Saturday, May 7, 2011

Power of the brushstroke

( Also posted on Muddy Colors blog )

The painting brush is a simple,  yet powerful device. The trace that it leaves upon the canvas is a wonderful phenomenon - a marvelous present to us, and a precious legacy to the people of the future.

Just as the spoken word that carries a certain energy,  both physical and emotional , so does the brushstroke carry the energy and the meaning, too. By placing the brushstrokes next to each other,  the artist creates a “sentence”. And as any sentence,  whose purpose is to communicate a thought or an emotion, the brushstroke sentences communicate a certain feeling. Therefore they are a perfect vehicle for the artist’s emotions.

The brushstroke is a statement of the artist’s inborn sensibility. It is the reflection of his longings, a trace of his efforts, the emanation of his uniqueness. These are the hidden powers of the brushstroke. Whoever understands that,  and finds the proper way to express it, will not fail to amaze and inspire with his work.

There is a mystery hidden in a spontaneous, and at the same time well guided  brushstroke. The frozen emotion  that is embedded in such a stroke, melts in the eye of the spectator, and releases its flavors and fragrances. Avoiding the control of ever alert reason, it penetrates the uncharted areas of our inner space. And as it reaches the level in us that, perhaps, makes us more human than any other aspect,  it touches the cords of emotion, intuition and that mysterious and eternal longing of our soul.

The signature of the artist will stay preserved in the brushstroke almost forever, as the echo of the gone by ages is preserved in a fossil, trapped in the stone.

Such is the power of the brushstroke.


John Singer Sargent

John Singer Sargent

Joaquin Sorolla

Joaquin Sorolla

Sir Alfred Munnings

Sir Alfred Munnings

Akseli Gallen-Kallela

Akseli Gallen-Kallela

Paja Jovanović

Ilya Repin

Ilya Repin, detail from the painting Portret of V.V. Stasov

Wojciech Kossak

Lucian Freud

James Wyeth

Phil Hale

And now a few humble samples of my own brushwork.

Mother and Child -
70x100 cm (27 1/2”x39 1/4”), oil on canvas, 2001

Saint Georg - 100 x 70 cm / 39 1/4 x 27 1/2 inch,
oil on masonite, 2000

The Balance -
90x120cm / 35 1/2 X 47 1/4 inch, oil on canvas, 2003

Detail from Giants - The Bull Fight, 2010

Detail from The Legend of Steel Bashaw 11, 2005 - 2007

Detail from The Queen of the Kanguellas, 80 X 50 cm / 31 1/2 X 19 3/4 inch,
oil on masonite, 2010

Detail from The Queen of the Kanguellas

Detail from Svjatogor, 2010 

Detail from a painting in progress


  1. Good post !!!!
    I love they :Target,Sorolla,Freud...too IGNACIO ZULOAGA,Do you know?...He´s my favorite painting...greatings !!!

  2. Lovely vibrant artwork, am enjoying your blog. Thanks for posting.

  3. Agus - I know the work of Ignacio Zuloaga. He is a great painter, but I think I prefer Sorolla. Thank you for your comment!

    Thanks, Atom!

  4. This is an area which I have been keenly interested in recent weeks, for me the handling of paint and the way it is applied to the surface of the canvas has a lot to do with the design element of texture. Great blog thanks very much

  5. Canadian artist (David, I guess) - If you want to learn more about my way of applying the paint, please stay tuned to this blog. I am preparing a few posts about that topic. This time I will go a bit deeper into the matter than usual. These posts are meant to be a kind of "master class" for the advanced artists interested in very specific details and "secrets" of my oil painting technique.