Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Bramley Brush Technique

Frank Bramley was a member of the Newlyn School, a group of 19th century on-the-spot painters in Cornwall, England.

Frank Bramley, detail of "Domino!"
'Newlyners' were known for their square-brush technique, notable for its overall chunky brushstroke shape.

Another strategy of this technique is to paint small, thin forms not by pulling a pointed, round brush along the form, but rather by using the thin edge of a big brush dragged sideways.

Frank Bramley. Note trim on hat brim is painted with short strokes
made with the thin edge of a square brush
A contemporary critic said: "The technique of the Newlyner is often thus roughly described: the ordinary everyday artist, if he wants to paint a ship's mast against the sky, takes a brush, coming to a fine point, and draws it vertically up and down his canvas in the place desired. The Newlyner does nothing of the sort. He uses a squarer brush and gets his mast by a series of horizontal strokes, and of the practitioners of this technique, Mr. Bramley is the easy first; indeed his strength and dexterity are marvellous. He has been called the Father of the Newlyn School."

----- Books on the Newlyn School
Stanhope Forbes: Father of the Newlyn School
Artists of the Newlyn School, 1880-1900


Susan Krzywicki said...

I thought this technique was much more recent in its origins. It seems like a 1950s trend. Thanks for the background.

Tobias Gembalski said...

Beautiful! That would a be the technique I would love to learn.

Tom Hart said...

Very interesting. I don't know if a straight line can be drawn from the Newlyn School to the British nautical painter, John Stobart. But I was always drawn to his use of this sort of chunky brush technique in his plein aire work (for which brights are his brush of choice). If I recall correctly the technique is less apparent, if at all, in his more polished finished pieces. He can be seen applying the technique in his old series Worldscape (which appeared on PBS years ago), although unfortunately that's not easy to find.

Mary Aslin said...

Really love the painterly quality of this work!