Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Spring Palette Knife Painting

After my first exposure to a limited palette via this workshop with Morton Kaish, I have tried to keep my paint colors to a minimum and mix as much a possible. It is liberating to me.

I designed a class to teach this approach and have been teaching "Paint in the Manner of Van Gogh" at Great Neck Adult Education Center and The Newark Museum. My intention is to inspire direct strong strokes with the use of a palette knife and challenge the learning process as you learn more about mixing colors.

This is a special workshop taught by Mort Kaish at the National Academy in 2009. The triad of colors is Cadmium Yellow Light, Ultramarine Blue, Alizarin Crimson and White. I am using acrylic paint on Masonite board toned with Ultramarine Blue acrylic.

Portrait of a Model, Over-Sized Head, Palette Knife, Limited Palette.

The charcoal sketch is painted over in black acrylic paint to facilitate fast drying. We are told to think of stained glass leading, where one area attaches to another, and is clearly outlined.

This is my finished outlined, leaded head.
The board is 24" x 18".

Beginning by premixing the paints for the skin tones, I begin to apply the strokes. It is an "apply scrape off the excess stroke". As one works the face, the under layers are drying and allowing for
additional color applications. There is a see thru effect, due to the scraping off of the excess paint. This is not about frosting a cake.

The "leading" allows you to separate the areas of the image. This provides clarity and acts as a road map. It also guides you toward selecting distinct colors and avoid too much blending. This is a new tool to most and a helpful approach to applying color.

Texture will inevitably occur as the under layers have been scraped. Acrylic paint allows for a lot of layering in 2, 3 hour sessions. You can see the variety of colored layers on the surface as they continue to build the form over the 2 sessions on this model.

The dark areas are mixed from the limited palette. I did not get to the background other then to make an outline.

The object was not a real likeness, but the color interaction and liberation of using the primary triad of color to develop all the colors needed. The "darks" are the most challenging because the value and color has to be deep.

I love this theory so much, it is my second time taking the workshop. Mr. Kaish has incorporated both the knife and brush in his own wonderful work.

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