In Praise Of The Straight Edge

Straight edge brushes were traditionally used by the sign writer and calligrapher. Now however, for the painter to leave this valuable tool out of his equipment is a great mistake.

Every painting is a mixture of the defined or the undefined, or as I tend to refer to them ‘mush’ and ‘anchor’. The straight edged brush is the perfect tool for painting in the anchors with freshness and simplicity, yet with accuracy.

(Click an image to open gallery and read tips.)

When using acrylics straight lines are always something of a challenge because controlling the weight of the line is difficult with a pointed brush however steady you are of hand! In buildings this can mean that they may look either overworked or ragged. Straight edge brushes solve the problem. Look at the posts on the little Outback house (Fig. 8) by ‘printing’ them by vertical marks one after the other the posts look straight and tonally correct. Also in acrylics angular marks superimposed over one another give a lovely loose structure to vegetation (Fig. 9) especially with subtle variation of tone a colour.

So, whether my painting is wet in wet or wet on dry, of natural or man-made structures, or of landscape or close up detail for me the straight edge brush is a resource I cannot 
be without.