Tag Archives: palette knife painting

Behind Dunes @ Back Bay / oils

I took these pix on my balcony in the shade but the colors are better in the sun, warmer.

Close up of sedge, reflections and water

Every time I go there the water is different so I decided that when I was ready to paint water I’d paint it however it looked that day. When I got there today it was almost calm then a little breeze came up but it only broke the water a little.

Water, sedge and reflections.

You can see grass stuck on the wet paint in these photos. It’ll come off when it’s dry.

Water with reflections, sedge, background trees.

I think the smoother textures of the reflections and water look good next to the heavy textures of the sedge and trees.

This was fun to paint and not too difficult. It used up a lot of paint, though.

Indian Summer at the Tide Pool

I could work on this more but I’m calling it finished. I learned a lot.

The water looks different every time I go there and I’d change it but I’m not sure exactly how to do that so I’m stopping now. Water is a difficult subject for me to represent but the more practice I get the better. Some day I’ll say, “Yes, I nailed it.” The wind, current and sand bar keep changing the direction of it but it has many textures and colors that are hard to match.

A couple people talked to me yesterday and one guy said he paints murals. He was particularly interested in this part of the painting. It probably looks like I painted a lot of skinny lines but it wasn’t that hard to do since I used my palette knife. The trick is to make the paint runny and put down small blobs of paint then scrape through them with the palette knife.

That guy told me to take my art to the local nonprofit and I said no, I checked them out and they are the same as Richmond. They will take my entry fee and not hang my painting. I know already. If all the artists are doing fast easy paintings and asking $100 and I enter a difficult painting that took months and ask $1000 it will be rejected. He told me it’s the same for muralists and his entry fee is $50. And they don’t like his style or something. Also, I don’t want to pay $35 to get my name on the Plein air group email list because I don’t need the group and don’t want to enter the juried shows, so, it was good to talk to someone who knows what a rip off the art world is. I mean, if you know the cards are stacked against you how many times are you going to throw away the money?

The masking fluid worked to help keep my little figures from getting lost in the different textures of paint. I saved them after doing the people in the underpainting stage by covering them with masking fluid then after finishing the water and sand underpainting I peeled off the masking fluid and they needed touch ups but they aren’t too weak. If I tried to paint them on top as the last step they would show the other paint textures underneath.

The figures were a difficult part of it and had me hung up for some time until I could get a plan worked out. And the weather stopped me from working on this because it’s easier to mix the right colors in Plein air than it is to mix colors at home.

The whole painting is done with a palette knife except the figures. I used a brush for them and I think that was a good idea. There are art critics who think a palette knife painting shouldn’t have any brush work and there are critics who are purists that think digital manipulation of a photo is a no no. Some artists think using white paint is cheating in a watercolor. I don’t care about those rules. At the academy they said you should vary your brush strokes to add interest and create focal points. My old teachers who were harsh critics might not complain about me mixing a palette knife and a brush in the same painting or using masking fluid to keep my figures stronger.

Painting with brushes is easier than painting with a palette knife. The palette knife goes out of control more often. See the spooky house? I messed it up and didn’t feel like fixing it. It’s not spooky in real life but I am. hahahah This is why an artist’s life comes out in a painting even if you don’t want it to. If you are an artist who had some weird things happen to you in the past like I did, maybe you get obsessive about that stuff and wish you could “live in the present.” I say, if you’re obsessive about something you should keep trying to work through it. Eventually you can accept it and learn some life lessons from it. If you try to stop your brain from the bad memory you won’t ever get the lessons. The good thing is that sometimes dark stuff shows up in your paintings and you know where it comes from but no one else does but they might notice the dark and it will be interesting to the art viewer. You can use that. Know what I mean?

This is the medium I wanted to try to use. It doesn’t work for painting in the couch like my Maroger medium that I use for oil paint. To paint in the couch is great because you put a layer of medium on the dry painting and paint on top of it. The medium “couches” the paint. Maroger medium makes the surface slick and you have practically no drag on the brush but this stuff dries too fast to work like that. Also, this medium dries a little cloudy and Maroger dries clear.

The masking fluid worked as I planned and my little plastic cups kept the paint wet for weeks! Those were some of the questions I found the answers to through this painting.

Tide Pool painting debriefing / close ups only

When I went out this morning to paint, the sky was pretty with thin wispy white clouds on blue sky and I decided to go over the sky on my painting again to make it more interesting. It was fun mixing up a runny light blue and a runny white, scraping the two colors on top of my underpainting and smearing them a little then blotting some off with paper towels.

I don’t throw away paper towels from my fast food lunches. They’re not very absorbent but I can use them to blot paint or wipe off my palette or palette knife. This whole painting is a palette knife painting but I might use skinny brushes to redo the figures.

One of the jurors in Richmond that liked to reject my paintings from the juried shows told me, “Don’t mix two styles together.” And I was like, wha? I don’t even know what style is what. I guess since this is a palette knife painting I shouldn’t use brushes at all but I’m going to.

After I got my sky to where I can call it finished I knew I really need to go over the whole section of background trees again. We have a week of cloudy rainy weather coming in, if you can believe the forecast.

You can see the sand in the paint. It’s ok. That’s all the proof you need that this is an actual Plein air painting.

I like the clouds without any sharp edges because I don’t see clouds with sharp edges in nature.

I’m calling this tree in the middle ground done, and maybe the grass is done too.

So, I guess if I had to name my style I’d have to call myself a realist most of the time, because I try to match the colors of nature, but they are still not exactly realistic.

Sedge and sand.

If you really want to do realism, copying a photo won’t do the trick. The camera has its own realism and the naked eye has its own realism. Neither one is exactly real no matter how hard you try to represent accurately. Real is something between the naked eye and the camera but not exactly either one as far as I can tell.

