By Marion Boddy-Evans
For painting grass, I have five different sizes/hair variations of fan brush. I add just a bit of paint to the brush (‘rocking’ the tip of the brush gently through thinned paint), then start at the bottom of the grass/reeds and push upwards with the brush held at a 90 degree angle to the canvas, and lifting off at the end of the stroke.
To avoid ‘sameness’, I use an old toothbrush I have held over a candle and bent the handle to a 45 degree angle just behind the bristles. I pick up a very light mixture of paint, similar to a glaze consistency, and follow the same procedure as with the fan, but stopping the stroke at a slightly higher distance.
Tip from: Painter421
Fan brushes take some getting used to and, if you’re not careful, you can always tell what was done with a fan brush. I think they’re good for horizontal strokes in water that pull the water over an edge. I also use the edge of one to just brush the canvas to put in very wispy clouds.
I don’t like doing a whole tree with a fan brush and usually limit it to some finish work on evergreens. But if you do want to paint a whole tree with a fan brush, start at the top of the tree, using just the edge, held vertically. As you move down, start to turn the brush more and more horizontally, lightly touching the paint to the canvas to lay in the light outline of the tree. Apply more pressure as you work down the tree so more and more of the brush touches the canvas, making the branches bigger and bigger. As you go down, push the brush harder, so the bristles bend downward. Once you’ve finished the tree, re-load the brush with a lighter color, touching the tops of the branches to highlight.
For grasses, hold the brush perpendicular to the canvas, let it touch, push so the bristles bend slightly, then flick up, and you’ll have painted wispy grasses.
Tip from: Starrpoint
When painting leaves on trees or a treeline I have had good results using various sizes ofstencil brushes. Just dabbing them in paint then dabbing them on a paper towel adjusts the amount of paint I want to put on the canvas.