Thursday, May 23, 2013

Palette Knife Portrait Painting Tips

Palette Knife Portrait of the lovely artist/muse/musician, Mather Louth
Johanna Spinks

I love painting with a palette knife. This was my demo yesterday at The California Art Institute. Join me there Wednesday mornings. If you can't, here are my top tips for palette knife painting.

1. It gets really messy. Plenty of paper towels, gloves and an apron.

2. A good selection of knives for different effects. A rounded tip is better for doing a head than a sharp one.

3. Pre-mix a bunch of neutrals ahead of time so you can work faster. Think mid-value pools of color.

4. Let it stand for 24 hours so the paint gets a bit tacky and you can push and pull it a bit more.

5. Put ALL your brushes in a padlocked cupboard. That way you won't be tempted to pick them up. Palette knife portraits are much slower going than brush. You don't have as much control which is the point but it can get a little frustrating when that eye is taking forever. The moment you pick up the brush, it ruins things. I use the brush only for my drawing block-in so I can get a feel for where I am going. Then I put it away.

6. Use the knife as if you were a sculptor going up and down the forms.

7. Relax and let the happy accidents happen

8. Paint from a GREAT model

9. Study the work of Nicholai Fechin

10. Post so I know you were interested and will post more.


Building up the forms
The demo starts after a block-in with brush. This is the only part where I use a brush


Roseanne said...

The Palette Knife LOVES you too!!! This is so beautiful!!!! Keep posting these tips that you have been doing, I for one truly appreciate everything that you post!!!

Johanna Spinks said...

Thank you Roseanne. Sure appreciate.