Sunday, July 26, 2015

Casual Flowers - Changing My Brush Calligraphy

I receive a lot of emails, messages, and comments asking me, "How do you paint such casual flowers?" "How do you get such a soft look to your flowers?" I have to tell you, as a long-time stroke artist, I'm, of course, flattered by the mere asking of such questions. Me - "DeAnn Meely" and the adjective "casual" - wow! I've worked hard to achieve a more casual calligraphy. I had to make changes to help my brain, my subconsciously trained inner stroke-artist, relax - I had to reprogram my innate artist. I had to trick it into allowing me to achieve a different look, if you will.

First, I changed my brush. I switched from a filbert to a flat; not just any flat, a LARGE flat (I'm talking #10 to 3/4"). Second, I changed my grip. I held my brush overhanded instead of like a pencil from start to finish. (Try pulling that most perfect comma or reverse teardrop in the overhand position!) Third, I took my teacher/mentor's advice and set a timer. I challenged myself to paint a casual rose in 15 minutes (instead of an hour). I kept reducing my time little by little each day down to the five minute mark. Wow, what a difference it made.

Looking back though, I think the most pivotal moment came when I painted a rose from start to finish with my fingers, no brush. (I might have cheated just a bit finding some of my lost edges with touches of white at the end.) Wow! Give it a try. Let me know how it works.

Right now, I am casual. Can you be too casual? I hope not! I'm always looking to change, to improve, to redefine my brush just a bit. It keeps my painting interesting. It keeps me interested in painting. It keeps me growing as an artist. It makes me a better teacher. It fuels my passion for what I do!

In this fall's seminars at my studio and as I travel teach, we will be focusing on a more casual approach. We will learn how to "reprogram our brains." I can not wait to share these techniques, tricks, and tidbits to help you find your inner, more casual artist. I hope to see some of you in my classes along the way. (My seminar schedule can be viewed at along with sign-up information).

I'm also looking forward to sharing my large brush casual roses on my You Tube channel set to launch in the very near future.

Enjoy the Journey!


  1. Well said DeAnn! I agree- large flats are awesome and have really changed my stroke habits. I will have to try the overhand hold- your class is sure to be a lot of fun!

  2. Thank you Jess. Overhanded has an 8.9 degree of difficulty. :) See you soon.