How to use a Flat Paint Brush

Brush Series: Episode #1

This is the first in a series of painting tips and techniques I’m going to share with you through my blog posts and videos!  Most people starting out with painting for the first time struggle to know which paintbrush is best to use for any certain technique. That’s exactly why I created this series!

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The first brush we are going to talk about is the flat brush. In my examples I’m using a 1 inch flat brush. This brush is awesome for backgrounds, simple evergreen trees and a dry brushing technique! I’m going to show you a few examples of each below as we learn how to use a flat paint brush.

Let’s Talk About Backgrounds First

This 1-inch flat brush is what I use for most of my backgrounds! I have three simple background techniques that even a beginner can learn!

The first one is just simple blending, back-and-forth horizontal brushstrokes that you continue across the canvas.  The key here is to make sure that you have enough paint and your brush so that it blends easily.

This is great for sunsets as well as the ocean painting that I have below! I’ve used this technique on more paintings than I can count! 

You can learn how to create your very own painting like this and the others you see in this blog! Keep an eye out so you can purchase my individual tutorials!!


Tranquil Beach Painting Tutorial

The next background is very similar except we are going to do it in a circular motion instead of horizontal brush strokes. The trick to getting skies to turn out like this is to use large arm movements. You can see me demonstrate how to use a flat paintbrush for this technique in the video below. 

How to use a Flat Paint Brush

You want to have plenty of paint again and when you are blending between different colors you want to get a little of each color so that you don’t end up with a sky that looks like a bulls-eye.

When getting a little of each color on your brush it softens the lines between the two colors.


Summer Dragonfly Painting Tutorial

And last but not least is my abstract background. This is actually one of my favorites because it’s messy and free! If you follow me you can tell that that is definitely my style of painting!

How to Use a Flat Paint Brush

This background looks awesome for skies as well as still-life paintings like flower vases.

It’s so versatile and you can use it in so many different ways. I typically get 2 to 3 colors of paint on my brush and make quick random movements back-and-forth. You can also see me demonstrate this on my YouTube video below.



Cactus Trio Painting Tutorial

More Flat Paint Brush Techniques

Those are some of my favorite backgrounds to paint but let’s talk about a few other things you can do with a flat brush!

This is by far one of the easiest ways to make some quick trees especially if you are doing a silhouette! Check out the video below to see how simple these trees are.  

You can take these to the next level if you were doing a winter scene and add snow over top of the existing darker brushstrokes.

An important thing to notice is that the brushstrokes stay horizontal. They do not have an angle to them. You just extend the brushstrokes out further as you move towards the base of the tree.



How to Use a Flat Paint Brush

Finally, is a technique that I use on a lot of my wood pallet signs and just to give a rough texture to canvases. It is called Dry Brushing.

How to use a flat paint brush

You get very little paint on your brush and quickly and lightly go over your canvas so that it picks up the texture behind it.

This is one of the last techniques that I show you in the video.


How to Build a Pallet Board for Painting

There is a ton of valuable information inside this quick video and I hope it gets you on your start to paint!  Whether you never painted before or you’re just perfecting your technique you can find lots of tips and tricks here! 

Learn All About Brushes for Acrylic Painting

Want to learn more? Grab my free tutorial here and stay tuned for more information as I open the doors to my membership!  

The membership is where you can really take your painting to the next level!

I teach you three full paintings per month as well as featuring a guest artist or speaker.

In addition to that, you have over 50 videos to choose from in my video library as well as an awesome community of like-minded women who are on the same journey as you!

Learn more about Christie’s Inner Tribe

Stay tuned over the next few weeks because I will be releasing a video per week featuring a new brush and all the techniques you can use them for!

Stay creative!!

More from the Acrylic Paint Brush Series