Tuesday, August 5, 2014

August Newsletter: Brusho product review & free video

While I was at an art show in England, I ran across a painting done in watercolor (or at least I thought it was watercolor) with a technique I have never seen before. It was lovely. Fortunately, the artist, Nadine Gould, was there and she was kind enough to tell me that her painting was created with Brusho®. It’s a water media product manufactured in Sheffield,England by the company Colourcraft C &A LTD. 

When I got home, I found the product on dickblick.com—12 colors for $22. Recently  I have learned I can buy the product directly, along with an ebook (which I bought) and a DVD from Colourcraft's website. Just google Brusho and you’ll find the company.

So what’s so amazing about this product? For one thing, it’s totally made up of powder. It reminds me of the type of stuff artists used before painting tubes were invented, but these are made out of highly pigmented ink powder.  And when they say highly pigmented they are right. Just a few sprinkles of the stuff and you have brilliant color.

While technically Brusho® is a water-based medium, it behaves very much like watercolor from basic washes to lovely glazes.  What makes it unique though is the powder—you sprinkle it on your paper, spritz it with your spray bottle and bam! you have a blaze of color.

The starter kit comes in a box with 12 small containers inside. At first, I was a bit perplexed about what to do. Unfortunately, the box I received had no instructions in it. So I goggled (don't you just love it) the name with video and found this link:  http://youtu.be/nSiiZLH0678  It's a great little film created by Joanne Boon Thomas, an accomplished artist, where she demonstrates how to use the powder. 
Here’s what I learned:
  1. The small containers should not be opened, although I did so with one immediately. Instead, pop a pen or sharp pointy object into the top, which will make the container a shaker.
  2. You can shake the color out on your palette, add water and create a mixture of brilliant color similar to other painting media.
  3. You can sprinkle the powder directly onto the paper (dry or wet) to create interesting effects.
  4. You can use Brusho® as an ink wash, remember though that the medium is water-soluble.
  5. You can also use it on fabrics, paper mache, collages, plus more!

Of course with every medium you do need to take some safeguards. For instance, the colors stain, so wear an apron or old clothing when working with the stuff. Keep the powder away from moisture and wind. I wouldn't recommend it for plein air painting. The powder is delicate and can blow away or cake up from moisture. Also I’d work on a flat, protected surface. I started working with the powder on my slanted drawing board and that created somewhat of a mess.

So how does it work?
It simply is amazing. Here's one of the many paintings I created with Brusho®.

Above, I sprinkled the powder onto the paper and then used it as paint. I also used wax as a resist for the highlights. Every painting will be different from the other. That's what is fun about this product.

Open the box
When you first open the box you will find 12 little containers. Here I have them in the box again. 

You probably can understand my bewilderment when opening the box and seeing these white little plastic jars. I've been used to paint tubes and cakes. Yes, I did buy this sight unseen. Look at the picture again and you'll notice the little holes in each top. That's how you get the powder out. They don't recommend opening it up. Of course, that's the first thing I did--no instructions and to my amazement, there was a pile of powder. That's when I knew I had to go online to see what I bought.

This is emerald green. I know it looks nothing like it,
but once you add water, you see all sorts of colors (including yellow)
that mixes together to form a lovely green. 
Once I got over the initial confusion and learned about what was in my hands, I couldn't wait to try it myself. To help me know what pigment I have though, I created my own color swatches (I know, I can get a bit over-organized at times) and taped swatches to each container. In this way, I can keep track of what's in each container. 

My color chart of what's inside the Brusho® box. 

Here are the containers with my color swatches taped to the back.
Notice the holes pierced on the caps. I created those using a stick pen.
Shake and Paint
While you can dip your wet brush into an opened container, it's not recommended. I did dip my brush just for grins and I found the mixture to be more lumpier than when you shake it. Besides, I can see that adding moisture could be a problem down the road. I can use so much less by shaking the pigment out and getting the same results. The company claims that one box will last you years.

I've elected to use my large ceramic palette so that I can shake the pigment out by gently hitting the container against the side to get the granules out. It only takes a few--believe me.

Here I gently hit the side of my palette to get the pigment out. I feel like
I have more control by doing this as opposed to just shaking it free-hand.

This is what comes out. I could add more, but I don't need to.
As I've said before, you only need a little--it goes a long way. I just add water and miraculously, there lots of paint.

Of course, I can add more pigment and more water to
get loads of paint for large projects. I can see why schools use this stuff.
Below, this is what it looks like when the paint dries. All you have to do is add more water and your paint is back!

Here's ultra marine in its dry state.
I've added water and the paint is back!
What's it like on paper?
Of course, I use 100% cotton watercolor paper and the Brusho® product takes to it perfectly. And what I like best of all is that the colors stay brilliant. One of the issues I have with watercolor is that I put a wonderful color down and once it dries, it's too light-- sometimes not even close to the original color on the palette. 

The product also works well with ink. It's simple. Here's how I developed these cherries:

I drew the cherries.

Because the powder is sprinkled onto the picture,
I use a wax resist to preserve the whites.

I sprinkled some scarlet color crystals on the paper.

I spritzed with my spray bottle.  
Then, put my brush to paper to paint the inside of the cherries.

I shake some red and purple into my porcelain palette.
 I then mix to get a deep cherry color. I
 then apply to the cherries while still wet.

Let dry.
After the painting is dry. I add purple for shadow effect. 
I'm going to leave the rest alone. 

Let dry.

Now it's time to add some pen. I'm using a 
#08, Micron pen here.

But that's not all! By using a piece of paper as a
mask, you can add more pigment around the 
cherries to liven up the piece.

I continue to add pigment and spritz all around the picture, 
occasionally putting my brush to paper to spread things around a bit.
And here's the result...

If you are taking one of my beginning watercolor workshops this summer or fall, you'll be able to enjoy a live demonstration of this fantastic medium. Below see my latest video. It's different than the one shown above. Enjoy!

For classes and workshops go to website: www.jillgoodell.com

1 comment:

  1. Jill, I found your youtube while I was looking for instructions on how to use Brushos (got my from Blick as well, had to wait a while for them to be in stock). I found some other videos, but had trouble with the Brit accent in most of them (also lots of ems, ers, uhs, etc). Your enunciation was very clear, you kept your work in camera range, and it was exactly the video I needed to see. I've hesitated opening my bottles...as a fellow blogger had said "punch holes". (well, is this several holes, what does one use to pierce, etc). So thanks for such a very informative youtube, providing your blog link, so I could read more info, and for the link you've provided in your post. Now I won't be so afraid to try this (not-cheap) products which I've seen used in some awesome backgrounds. (I'm a card maker, BTWay, not an artist). http://carolinacardsbymaryh.blogspot.com/