by Crystal Short, OSCI, DDWFS
Almost every One Stroke painter experiences frustration with brush loading at one time or another. I was One Stroke painting for over a year before I became proficient at brush loading. At that point, both the appearance and speed of my painting improved dramatically. It is possible to achieve beautiful results before you master brush loading, but if you are having problems loading, like having too little or too much paint on your brush, then this article is for you.
When you are practicing your brush loading, it is important to focus on the technique itself and not worry about painting the perfect cabbage rose, ivy leaf, or rose bud. If your flower or leaf isn't perfect when you practice these steps; don't worry about it.
One Stroke Brush Loading - Preliminary Steps
I suggest using a 3/4 inch flat brush when practicing these steps. In my experience, it is easier to control the amount of paint in this size brush.
Begin by dipping the bristles of the 3/4 inch flat brush into water, then place the bristles on a paper towel to let the water drain out. This will prepare the brush for loading.
Next, for double loading, dip one corner of the bristles in one color and then the other corner in another color. The two colors should meet a little in the middle of the brush.
One Stroke Brush Loading - Step 1
Keep the handle of the brush straight up and down. Touch the chisel edge (the tip of the bristles) to your foam plate. Press the bristles all the way down to the ferrule (the metal part of the brush) and slide the brush in one direction about one inch. Then slide back in the opposite direction ending where you first started. Repeat that motion about three or four times.
One Stroke Brush Loading - Step 2
Go back to your paint puddles and dip the corners again, just like you did in the preliminary step. Repeat Step One, but when you slide the brush back and forth don't press down as hard as you did the first time. This time, you should use about two-thirds of the pressure you used in Step One.
One Stroke Brush Loading - Step 3
Same Step Two. However, instead of using two-thirds pressure, use a little bit less pressure when sliding the brush back and forth.
One Stroke Brush Loading - Step 4
Same as Step Two. This time you will use two-thirds pressure again to distribute the paint on the bristles.
At this point, your brush is fully loaded. These four steps may seem repetitive, but what they are doing is drawing the paint into the brush. When you have fully loaded your brush, you should have paint two-thirds up the bristles and there should be a paint line straight across the bristles.
Did I Load My Brush Correctly?
You can see if you are loading your brush properly by performing the following test on a sheet of paper. Start on the chisel edge, press the bristles down about two-thirds, then slide about one inch. If you do not see any skips in the stroke, then you are loading your brush properly.
One Stroke Brush Loading - Painting and Reloading
When you use the above technique, it is easy to keep your brush full of paint. This is because you will be constantly loading paint into your brush. After you make one stroke, you will need to either slide the brush back and forth where you loaded the brush the first time, OR you will need to repeat Step Four of the brush loading.
One Stroke Brush Loading - Too Much Paint
It is very easy to have too much paint in your brush. It still happens to me from time to time. When I have too much paint, I squeeze the paint out using a paper towel. I then reload my brush and start painting again.
One Stroke Brush Loading - Painting on Paper and Porous Surfaces
If you have problems getting the paint to flow smoothly on paper or porous surfaces, then you will also want to use floating medium. If you have never used this before, it is a clear gel. When your brush is fully loaded, dip the chisel edge into the clear gel, then go to the area where you loaded your brush and slide back and forth a few times to mix the gel with the paint.
A word of caution, however. If you use too much floating medium, then your painting will appear semi-transparent. This is the technique used to create shadow leaves, but may not be the effect you are looking for on your project.
One Stroke Brush Loading - Conclusion
I want to emphasize that this is not the only method you can use to load your brush. Other OSCIs may load and teach brush loading differently. However, I have found that many of my students have success using these steps.
If you practice the steps above and still need additional help, you can purchase the One Stroke Techniques Guide #9706
which provides detailed loading instructions for many different types of brushes. You may also contact an OSCI near you for more help.
Mastering brush loading takes time, but once you learn how to load the brush, practice and projects are even more enjoyable. Instead of fighting with the paint and brush, you are free to paint or learn to paint whatever you want. Good luck and keep painting!
This article © 2004 Crystal Short, All Rights Reserved.
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