Palette Knife Painting and Workshops
What a wonderful creative combination: the natural environment rocky escarpments and brilliant skies! Add the magical Palette Knife PK1008 and its a perfect recipe for fun.
What a wonderful creative combination: the natural environment rocky escarpments and brilliant skies! Add the magical Palette Knife PK1008 and its a perfect recipe for fun.
One way, or in another. In some measure. It doesn’t have to be “Art” nor music, nor even in the sciences.
Maybe you are one of the generous ones, the kind and thoughtful ones. Sharing your enthusiasm and your knowledge freely.
That. Is a special kind of magic. People don’t forget it. I certainly don’t.
It really doesn’t matter what your job title is, your career, vocation, etc. A convenience store clerk, recently showed me…. how skilful he was at making magic. Just by being himself. Being generous. When he did not have to be.
On the Art side of things, there is a kind of magic I find easy when I teach or coach a group of new artists. The kind of magic, that illustrates for them a variety of pathways and perspectives on how to see what they’ve never truly seen before.
“Is Graffiti, art?” was one question for the group. At first, many didn’t see the art in any graffiti. But, some graffiti is so breathtaking, it defies any to not call it Art.
I also am inspired when finally, I have been able to get an individual to feel, the art. Wow. Yes. Magical indeed the sharing of methods, techniques, thoughts, of ways how they can Feel it, and become aware of things they’d never felt, before. I do find it easy. Fun. Inspiring. Challenging. Magical.
Yes. I guess that is a type of magic that I do.
Making Magic applies to the practical side of creativity, the nuts and bolts ie the tools and materials, as well as the philosophical side.
There is a Magical tool I love.
It is the PK 1008. A very sensitive, versatile palette knife that responds perfectly. Fluidly. There is no stiff rigidity of stroke inherent to this palette knife whatsoever. It is far too sensitive for that!
The Mountain Landscape is a Palette Knife painting, a bit wild and rebellious…. that I’ve mounted on my last sheet of handmade Indian Village paper.
I pre painted this in Indanthrone with Indigo for a velvety blue black to contrast my image. It worked.
With the PK 1008 the sharp angle and width allow for a myriad of very expressive movements and technical applications.
Double or triple loading the knife with a few watercolors, then boldly …. sliding it across the predampened paper – oh, my. That absolutely creates Magic!
Making Magic with the Palette Knife is most likely my top favourite technique in creating art. Nothing else quite works outs like it does. Full of unexpected delights and color melting together. Beautiful and strange pairings that should not work, but Do.
And even when the image isn’t doing so well in ‘your’ intended direction; turn it around. Maybe that palette knife, does have some mysterious magic in it after all. Many times, not only my work, but students’ as well, when reassessed in the upside down mode – it is stunningly Perfect! Amazing.
My Tips for those wanting to use a palette knife with Watercolors, ie not impasto style, are as follows:
Be Bold! Decisive. No fiddling, nagging, etc. Speak UP. Say it like you mean it, then leave it be.
Review your Art Basics quickly. Tonal Values, Edges, Aerial Perspective, Focal Point, Details/contrasts. Then try to stick to most, of those.
Most Importantly, use your artistic drive to make the audience FEEL Something! Don’t be content with recording the facts, the details, the accuracies.
Go MAKE MAGIC!
I have discovered a new word, I thought I’d pass it along to you.
And rich, with layers of meanings.
I love it!
It fits perfectly in describing a few select pieces of my art.
I thought you too, might like to know about this word I’ll share it with you.
Along with a mini collection of my favourite art works I’ve created.
“Hibiki” Japanese meaning ……… Echo, Resonance.
This is a collection of my own paintings created either on location, an echo of a memory, or from a compilation of my own photos that I have taken myself on site.
Just to let you know, none of them are particularly recent.
For me, I feel they have, by virtue of their age, stood the test of time.
They still give me Joy.
Each one, still resonates deep within.
Reminding me of how I want to paint.
How I wish to create.
Reminding me that if I did it once, (that is if I created a painting I genuinely can feel the magic echo within me years later,) then yes, I can repeat that again.
And again. And again.
Success can be echoed.
Though, indeed, it might take time.
Persistence. And countless more paint tubes.
But in the end, it is worth it.
All that time, energy, effort is worth it – to have even a small collection that is Timeless.
That continue, to echo in my soul.
Education. When I present skills, concepts and new techniques, I also learn. I learned …. a LOT, from my venture To Queen’s Gardens in Perth.
On the job, on going education. Perfect.
Yes. There have been days, of ‘not so’ perfect. And I most definitely will not share those with the public. But overall, it is a great gig.
I left the green shaded groves, of the UWA Sunken Gardens. Leaving the calm, zen there.
I drove off, into the city. Clearly following my well researched and diagrammed directions. I had studied this. I knew the route.
In the city. Gosh. Who, would have suspected?
Where was my Plan B?
Needless to say, the first attempt to arrive at Queen’s Garden was met with Strike One.
I ended up, very close to my original starting point. Oops.
Do I give up and go home? Do I allow the city, and detours, to be victorious? I sighed. It WAS HOT. 90+ degrees. How bad, did I really want to go?
But, you know, I am Determined.
Someone just recently, made that comment – that I was very determined. I’m not certain if it that was a polite way of just saying, ‘Stubborn.’ I’m thinking it was though!
My “Stubbornness” won out.
