How to One-Stroke Paint

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One stroke leaves
One stroke leaves (Image: asplashofcoloronline.com)

One-stroke painting is an easy way for the novice painter to produce incredible results with just a few supplies. Developed by Donna Dewberry, it has quickly become a popular way to paint designs on walls, glass, wood, metal or any item that will accept paint.

Things You'll Need

  • Styrofoam or paper plate
  • Acrylic paints -- shades of the same color
  • White acrylic paint
  • Paint brushes -- 3/4 inch and a No.12 flat brush
  • Item to paint
  • Paper (for practicing)

Choose your paints. Depending upon the project you wish to try, the colors you choose should coordinate. For example, in the picture above, the colors chosen were white, burnt umber (for the stems), thicket (for the leaves) and sunflower (for the highlights). If you were painting flowers, you would want several shades of the same color as well as a white and a yellow or dark color for the center.

Place a small amount of each color paint on your paper plate. You want the colors to be close but not immediately next to each other. Leave space in the center for loading your brush.

Place a small amount of one color paint on one side of your brush. Then dip the other side into another color. For this project, the thicket was placed on one side of the No. 12 flat brush, and then a little sunflower and white were placed on the other side. The 3/4-inch brush was used to make the vine and stems the leaves are connected to.

Place the bristles of your brush in the center of your plate and press down while sliding the brush about 1 inch in one direction. Then slide it back. Place more paint on your brush and repeat the process. This is called "loading the brush." Once you have the paint loaded onto your brush you can apply it to your paper or item. It is recommended that you use the paper to practice with before applying the paint to your project.

Move your paintbrush. Depending upon the movement of your brush and the pressure you place on it, your design will begin to take shape. You will see how the stroke shades itself with the colors you have placed in your brush. For example, if you look closely at the picture above, you will see how the leaf is made with two C-shaped strokes, each facing each other. To make the ridges appear, the brush was "wiggled" as the shape was made. The white color is at the center of the leaf, with a hint of yellow, and the green is dominant.

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