View Full Version : Palette knife and acrilycs

01-30-2001, 12:42 AM

<IMG SRC="http://www.wetcanvas.com/Critiques/lib/29-Jan-2001/Amsterdamse_gracht.jpg" border=0>



[This message has been edited by Dima (edited January 29, 2001).]

01-30-2001, 09:20 AM

Your three pieces are lively, bold, and strong.

#2 The building and flag are beautifully executed. Compositionally, the painting is visually cut in half vertically a bit. To increase the drama of the already strong painting, you could reduce the sky and increase the foreground hill.

#3 Nice portrait. What juicy color. Realizing that this is more colorist and not representational in nature, the background blue (behind the man) seems to be as intense as the child's clothes. This is fine to achieve a flat colored surface. If you'd like the background to recede a bit more, break the intensity of the background blue slightly.

It would be nice to see the child's face developed just a bit more to match the man's level of "doneness". Since faces are the focal point, my eye keeps going to the man rather than to the two figures interacting. This may have been your intent however, which is fine.

Done with a knife and no brushes? Nice job! Good, consistent handling.


2001 L. Diane Johnson Plein Air Workshops (http://www.LDianeJohnson.com/workshops)

01-30-2001, 10:28 AM
Thanks for your remarks and good advice Diane.

All three were done with just the knife (some different knives, though) to get a somewhat loose result.

The photographs turned out a little different than the actuals works through reflections or what.
Anyway the sky is less prominent in #2 and the rocky foreground is more crisp and detailed.
In the portrait the very clear blue-violet is actually a dull, dark and deep violet.
The problem there, I feel, is more that the shadows on the left side of the man's face are too dark.
I found it difficult here to do the hands with the knife, but then I felt I had no choice for the consistency's sake.
The other one (the Amsterdam canal) I found too small a format for this approach or the way I go about it.



01-30-2001, 05:16 PM
Thats neat, I never was able to do much with a knife and acrylics, always ended up with a blob of hard paint on the knife.

01-30-2001, 11:13 PM
I just really love this river scape painting.... I am very interested in using a palette knife in my own paintings, and would very much like to see more of what you have done with this technique and hear what you have to say about it. Please post more of your paintings, and please talk more about your use of the palette knife. Thank you.

01-31-2001, 12:03 AM
I only see one painting, but I like it very much! I use a palette knife a lot when painting in oils or acrylics. I love the texture that you can get using the knife.

I think it scares some folks because you don't seem to have the control with a knife that you have with a brush...but I love it.

"Everything is not art and Art is not everything, but it comes close."....carly

01-31-2001, 06:45 AM
The other one (the Amsterdam canal) I found too small a format for this approach or the way I go about it.

But what a nice study. At least now you'll have a better feel for what size surface to use. Can't wait to see what you'll do with your next pieces.

01-31-2001, 09:42 AM
Please post some of your palette knife work, will you? I tried to go to your website but for some unexplained reason it wasnt opening for me. Id love to see what you've done.

01-31-2001, 03:26 PM
Hello Vonorlof,

The three pieces you have seen are actually all the ones I have done in acrylics and knife only.
I have at least one oil and knife only and I will have some where I used the knife for specific parts/jobs in the painting.
So I am not as experienced and dexterious with the knife as you might think.
In fact almost all of the paintings I do still feel as an adventure and an experiment to me; like having to start all over again.
I have no website (yet), but you can see some of my work on www.absolutearts.com/portfolios/d/dimadick/ (http://www.absolutearts.com/portfolios/d/dimadick/)
You can easily register and upload your work there.



01-31-2001, 08:51 PM
Okay buddy, and thanks for your straightforward reply.
I surfed to your website and found your paintings to be filled with color and life.
I usually dont get too enthused about landscapes, but I must admit that yours are an exception.


02-02-2001, 08:24 AM
I think it scares some folks because you don't seem to have the control with a knife that you have with a brush...but I love it

It is intimidating for anyone to consider change or novelty.

I cut on a stone a painting knife out of a putty scraping knife, then bent it. Then have my favorite smaller 1-1/4" diamond shaped knife. With practice, one can become quite deft at using its edge for lines, the tip for suggestion of detail, the full blade for sweeps of color.

Two very convenient things come to mind, though I usually mix the use of mine with brushwork as well, (I'm not trying to prove any one technique, but rather use what's needed to get the illusion I am after)- one, with a rag in hand, a mere swipe cleans it and it becomes in essence a new brush. This keeps maintaining speed to accomodate the work more manageable. Two- one rag and a knife replaces the need to have six brushes protruding from a fist. As a result, I replace a lot fewer brushes than I used to, thus it is cheaper!

Lastly....if it did not produce the effect I'm after to create the illusion I want, I would not look to debate its conveniences.

Knowing what I can do with a thin piece of metal on a stick....it has me wondering why all the hoopla over the most expensive brushes. I basically now have seen that an edge is needed to apply paint. Whether its the edge of a brush, a knife or a stick.

Years ago...and I foret where...I was reading a painterly realist's thoughts on applying paint. His words were really a saying that has stuck in my mind. "A brush stroke laid, is a brushstroke stayed!"

In other words...learn the brilliance and ingeniusness of economy of applying paint. Not putting it on and then push it around some until it looks like something or else scrape it off.

Sure...many masters do scrape off and redo, and I'm not saying anything is wrong with that. That is the "labor" of painting. However...the striving is to develop a gift or skill to have such control that much is said with less.

I saw in Frans Hals work seen in Chicago at the Art Institute such exquisite work and understanding anatomically of a human hand on one of his portraits. When I got close, I saw that his alla prima ability had reduced the hand to about 8-12 well place brushstrokes.

Of course the other secret is knowing how to make the finished look appear spontaneous and fresh as though it were easy, when it fact it was scraped and redone. Sargent is known for this.

The other quirp that stuck in my mind was the advice of avoiding bare bristles coming in contact with the painting's surface. The idea of a brushe's purpose being to put paint on...but, when the bristles lose paint, they then grab existing paint and pull it off. Thus, someone has advised using the brush to dip in and grab paint off the palette, painting with the paint on the end of the brush make 1-3 marks or small strokes and going back for more paint.

When you think of it then...I can nearly envision each brush to be a unique type of palette knife. Not made of metal but hairs, but uniquely shaped to dab and swipe.

Where this does not apply...is when a great deal of medium or water is used to paint very very thinly...which then requires a good brush to glide along the surface. Transparent layer upon layer...or glazes. Of course, in such work..the effort is to hide all brushstrokes. I could see where this requires good brushes, and for many years this had been my style of painting.

Larry http://www.artsmentor.org

"Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do!" Edgar Degas

[This message has been edited by lseiler (edited February 02, 2001).]

02-02-2001, 09:48 AM
Good lecture, Larry.
Some wise words.
Just wonder what that knife of yours looks like?
I have no idea what a putty scraping knife is, see.
Could you perhaps show it, maybe in the Studio tips forum?

Thanks, Dick


Keith Russell
02-25-2001, 10:32 PM

You said:
"However...the striving is to develop a gift or skill to have such control that much is said with less."

I see this as but one possible goal; I don't see how this could be considered 'the' goal of painting.

Although I can appreciate the skill it takes to achieve this look, doing so is certainly not the goal of my work, and I think there is enough room for various goals, various effects, for various artists.


Keith Russell
Synthetic Sky Studios
Science Fiction Fine Art
[email protected]