Tuesday, January 29

Make It A Hake!

My Hake Brush
Some painters, such as Ron Ranson, swear by them. Other painters have never heard of them.

Of what do I speak?

The hake brush--that paint brush with the unusual-sounding name.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, Wikipedia provides this quick description: an Asian style of brush with a large broad wooden handle and an extremely fine soft hair used in counterpoint to traditional Sumi brushes for covering large areas. Often made of goat hair.

Now Wikipedia didn't mention this, but the hake is, more often than not, associated with watercolor. Maybe you saw one, and didn't know what it was called, or maybe you had heard of it, but had never seen one, so you didn't know what you were looking at.

Whatever the case, when you finally figure it out, you may be asking why would I want to use one anyway?

As the above description says, it's used for covering large areas. That's very true because they come in widths up to 8 in. (20.3 cm.), and I have never seen one smaller than 1 in. (2.5 cm.). They usually have tapering wooden handles, like mine in today's image, but there are some where the handle is several short sticks of bamboo glued together

They are good for juicy washes and, in my opinion, painting all kinds of skies and clouds. I also think they are great for painting in the loose style (very loose) with little detail work--with such a broad, soft brush, how could you paint otherwise?

Anyway, they take a little getting used to, but for quick, painterly watercolors, I think they're just what JMW Turner would have ordered.

By the way, there doesn't seem to be one definitive way to pronounce "hake" either. It can be hay-kay, or it can be hock-ey, or it can be hey-k (rhymes with bake). It doesn't seem to care what you call it, but you should try one out.

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