When I was taking college art classes and trying to figure out what I wanted to do in the way of painting, I decided upon watercolor. When I asked the head of the art department why they didn’t offer it, he impatiently replied…..”just take oil painting!”. So, reluctantly, I did. It didn’t stop me from experimenting with watercolor, but I soon found out that oil painting is so much more forgiving and satisfying to me. All I needed to do was paint a layer, let it dry, make corrections with another layer and let that dry, and so on. I just had to keep painting, easily fixing any mistakes along the way until I was satisfied with the results. Thin careful strokes eventually became thick, juicy, moving paint on the canvas as I relaxed and became comfortable with the medium. What a joyful process!!
As I continued, I realized that it wasn’t enough to perfectly copy an image in paint. I had feelings about the subjects I chose. I wanted to express those feelings in a way that the viewer could feel it themselves. I moved faster and passionately with my brush and waiting for layers to dry was not going to work any longer. My impatience made mud. I was completely dissatisfied. How could I get excited about painting again?
Experimentation with painting knives brought me to a new way of immediacy and freshness in painting. Knives allowed me to manipulate the paint in ways brushes could not. Paint could be laid down in a variety of thicknesses very quickly, and completely removed if I saw the need to do so. I could borrow, scrape, smear or jix the paint right on the canvas. This new discovery has opened so many possibilities for me over the past 20 years. The knife technique I’ve developed has permitted me to create small details in my work as well as broad abstract applications and everything in between. My work has become all about the surface of the canvas and movement of paint to express my creative spirit…..something I personally could never have found with brushes or with watercolor.
IF YOU ARE STRUGGLING WITH YOUR WORK….TRY SOMETHING NEW!!
EVENTUALLY, WE ALL BECOME SELF-TAUGHT ARTISTS
COMING SOON: THE BASICS OF KNIFE PAINTING