12. Rendering the brush stroke more uniform

Oil painting for beginners// by Alessia Sinopoli

pennellataTo give the painting a uniform feel, it will be necessary to work the colours by passing the brush over the colour-layer several times until the texture will appear smooth and uniform across the entire area.
Placing the painting against the light one should not notice any section of the painting appearing thicker in colour than elsewhere, nor should one see a contrast between opaque and glossy areas (unless this was the desired effect).
To achieve such a uniform application of the colours, the brush stroke must always be carried out in the same direction. This does not mean that the entire painting should be carried out by applying all brushstrokes moving in the same direction (this would be very difficult to achieve and absolutely pointless). Rather, it means that the colour which has just been applied must be smoothed by passing the brush over it several times and always moving the brush in the same direction. This must be done whilst the colour is still fresh and before moving on to painting another section of the painting. For instance, if one has just painted a flower petal, one must smooth that petal before moving onto painting a second petal, and so on.

The brush to use for smoothing the colour is the Filbert brush.
The brush must be cleaned properly by dipping it into the solvent and then patting it dry with a cotton cloth, pinching the bristles with the cloth as you dry it.

The practice of smoothing the colour is a difficult one to theorise as it requires developing a certain confidence with the colour and the development of a level of knowledge of its texture and reactions to the brushstrokes. These are things that one will develop through practice. In essence, it is necessary to develop a ‘feeling’ for the colour and adapt the movement of the brush accordingly.
If one finds it difficult to smooth the colour this is not a problem in itself. Many paintings with clear brushstrokes and thick areas of colour can still exert an aesthetic effect as powerful as that of a painting with a uniform surface.
It is, after all, a matter of style!

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