Tag Archives: palette knife

Look at my beautiful palette

Am I crazy to be excited about my palette?

The greens, grays and blue are leftovers and I covered them with plastic wrap. They’ll stay soft and workable for weeks but will partially thicken up.

I tried to match the colors of my begonia and rejected a few of the mixes on the right which still look like neat blobs. I think the right colors for the flowers are between the ones I mixed. That’s close enough for lights and darks.

The two I liked for the light areas of the petals and the two I liked for the shadows are all messed up because I thinned them with terpenoid to make them slightly runny.

Mixing paints on the palette with a palette knife is real fun.

I decided to leave my begonia painting rough. I mean I’m not going over the background and leaves again. That’s the modern art way and I’m trying to go modern. Once and done.

I particularly like this smear. Now you see why I need the large palette. The blue is left over from the background and it’s covered with plastic wrap. I started thinning the red with turpentine and it accidentally bled over the blue and some blue got into the red. I had to quick scrape up the red and move it away from the blue.

The background is gray because I have duct tape on the back of the glass. It’s easier to see what colors you’re mixing on a gray background than on a white background. And the duct tape keeps the glass from breaking and making a problem when I’m out in plein air. I’ve had the same piece of glass on the palette for years.

These are the colors I want to use all thinned down nicely so they flow off my brush and make nice brush stroke textures.

ok, I’ll get back to painting, but I have all day and it’s hot and humid so you get to see this because I don’t want to go out. I have time to stop and take pictures of my palette and write a little. I hope it’s not boring.

kelp forest for a background

I looked at some photos of kelp and then winged it with my palette knife. This is my background for a mermaid. It might take a couple days to dry but I don’t have the plan worked out exactly, so that’s ok.

Yesterday was too hot for me to enjoy drawing in plein air and tomorrow is the start of a big weekend here. Traffic might get bad. And there is a chance of rain this weekend which isn’t good because so many people are vacationing at the beach after being locked down last year at this time. It will be a busy summer season here. It has been dry though, so if it rains it’s ok with me.

Last year when I didn’t have an apartment for a week or so, I stayed at a hotel at the oceanfront. I thought it was a strange twist of fate that when we were told to lock down I was at a place that I could enjoy for a while. I couldn’t call myself homeless because the homeless are broke, it was only a weird moving experience. A lot of my art got stolen while I was moving into the new apartment and I cancelled the lease and put my stuff in storage for around 10 days because I wanted to not rush into making another bad decision on an apartment. Then a guy returned my stolen art. How often does that happen?! So finally I moved in here, but when I left the oceanfront I bought this plaster mermaid for a souvenir from one of the stores on Atlantic Ave. that was open. I thought she was the prettiest mermaid and wanted to draw her. Statues are my favorite kind of models.

I don’t like her tail. I guess they made it like this so the figure would fit in a certain size mold but the tail looks weak. How can she swim with a floppy tail?! I’ll think of a better way to draw it but I didn’t try yet. I’m not sure about the sea shell bra either, or what she should be holding. Should I give her a crab to hold? When I bought this I thought it would be fun to put a little cactus on that plate.

Now I need to decide, do I want to try to do a mermaid mono print or do the fun painting style of Matisse where you tape your brushes onto yard sticks, or possibly continue with the palette knife.

I’m open to suggestions. Maybe I can make these decisions when I’m sketching her.

pond, path, creek and golf course painting update

We’re having some nice weather this week. It might be cold tomorrow but I should probably let this dry a little before I go back into it.

I was glad when the clouds rolled in this afternoon because I had a solid blue sky and I wanted to make it more interesting. I’m not sure if I want to work on the clouds more or if I should leave them alone. I’ll probably work on the background trees again before I start blobbing in the trees on the path.

Battery De Russy w. close ups

At first it was kind of scary, then it was fun.

I knew my lines would get all crooked painting with the palette knife. I tried to keep them as straight as I could but when you try to paint on top of lumpy paint from the previous palette knife glaze, you just have to stop worrying about straightness at some point.

It probably doesn’t matter if my perspective is off either. I don’t know if this is some kind of abstract or any kind of realism or what it is if it fits in some style of painting. The palette knife gives it a whole different look than I’d have got with brushes. To me it’s a wavy feel.

I don’t know if this shot is giving you all the grays in the dark. I used warm and cool grays on top of warm grays on top of cool grays. Some of the lower layers show through and the viewer’s naked eye can mix the tints and shades of gray to see a gray that’s alive and moving, not a dead gray.

I considered not painting the railings but then I decided the battery needed them. I knew they would be rough going on top of all those lumpy layers but I kind of got them in. I’m glad I gave it a shot.

This is the grass and path. It was fun glomming the paint on real thick with my palette knife. I mixed the colors of paint on my palette and only mixed them a little on the canvas with the knife and added some texture.

This shows you how out of control my lines got and some texture in the background, that might or might not be a ghost.

2nd palette knife painting w close ups

This one came out better than my first attempt.

I did the whole thing with palette knives and split it up over two different days letting the gray green background and the light gray of the flowers dry overnight. The paint was still wet the next day but only slightly dried which helped my brighter greens and white from mixing in as much. So I did layers but I don’t know if that’s how other artists do a palette knife painting.

It was fun and I’ll do another one.

The good thing about a palette knife painting is that you don’t have to clean brushes. The bad thing is that this will take months to dry. I can put it in my outside closet where it will be out of danger.

This time I went over the background twice to add more texture.

The dark green paint was soupy and it ran off my palette knife nicely. I thinned it with terpenoid.

It reminded me of my cake decorating days.

The white paint was like soft icing.

It’s practically impossible to keep the edges sharp.

The palette knife is harder to control than a paint brush. You have to be careful how you scrape up the paint off the palette so it’s on the knife in a good position to make a blob where you want the blob. Paint goes where you don’t want it to go. Most of the time I just let it there but a couple times I scraped up a big blob that fell in a bad place.

Soy Beans With Crepe Myrtles / oil

building texture with a palette knife
building texture with a palette knife

At York Academy of Art, (long ago) our teachers told us to vary the textures in our paintings. This helps make the viewer’s eye move around the canvas. Heavy texture is fun to paint and to look at, but you need a smoother texture to contrast with the heavy palette knife texture, and to give the eye a place to rest.

I painted in the couch, the way they taught us to paint at YAA, which means you put a layer of Maroger Medium on the dry canvas in the area you want to paint that day. Then paint on top of the medium with color. The paint slides so nicely on the Maroger Medium, which is what the old masters used. I have a tube of Alvi’s  Maroger Medium. It’s great to work with. Sometimes when I get home and sit back and look at my painting, I see things I want to correct. With this medium, you can just wipe the paint off without destroying the dry layers of paint underneath. Also you can thin your paint and make glazes, or go thick impasto on top of the medium.

You can use the palette knife in different ways. Use the flat side of it to spread your paint like butter, to cover a larger area. Or you can dab in thick chunks of paint with the tip of the palette knife. But the technique I use most often with the palette knife is to blob in some glazes of paint with a brush on top of the medium and scratch through the paint with the palette knife to make lines and textures.