Palette Knife Painting

Palette Knife Painting

Yesterday I painted my first palette knife painting in Painting I class. It was a one-session deal, so we had about 2 hours to start and finish the piece. We were working from an organic still life, so there were several items to choose from (a pomegranate, bell peppers of differents colors, a pear, an avocado, a pineapple, an artichoke, etc.). Each was placed on colored construction paper (to give us more color to work from).

I’ll give you a little idea of what palette knife painting is all about (just in case you’re not familiar with it). The paint is applied to the canvas only with the aid of palette knives–blunt or sharp utensils that can be shaped like spades, butter knives, or spatulas. It is a bit like icing a cake. It can also be one of the most aggravating art experiences.

The most beautiful thing, though, about working with this technique is the mindset that one must adopt in order to relax into the process. Nothing is ever ruined and everything is fixable. Colors may go in entirely different places than where you intended them to be, they may mix when you don’t want them to, or you may put the wrong color on the painting. It doesn’t matter–it was bound to happen anyway. Just keep moving forward and thinking about the next step: what can I do next to make this painting even more like the painting I want it to be? To me, it seemed like a metaphor for life. Mistakes happen–that’s what makes this life so beautiful. Just keep moving forward; you can fix almost anything.

It was a very spiritual experience. I felt so relaxed, zen, and in control after entering this mindset. :)

Here is my piece. I painted the artichoke.

Palette Knife Painting

Love

Final Project for Drawing I

The final assignment for my Drawing I course was to create a fantasy/dream-themed drawing using any drawing medium of our choice.

I was not originally going to go through with the concept I ended up using. One night, this concept came to me–inspired by several friends I have who have lost loved ones suddenly. Their stories affected me very deeply, and I wanted to communicate the emotion–as well as the themes of Love and Loss–in a piece of artwork. I had also recently discovered the drawings and artistic concepts of the NYC-based artist Kim Jones, and his work gave me an idea of how to communicate my message. My logical self immediately refused–I tend to shy away from dark or disturbing themes, and worried that the piece would only have negative connotations. However, the idea that I had for this project took real shape and added a lighter side when I realized the multiple interpretations for the image I had in mind.

I decided to draw the woman disappearing into the air, but since there is no real movement in the picture, the woman could equally be said to be emerging and coming to life–a beautiful interpretation that comments on the power of Love. Either way, I think there are, in general, some very powerful implications and feelings about Love and the magic and mystery of human interaction.

The drawing is done in charcoal and colored pencil.

Love

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Negative Space

Negative space is something I feel very strongly about. Too often, people are fond of focusing on the positive space. Who can blame them? It’s exciting. It’s like the action in action movie. You can touch it; you can pick it up; you can crash into it. However, one must only spend a few minutes in a small, airtight space in order to really appreciate the negative space. Negative space is just as important as positive space. Our world is a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle of positive and negative.

As an artist, I love negative space because it is like a lifeline. Like many people, I too am obsessed with positive space and can spend hours drawing it. However, it takes only a few bad judgments to make the parts of my drawing out of scale with each other. Luckily, my secret friend Negative Space is there to help me out. ;)

Remember the jigsaw puzzle? It all fits together. If you don’t know how to draw the nose or the dress or the cat, draw the air around the nose or the dress or the cat–the negative space.

Practicing seeing the negative space is a worthwhile endeavor for anyone who draws from life. You can make a very effective exercise of it. Pick a scene or group of objects, and draw in the silhouette of the space around the objects. Here’s an example of this same exercise that I completed in a Drawing I course. If you have a strong, directional Light source, you can even use silver or grey to draw in the shadows, if you like, as I’ve done.

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It’s helpful if you Frame the section so that the objects are touching the edge of the paper. You can create a viewfinder to make this process easier. Start in pencil so that you can change the Marks until you have a good, accurate composition.