liked having some control over this – A different quality with more solid lines. The short marks at the bottom are interesting where it created  a little dip at the beginning of the mark. I felt I could be more angular in the marks than with some of the more delicate brushes.

These marks were made from a brush made out wheat seeds.. The brush was very fragile and fell apart shortly after I tried to use it in a work in progress. I do love the variety of thin and thick in one brush.

These were made with vhenille pipe cleaner with bent tips – one of my favorites that lent some control but really varied the lines in parallel.

These marks were produced from a brush made out of looped raffia. I really like the wispy lines at the left. The bottom was more solid in areas because I spread the puddles that occurred.

These marks were made from a brush made from evergreen branches. Very little paint stayed on the brush making for more of a texture vs. a maker. Once there was enough paint on the brush it could render more of a line.

Marks made with cotton string brush. This brush seems to have good potential for a lot of variation in the grouping of the lines, thick or thin. I was able to get a bit more gesture with this one

I loved making the brushes, it was a relaxing and fun to imagine what might happen with each one. I know I will continue with this experimentation. I found the raffia, evergreen and wheat seeds to have very delicate but dense textural lines. The soft netting had the most solid line and most mass- I really like the round swoosh shapes. I loved the pipe cleaner for it’s wonky unpredictability and the q-tips created multiple lines with a wonderful looseness. The cotton string created some interesting marks with a kind of fling motion and I liked the fact it could make a longer mark without reloading. It’s interesting to not that the shape of these brushes actually influenced the gesture of my hand. Kind of like prompting a response.

I’ve posted some works in progress where I tried to incorporate the marks made with these new tools.

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Dyptich with overall dimension 32″ x 25″ On this I used evergreen for the horizontal black marks and raffia for the round shape. I also used q-tips at the bottom center with some dabs from the same brush. I didn’t care for the effect so I painted over it. I think these marks work well in combination of my love of texture.

18″ x 24″This was made with the produce netting but attached to a popsicle stick not a string. This was a less busy painting and a good place to try out making a large shape.

24″ x 32″ Another work in progress. The black was made with evergreen and the white was with a q-tip. I love the organic loose feel these lines can lend to a larger painting. I think there needs to be less of the line but I think the naturally occuring drips go well with the way the lines move.

Diptych 25″ x 32″ This diptych is a bit of a mess in progress so a good place to play around. I used both the netting and q-tips. There are issues with the piece but it was fun to see the marks. They bring alot of energy.

Another 25″x32″ dyptich work in progress. I used raffia for the black marks and pipe cleaner for the white squiggles in the background. I like having a tool that will allow me to make larger marks. I sense the more I play with these tools the more I will be able to be “expressive” through them. The larger marks seem very freeing. I like the mark at the top. Not sure it’s in good combination with the oval at the bottom but some of this has to do with composition and value. I wish I had an entire library of high flow and liquid paint and the brushes for each color as these handmade brushes are not so easy to clean.

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Janet Jaffke  -  Jaffke Studio

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