© John Salmon.

Tutorial 6. The Bellycharge.

I love the name of this one. It reminds me of the drunken bar sport that was popular recently where two large men, strip to the waist and charge at one another with the purpose of colliding their big beer bellies.

Well if you've been following these tutorials, you'll know that the belly of a brush is normally the thickest part of the brush where there is the greatest concentration of hairs or bristles.

I devised this technique because I wanted to try and create the perfect seemless colour transition within a shape. Hopefully, by now you will have found how useful the charger has become with your painting process, and you'll see that this is just a further extension of what I have shown you so far.


Here is a strip of colour transitions which were created using the belly charge. I know they are not all perfect, but to get all these looking very reasonable on one piece of paper is not bad at all in my book.

The strips are .4 inches wide by 3.5 inches long and you may notice that there are three colours used in a couple of them. I used a No. 4 ProArte brush to create these.

When we rootcharge a brush, what we are doing in effect is like pumping the colour out of the brush onto the paper. Consider what would happen if you had two colours on your brush at the same time. With a little luck one colour would be pumped out first followed by the next colour. The idea is to ensure the colour is put on the brush in different zones. e.g. One colour on the tip and the next colour on the belly.

I use tubes of colour and a pallette that has generous paint wells. I squeeze out a short length of colour into my paint well and let it harden overnight. The image below shows a cut-away side view of my pallete and the method that I use to bellycharge a dampened brush with colour. You will notice that the tip has already been charged with colour and obviously once I start to paint, that will be the first colour to come off the brush followed by the colour which has been bellycharged onto the brush.

Bellycharging a brush with colour.


With a little patience and practice you'll find that this is quite an easy technique which you can experiment with and achieve some quite amazing colour blends.

It goes without saying that you can do a bellycharge and make a colour transition at virtually any stage when painting a shape, and, you can of course change the colours at any stage to achieve a multi-coloured shape.


Here are a couple of examples of paintings where I have used various colour transitions.


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