Friday, January 10, 2014

Palette Knife

One nice thing about working with the palette knife, as frustrating as it is, is that it gets me to use a great deal more paint than I normally would.  I have always been a saver, I use materials sparingly and only let loose when it's obvious that I am about to drown in art supplies.  I have also been told that the way I use acrylics is unusual (which it probably is, as I started painting in acrylics after a number of years spent painting digitally and the latter definitely has influenced the former).  So I have fallen into the "it's my style" trap a little, thinking that if my work is unique it must also be good.

But I get bored.  I get bored and then I hear about a thing and I immediately want to try it.  I ended up buying this case of palette knives at Lee Valley on a whim several years ago and when I saw Linda Wilder's wonderful mountain landscapes I had to drag them out and try to use them.  (There aren't many role models for the landscape painter in acrylics, every time I see a painting I like it's either in oils or pastels.  And while I'm willing to give oils a go, I am extremely hopeless with pastels and Neil tells me that they will give me rainbowlung.)

So palette knives.  It's like painting with spackle.  My first attempt was a total disaster which I eventually rescued with a bristle brush.  The second attempt was a half-total disaster, but people inexplicably liked it.

This is my third attempt:

This is the Japanese Garden at the Butchart Gardens in Victoria.  I enjoyed the gardens there tremendously, although they were rather crowded.  It wasn't until we hit the Japanese Garden and it started raining a bit that the crowds thinned out.

With this painting I think I am finally starting to get somewhere with the palette knife.  I really like how it turned out.  And I think I am in denial about the colours I like.  Neil and I were joking about people buying paintings to match their sofa, and I remarked that the colours in this painting would make for rather hideous decor.  Then I took it into my living room and it matches not only my sofa, but the walls and rug as well.  It goes with them so nicely that now I am thinking of painting a three foot tall version and sticking it up on my wall.  So I apparently am not only the sort of person who likes orange and green, but the sort of person who matches paintings to the sofa.  Go figure.

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