If you have ever walked down the painting aisle in Michaels you know just how many different kinds of brushes there are to choose from. Each brush is unique: round, flat, wide, skinny. One of my favorites is the fan brush. I am sure it is easily recognizable, as it is shaped like a fan, but just to be sure, I put a picture of it taken against my pallet.
The fan brush can be used for many things, least of which is cooling yourself off. I use this brush at least once in every painting when working on...
the sky. When I first apply the blue that is the backdrop, it appears to be textured and rough, neither of which a sky should be. To smooth the sky, I lay the fan brush such that it is almost flat against the canvas, and pull the sky from left to right. This reduces the texture and spreads color evenly across the background. And before you know it, a sky is born.
Secondly, I use the fan brush when making grass in the distance. Holding the brush such that the fan is pointed into the canvas, I can apply a texture that would appear to be grass. If the observer stood up close to the painting, they would be able to tell that the grass is nothing but a bunch of points and textures, but to the eye from a distance, grass is growing in the marsh.
For finer grass that is up close, I use the liner but that is a topic for another day. The background comes first, then the foreground. I anticipate to use the fan brush again to texture the sand under the chairs, but for now I am finished with it as I move on to paint the trees in the left and right sides of the background. The fan brush can be used for many things, but it is nothing without a hand to move it.
~The Anonymous Bard 11/19/11