The Secret of Palette Knife Painting
Occasionally I make an oil painting with knives using the 'wet into wet' technique. By using a knife it is possible to layer wet paint on top of wet paint without disturbing the layer underneath, thus maintaining a freshness in the painting. Knife painting automatically keeps your colors pure because it is so easy to keep the knife clean. A quick wipe of the cloth does it and no solvents required!
Painting with a palette knife forces me
to loosen up. I focus on shapes and colors, not being consciously aware
that I am painting a person or a tree. I let the colors and values that I
place on the canvas tell that story. Painting with a palette knife also
gives me more of an impasto surface. The paint has dimension, a quality I
For this technique it is imperative that
the paint is not allowed to dry, as it is virtually impossible to control
the knife as it skids over the ridges of dried paint underneath.
Of the three types of knifes that I usually use, one is straight and flat. This is used for rapidly filling in the large areas of paint on the canvas by holding the blade almost flat to the canvas. It is also used for creating straight lines on the canvas by holding the blade at an angle of 90 degrees to the canvas surface and for blending large areas. The other knifes are much smaller and have a cranked shaft with a diamond shaped head and a tear drop head. The head is offset from the handle to prevent the artists fingers being dragged through the wet oil painting. I use these knifes to add details and relief to the work.
The set I currently use...Loew Cornell
Sean Dye demos a studio painting using India ink, acrylic
gouache and water-soluble oil with painting knife techniques. I just
watched this two hour video. Very informative, he explains clearly every
step. About half of it shows the final oil phase.
See some great palette knife paintings by Jim Larimer.
...and by Shelli Robiner-Ardizzone:
This technique works well with acrylics, too...
Snow Creek Falls
Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco.
5 Stars...amazon.com review:
"Any knife painter who loves colour straight from the tube will benefit by studying Coulton's exuberant paintings. His book not only contains over 220 black and white illustrations, it also has 16 full colour plates. Coulton offers 'an enormous range of knife painting techniques', with step by step demos. His discussion of colour is second to none. As an oil painter, I have found his book to be the single most valuable work I've ever read.
His beautiful, powerful knife paintings illuminate the book, as does his warm, intelligent narrative. I love this man.
He was born in Cornwall, England, in 1896 and later made his home in Newburgh, New York. His work is in collections in Syracuse University, the University of Wichita, the Cooperstown Art Association, the Toledo Museum, and in private collections all over the U.S.
Nothing reveals the man and the artist more than this quote from his book, with reference to Egyptian Turquoise: "I have certain still lifes with backgrounds of this colour which I love so much I often just walk around the studio, carrying them."
Coulton Waugh's books should definitely not be out of print. I hope Watson-Guptill Publications will consider reprinting them."
I order a used copy based on this review alone! Bob
Good for basic techniques. Powell also has videos for sale on his website. I own this book and a couple videos.
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