I have been oil painting with a knife almost exclusively for the last several months or at least since June. I have fielded a couple of comments from online friends and collectors that are mostly positive. I think I am going to keep it up for a while longer and see where it takes me. I do enjoy the immediacy of the process. The painting happens fast and I can correct areas I am not happy with almost as fast as I originally painted them. Knife painting feels clumsier than painting with a brush and for me that may be where the excitement is right now. Not having control makes each painting a bit more challenging and perhaps the challenge evidenced in the final painting is the magic for me.
I use only a couple of knives; a small short trowel, a longer narrow trowel and a square ended blade. I do most of my painting with the long skinny trowel pictured in the middle below.
When I work on larger paintings I use a couple of larger trowels and a large spatula-like palette knife. When I use the knives to paint I often go directly to the color which I think is correct for the spot, particularly when I am painting “en plein air”. At times when I feel that an overall tone might help create unity I block in the value pattern completely with a contrasting tone.
By laying down a thin layer of violet or blue I may achieve a bit of atmosphere. By using a warmer tone underneath could imply the feeling of time of day or season or just make the painting more interesting. A layer of color knifed on at the start of an alla prima* painting may make it more challenging for a beginner.
(* alla prima meaning that the entire process is completed while the paint is wet)
The Painting I put up today is a small study of Emerald Lake. Emerald Lake lies to the east of the Skyline drive road in central Utah, south of the Twelve Mile Flats campground. I may be mistaken, but I think the Twelve Mile Flats campground is the highest campground in the nation at around 10,300 feet. I first saw Emerald Lake sometime during the 1960′s while riding to a nearby snowbank to get snow so my grandmother could make ice cream for us on the fourth of July. I recall having a snowball fight while the adults shoveled a couple of bags of snow. The geology of the whole area consists of bright white limestone covered by rich dark soil which makes for some interesting contrast.
The title Emerald Lake #1 implies that there will be at least one more so check back in a few days and see what I make. Check out my painting give away link at the top of my page.
Check out my works for sale page, if you are interested in this or any of the works on my site that are not listed there contact me.