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Depth and Dimension: Exploring the Unique Magic of Dry Brushing in Painting


Close up of a Carolyn Wonders painting entitled, "Healing Decade" showing dry brushing technique
Close up "Healing Decade"

Hey there! Today, I'm pulling back the curtain on one of my favorite painting techniques: dry brushing. I love to use dry brushing in my paintings to create a distinct visual effect that adds depth and texture.


Dry brushing with acrylic paint is all about using a brush that's well, dry, instead of being dipped in water before taking up a bit of pigment. I dab just a small amount of paint onto a relatively dry brush. Often I wipe the paint off a bit more onto my studio rags before touching the canvas. This technique gives me a scratchy, textured appearance, unlike the traditional smooth application of paint strokes.


Alternatively, I use a wet brush dipped in heavy body acrylic paint. Then I dab off most of the paint using a paper towel. This leaves just a whisper of paint on the brush. With this slightly damp brush, I lightly stroke it across my canvas or paper.


What's super interesting is the effect it creates. It's not your typical smooth stroke; it's more textured, almost scratchy. This technique brings a unique character to my artwork, adding an unexpected depth and dimension.


And the best part? Dry brushing isn't limited to a specific type of paint. Whether I'm working with watercolors or oils, this technique allows me to explore and experiment across various mediums.


Dry brushing has a rich history, dating back in both water-based and oil-based painting. It's a fascinating technique that has stood the test of time and is a versatile tool in an artist's kit.


So there you have it! A peek into my process and the magical world of dry brushing. Keep an eye out for more behind-the-scenes tips and tricks as I uncover more artistic wonders!


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Carolyn Wonders

ARTIST | WRITER

Modern life with its social, political, and cultural debates leaves us all raw, triggered, and anxious. We are bombarded by rhetoric that is carefully chosen to obscure truth and advance agendas. I see art as a universal language that can transcend that which twists us into parrots of this rhetoric. Living with art you love and seeing through an artist’s eyes can help us see these superficial debates for what they are and get us in touch with what really matters.

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