I suppose that when one is in a way of thinking that is receptive to ideas and new things, a word or a phrase can spark an idea that leads to a train of thought that, ultimately, can lead to something on paper or a tea bag or an egg shell. A few days ago, my step-mum Jane mentioned in an email that there was ‘an oriental feel’ to some of the things I was doing with egg shells and bamboo sections.

The words ‘oriental’ and ‘bamboo’ met somewhere in my head and, this morning I started looking at oriental ink paintings of bamboo, cherry blossom, orchids, koi and so on. Among all this was a minute-long preview of a YouTube lesson on using an angled brush to create oriental style brush strokes.

I don’t have such a brush but, on a whim, during my last visit to a shop called Sostrene Grene (a kind of upmarket Flying Tiger) on South Great George’s Street, I had bought a set of three paint brushes with curved tips and a firmish bristle.

So I had a little go with these and my trusty gouache to see if I could recreate something approximating an oriental style of art. I also have a Japanese style paintbrush that I’d never used so I tried that out too.

I found that by loading the brush with watered down black, not too wet, and by using a smooth gentle stroke, I could achieve quite a nice effect. And then I found that by twisting the brush from flat to a point, I could do leaves. It’ll take a while to achieve any consistency but I’m pretty pleased to be honest. (Click on image to enlarge)

Using this technique I then had another go at a sunflower. The result is a bit messy but the relative proportions are better and I’m quite pleased with the shape of (some of) the petals.

Thanks Jane. x

Brushes with Fate