Thursday, September 19, 2013

Painting Tutorial: Watercolor Painting with Annie Strack

Annie Strack is still one of the busiest artists I have ever met, and yet she has taken some time out to share with us some helpful tips on watercolor painting. 

Here’s a little beach painting that I did today, using only one brush – my #20 Faux Squirrel from Dynasty. That might sound like a big brush to use on a painting that is only 8x10, but this brush holds a fine point which enables me to paint small details while it holds lots of water and pigment.

The first step of this painting was to sketch in the horizon line and the water lines, and apply masking fluid to the area that I wanted to preserve white for the surf. Then I painted the sky wet into wet, using indigo and Payne’s grey to depict a stormy sky.
While it was still wet, I used a paper towel to blot out some clouds and then used my finger to drag some of the paint between the horizon and the clouds at a slight angle, to give the impression of wind-blown rain.

After the sky is dry, I began to paint the water using the same colors as I used for the sky. To help give it the look of stormy weather, I apply the paint unevenly to give the water a choppy effect.

In some areas I added even more indigo, especially around the masking fluid so that I would have strong contrasts of values that would direct the focus of the composition through the painting.

While the water area is still damp, I paint the beach area with sepia and yellow ochre, and distant hill with hookers green, ochre, sepia, and indigo. I let the colors mix and mingle on the wet paper to create the grayed-down impression of a distant green hill, and let a little of the color run and blend into the water and sand area to soften the edges.

When the entire painting has dried I removed the masking fluid to reveal the white surf of the waves, and I use a little indigo to soften and break up a few of the spots that are too starkly white.

And finally, here is my finished painting of a beach in the rain. Any day at the beach is a good day. Even if it’s raining.

To learn more about watercolor painting, you can take a workshop with Annie or find her teaching online classes with Artists Network.  Here is just a sample of Annie's teaching, from her most recent DVD, "Painting Seascapes in Watercolor".

For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Manufacturing Paint Brushes in Asia

FM Brush Thailand, Jeff Mink in yellow

FM Brush, Inc. is the parent company of Dynasty, and the manufacturer of the artist brushes I've been discussing here on the blog over the past few years.  Early last year, I took you on a brush factory tour of the facility in Glendale, NY.  However, there is a second facility for FM Brush in northern Thailand near Chiang Mai, about an hour away from the Elephant Hospital.  Here, FM Brush creates brushes and brush parts for exporting internationally, everything from formulating the brush tufts to crafting and painting the handles.  The northern part of Thailand has seen much economic growth since the mid 1980's and it is here that FM Brush, Inc. decided to land and build, for both the personality of the people and the benefit to having a second manufacturer internationally.

The Kingdom of Thailand, previously known as Siam, is located in Southeast Asia and is the second oldest monarchy in the world, ruled by King Rama IX.  It is a constitutional monarchy, meaning the monarch acts as head of state within a constitution.  Thailand is known as the "land of smiles" and according to Jeff Mink, VP at FM Brush and chief innovator, this is exceptionally true.  He says that "the people are wonderful", it is what one walks away knowing.  

The northern region, where FM Thailand is located has long been known for the citizens' crafting ability.  The Thai people here are skilled in working with their hands, an essential element in building brushes.  FM Brush found a home here where the Thai government has supported, endorsed and promoted the business because of its exceptional standards of labor.  In return, the Thai people that come to work at FM Brush come to stay, some have been with us for more than 25 years.  

Black Silver by Dynasty
In order to have quality control over the entire manufacturing process of our brushes, Thailand was an ideal choice for a second factory.  FM Brush owns the land, the building and the business in Thailand, so they have been able to make the manufacturing a "western factory" with air conditioning and a full cafeteria for the employees.  Not only are the labor standards high, but the brush quality in Thailand is high, too, competing with the best brushes that we produce here in America.  For example, the Black Silver line is completely built in Thailand along with many of the canister brushes in our stock.  

Thanks to our work in Thailand, FM Brush, Inc. has the ability to control more of our own manufacturing, export more brushes and fuel more conventions with an international presence.

For more information and product details about FM Brush Thailand, you can visit their website at:

Keep Painting, 

For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.