How to Avoid Brush Strokes When You Paint…

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How to prevent unwanted brush marksDo unwanted or redundant brush strokes get you down? How do you prevent this?

Just about every new rookie artist has the consternation of unattractive brush strokes that show up in a painting, worse yet when the paint has dried. As I have said previously once the paint has dried there is no re-wetting it, so you need to take preventative action now.

Check your bristles first! Sometimes those pesky brush marks are the result of straggle hairs on a brush that has become old, stiff, etc., In that case, time to re-condition those brush bristles, or if they can’t be saved, toss them and get yourself some new ones. Straggle hairs will often get embedded in the paint. I’d use tweezers to lift them out in the past, if it did happen.


Yes, stiff unclean or overly dry brush bristles can be a serious offender. Acrylics have a high alkaline content and this can be very drying, unlike oil paints that have the natural oils intact that keeps the bristles from having this problem.

Use thicker paint. Too-thin paint can also make brush marks more obvious. Be sure your paint is of a good consistency. If you need a little assistance with building up paint texture organically I have some ideas for you in this post.

Make use of other tools. Use knives and other instruments that will create unique and highly dimensional effects.  These most likely will not leave bristle marks behind (in addition to creating something very unique!)

Check your paints and make sure they are up to date. Some paints will separate, and unless distributed well, will clump up on the canvas (Ask me how I know!) Shake them up well before using them, check first to make sure they have no odors, and discard if necessary. Thin paints really exacerbate the problem of showing everything undesirable, including brush marks.

Build up paint in layers – Layers on top of your canvas show that you have a handle on image/subject depth, and bristle marks will show up much less.

Hope this helps! Good luck and happy painting.

 

 

Updated: 08/21/2023 — 10:20 PM

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