About a year ago I took one of the most fun classes ever, “Anything but the Brush”, taught by the amazing artist Jeanne Krabbendam. It was very innovative and offered a very stimulating problem solving approach when it comes to painting.
What I have learned became quite a big part of my own art practice and I decided to share some tips with you.
As the class title suggests, we had to create paintings using anything we want/can other than a brush. To get the full experience of this practice, I suggest trying to create narrative painting, aka not abstract. Abstract is very fun and yet quite easy, but it is the innovative thinking that comes from trying to figure out how to paint something representational that can be quite mind blowing.
Here are few examples of possible tools:
Brush – just to show how well known and somewhat boring it can be.
Hair comb – it creates ridges in paint. I get the simple ones and cut them into desirable sizes, very fun to create textures with.
Spray bottle – I personally love my paint to be very fluid, it's good to make light washes with or just create the flowing effect.
Sponge – I strongly suggest getting different types, after dipping them in paint, they will create different patterns as you press them onto your surface. Try working with it as it is almost dry, or very wet.
Foam Brush – Can be bought in many art stores, basically it is a sponge on a stick.
Spatula – A rubber goodness, can apply very thin layers of paint.
Straw – Blow with in onto the paint and see what you get, I like having different color paints side by side and use the straw to mix them, or quite fluid paint to create a splash like effect.
Chopstick – Or any kind of stick. I used it sometimes to make dots.
Fork – A lot like hair comb, but can also give some fun effect like the 4 dots.
Plastic Knife – Also a lot like hair comb but with smaller teeth, I like it on thick layers of paint.
Palette Knife – In my mind this is one of the ultimate painting tools, many artists paint using only them and I absolutely love the rough look that they creates. In my practice I use them mostly to create thin lines by holding them on the side.
There are many more things out there that I chose not to include, just so you can have the fun in discovering them! But most important, don't forget the best childhood tool of them all...... fingers!!