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Painting Basics - Brush Strokes and Calligraphy
By Prudy Vannier

Brushes are our most important tools. There is a brush for every function and effect. To get the most out of your brush, you need to know what each basic brush will do for you. This is illustrated with a brush stroke lesson.

These are usually accomplished with a round brush. Load the brush with creamy, smooth paint that has been diluted with water so that it flows easily. Start on the point of the brush, and then push down as you go in an “S” shape. Lift the brush to finish on the point.
S-strokes in a row make a beautiful border. By themselves, they are terrific flower petals or leaves.
An S-stroke made with a flat or filbert brush has a little different effect. With these kinds of brushes, start on the chisel edge of the brush for the flat part of the S-stroke, and then use the flat sides of the brush for the thick part of the “S”.

Comma Strokes
Comma strokes are a basic stroke in many, many painting designs. They too are done with a round brush and thinned paint. Push the tip of the brush down so that the end of the comma is made, then drag the brush toward you, lifting the brush to a point so that the comma tail is made.
Comma strokes can also be made with a filbert brush which has a rounded end. Load the brush with the same diluted paint, lay it down, and, as you lift, turn the brush to the chisel side in order to get the comma tail.

Line work
Graceful, beautiful lines are easy to accomplish with a good liner bush. Load the brush with diluted paint, and then lightly drag it across the surface. If you drag the very tip of the brush, the line is thin. If you apply more pressure, the brush hairs splay and the line gets thicker.

Brush strokes make lettering, too. Use a flat brush for calligraphy, or there are special calligraphy brushes available. They are flat but with slightly longer hairs to hold more paint.
The fonts in your computer and calligraphy books as resources for choosing a calligraphy style for a project. Books are often available in the sale bins of book stores.
Calligraphy enhances projects or stands by itself as a design. The styles can create a mood for your project – a useful tool for a successful painting.

Cleaning a brush
Clean a brush by putting a little brush cleaner in the palm of your hand or on a hard surface. Rub the brush hairs back and forth until the brush cleaner is all the way up to the ferrule (the metal part of the brush). Rinse and repeat until all the paint is gone. Smooth the brush hairs into their original shape to store.

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