Monday, January 18

Stippling - A Simple Way to Improve Your Paintings

Today’s Image
My Stippled Sky

Today's blog is to remind you of how you can use one of the most effective, efficient, and easy techniques to improve or enhance your paintings.

It’s stippling.

It’s a funny word, one of those that seems to make the sound of what you’re describing. I think those are called onomatopoeias, or whatever. Who says blogging is not educational?

Wikipedia—the authority on everything, right :-)—says it’s creating a pattern that looks like varying degrees of solidity or shading by using small dots. It also says it’s similar but distinct from pointillism, which is for optically mixing colors, and stippling is not.

Say the word “stipple” out loud. Can’t you almost hear the soft swoosh of your paintbrush dotting your canvas or paper? Sure you can.

Stippling is one of the easiest ways to add texture to any area of you artwork. You can also add depth and dimension to your work depending on the pattern you make and how light or dark your dots are.

I would like to thank whomever invented stippling because it is so useful. It’s great for:

- blurring any areas in which you don't want to show detail

- creating the illusion of distance on a horizon or actually anywhere in your painting

- making objects, such as walls, buildings, trees—almost anything—appear more real by giving the illusion of texture and shadow, especially from a distance.

But, I think stippling is most useful to artists like me when you want to COVER UP a mistake or series of mistakes in your painting. There’s just nothing else like it.

Have a smudge or color that just won’t lift or be covered up—stipple it!

Want to de-emphasize a faulty perspective—stipple it!

Don’t want to spend time on painting every last detail on objects, such as leaves, rocks, or sea-spray—stipple it!

There are all kinds of stippling brushes available from which to choose to create all kinds of effects. If you haven’t used stippling in a while, give it a try.

I recently used it to cover up a thumb print on a watercolor that just wouldn’t go away no matter what I tried--until I stippled it. Then it disappeared as if by magic. See Today's Image and just try to find my thumb print.

As the old house-paint saying goes, “a can of paint can cover a multitude of sins.”

Well, so can stippling!


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