Sand, sedge, reflections on water, nearest tree in top left of the photo still unfinished.

I don’t know about you but half the time I can’t tell what’s real in life and what’s fiction, so how can you tell what’s realism in a painting? No matter how real I can make it, my own interpretation of real is how it ends up. I mean, even if I’m trying to copy nature to the best of my ability this is still my interpretation and if you got 100 realists to paint the scene the paintings would all be different. Or maybe the juror who knows styles would say this isn’t realism at all! Who knows. I hope you know what I mean. Everything is each artist’s interpretation no matter how much you try to be realistic your own self, life, experiences or whatever, shows up in the painting.

Zombie Receptors in My Brain! / acrylic abstract

I’m not sure what kind of receptors these are. They could be zombie receptors or ET receptors or Bigfoot receptors or anything. All I know is, my brain has receptors.

Just kidding, I don’t believe in brain receptors so I like to make fun of them. Every time I hear on TV about brain receptors for opium or nicotine or murder or something I laugh to myself and say show me the receptors.

This is a mono print with extra palette knife textures added in pink and white.

Hopes and Plans / oil abstracts

This is my car sliding through New York City without having to stop in a traffic jam because it’s early on a Sunday morning and I’m sailing across the Tappan Zee Bridge which I found without getting lost even once.

This is me making piles of things I need for my vacation which will all fit in the trunk of my car and I’ll have all the art supplies I need in Maine which I couldn’t take along if I flew there.

Unless these abstracts look like something else to you, in which case whatever you think is right, good or bad, because the art viewer’s interpretation is the correct one despite what the artist intends, so they said at the academy.

textural oil paint abstracts

The Swamp At Night

This is Winsor & Newton, Winsor Violet with a little Titanium White.

I’m just doing a color check for flowers that I’m going to paint in my still life.

Nude On The Beach

If you want to give it another title I could change that.

Amethyst by Michael Harding with a little Titanium white.

Today’s Catch

Brilliant Pink by Michael Harding.

I love working this paint like this. Making it runny enough to dot is like making a glaze which I normally do anyway with oil paint. Mixing colors and thinning them with terpenoid using a palette knife is the old traditional way of painting and the still life also has an underpainting which is the old school style so the pointillist experiment I’m working on is similar in those respects to how I usually work with oil paint. The main difference is the dots instead of brush strokes.

It does take some time to prepare the paint for glazes or dots and a lot of artists don’t like to do it but I enjoy this step.

quality or quantity / which is more important?

Funny thing happened to me this morning on my one woman quest to rid my blog of bots. I decided to have a look at the vitamin sellers and try to determine if they are bots and I saw a lot of the same post on top of a lot of the vitamin blogs. It was for a colon cleanse product! hahaha How obvious that all those blogs are generated by the same bot! I took them all off my list of followers.

I also don’t like news of the world blogs because I can tell they don’t write any original content. Those bots are programmed to find news articles with certain key words and post them on the bot blog. So those are gone for now but I’m finding that bots will try to follow again and you have to keep trying to x them out again and again sometimes.

What is more important to you? Would you rather say, ” I have 5000 followers.” or would you rather say, ” I have 50 followers who are real people.” Because if you have 5000 followers there could be 3000 bots behind you watching you. That idea makes me nervous. And there could be 1000 or more dead blogs who don’t go away like zombies.

You should take an hour or so and just look at your followers list and compare the vitamin seller blogs and see how many are about the colon cleanse products today. But they have so many products to list that they might list another product on top of the colon cleanse products in a minute.

Join me in my quest to keep blogging real for real people. The most important thing is to find like minded people and hear their ideas, not the number of fake followers you have. That’s quality over quantity.

In Defense of Zombies / acrylic abstract

The zombie apocalypse might happen and when it does you’ll find me with the zombies. Probably walking real slow behind a herd of them. I’ll wear my zombie mask and put some zombie blood on my clothes and they’ll never notice me.

I don’t know about you but I feel kind of sorry for the undead. They weren’t bad people, they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time and got turned into zombies and now everyone’s trying to bash their brains in and they’re only trying to find something to eat. Like, you can’t hold it against a cat for catching a bird. It’s the same thing.

After the zombie apocalypse happens do you think mankind will join together and try to heal? Oh, Hell No! They won’t. The living will turn out to be more inhumane than the monsters!

You might see some odd romantic relationships between the living who need to repopulate the world and take it back from the undead. You might wonder, what does that ass kickin zombie killing girl see in that tired old ex-cop. or something. Then he’s gone and she moves on. But all that is beside the point.

I admire people who are strong and can survive the apocalypse but I couldn’t make it. I can’t shoot or ax zombies. I couldn’t build a sturdy zombie proof shelter or anything. The new civilization won’t need artists for many years. Bad guys would steal my food and I’d die so I’m going to the zombie side first then I’ll see the bad guys before they see me.

Do you have any plans for the apocalypse? Are you hoarding food yet?

ospreys out back / acrylic abstract

The nest is on top of a tall light pole over a ball field. This is the 3rd summer I’ve watched them. They don’t turn that light on and the field is grassy. They play ball on a few other fields, which are all connected and it gets loud when they have games, which were called off in 2020 but came back last year and this year. I guess the ospreys don’t mind the noise of the crowd cheering for their team.

I can see them from my balcony but they are too far away to get a photo since I don’t have a telephoto lens.

It’s great to see one of the adults fly in with a pan size fish.

It was windy yesterday and the chicks were holding up their wings and lifting themselves up and flapping a lot but they’re still up there today.

They’re constantly chirping. I guess they’re ready to fly and I hope they come back next year because they don’t hang around the nest after the chicks can fly. The young ones learn to fish for the rest of the summer.

That is today’s wildlife report from Virginia Beach.