I continued on my target goal to the Queen’s Gardens. Finally, 55 minutes later – I arrived! It should have taken 20, tops.
Victory. Ok I met some more road closures, detours. And had to walk from the river to the Gardens. (Bonus, more exercise for me!) The point is, I achieved my destination point.
I had a nice pleasant stroll around.
Relaxing. Taking photos of turtles, black swans, golden breasted waterfowl, massive ivory waterlilies on the deep blue ponds, wooden bridges, and the famous bench from the movie “Notting Hill.”
Towards the end of my stroll I came closer to the large statue that had caught my eye earlier. It had looked like a Pied Piper of sorts.
I was so immersed in the faces and features, the transcendent expressions the artist brought to life, I didn’t look first at the title or description.
Instead I engaged with the art. Section by section.
I loved the ‘rabbit’ like ears upon some of the figures.
Once I was finished with taking the photos, then I read.
I discovered the statue was based on JM Barrie’s story of Peter Pan.
The sculptor was Sir George Frampton. This was one of his 6 replicas he cast from his original mould. This sculpture was erected in Queens Garden in June 1929.
The original is in London, the Kensington Gardens.
Apparently with the original statue, Sir George…. acted without authorisation.
Overnight, without prior permission, he erected his Peter Pan statue unbeknownst to anyone.
He did get chastised…. however in his defense he stated that he’d simply wanted the children to be surprised. To awaken and see the ‘Peter Pan’ in the gardens ‘as if the fairies had done so overnight.’
I can just imagine how this explanation went over!
But, I think, he may have had a smidgen of ‘determination’ within himself. I don’t think he was going to allow anything to dissuade him from his goal. He knew what he wanted to accomplish.
And he did so.
Artists need to have this quality of Determination.
This almost wilful, stubbornness.
It is this, that enables them to overcome the 1001 odds that are stacked against them.
The challenges of the city proved to be an excellent educational tool. We can choose to give up too soon, or choose to be Determined.
In the words of Thomas Merton,
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
With this philosophy as our main criteria of how we define and perceive Art, much of what we do in our everyday lives could quite possibly, be seen as a form of artistic expression.
And if we began viewing these common things in such a light, then in so doing, we are are led towards living each day…… artistically.
Yesterday’s adventures included a work related excursion first, to the UWA campus Sunken Gardens in the morning. Later on in the afternoon, a visit to Queen’s Garden was fun.
While in the Sunken Gardens, the small group and I sat under the shaded canopy of a large flourishing, grove of trees. It was, Lovely.
The concepts presented to the group had three major points.
As we progressively lose these fears, finding more peace and harmony – we are in essence doing what Thomas Merton stated… finding ourselves and losing ourselves in the most wonderful ways.
While in the gardens the thought crossed my mind about having preconceived ideas. Its so easy.
In my mind, I may have muttered, “ALL these greens!”
I realised I was closing my mind off to the possibilities, that ALL those greens could present.
I concluded that I was being … ‘judgemental’ in my own way, of what I will or will not accept. As art.
And that maybe, by being more open….I could find an infinity of possibilities waiting for me that I’d never suspected, within The Greens.
I should at least, try.
I think, in the photo image below of the pond, I managed to capture some of the many possibilities of All Those Greens.
I lose myself, and find myself…Within The Greens.
Art has thousands of variations, nuances.
Flavors, if you will.
As individuals we each have our own particular preferences. One person’s preferring vanilla ice cream over strawberry ice cream doesn’t nullify that the vanilla is still … ice cream.
Isn’t it odd how we never think to debate about someone else’s different food preferences?
Art may be rock n roll to some, opera to another. Some may view Andy Warhol as THE Definition of Art; another rave Rembrant.
It is all art, in every one of the myriad forms it takes. Cooking, music, writing, video, screenwriting, hospitality, textiles….
And, we actually require the seemingly, chaotic diversity of each and every one of these forms.
It stretches us. We grow. We learn.
We. better. ourselves.
2019 I’m conducting a year long course with the title “Watercolor, Loose and Easy.” It sounds like A Plain, Ordinary, Watercolor class.
However, I’m enthusiastically passing along information on 3D, sculpture, and any other art form that presents itself, as an opportunity for the group to expand their knowledge base.
This month has been busy. Leading excursions to galleries and venues with various art forms: video, sculpture, ceramics.
The last week’s course home project…. was the creation of a 3d sculpture, in yellow.
Yes, I know.
The course title, is Watercolor. Loose and Easy.
Yet, I strongly feel that now is the time for us to try on a new pair of glasses. It’s time.
We need to expand our world.
Our perceptions. Our vision.
What is she gazing down upon?
What is she, thinking and what is she feeling?
By inferring, or hinting at things just outside their view, my objective is to engage the viewer more.
Photographs often, though not always, spell out a subject with exact precision. Recording textures, veins, size, color, width, weight. Documenting location, species and the individual. And some types… of art styles do as well.
Which is great, when that is what is called for. When that is the feeling you are wanting to convey.
A cataloguing of the details.
However, its different with fast, five or ten minute sketches.
Sketches done on the fly, capture the mood and essence of the thing.
Conveying the ‘feeling.’
Rather than struggling to achieve 5 star wonders with ‘complexities.’
I feel, Subjects are more authentic, truer to their essence, when at rest. At ease.
When allowed to be in a natural setting.
In nature. Out in the forest, sitting amongst the rocks and logs. Being at home upon the banks of the river.
These poses, can give the viewer more. Whether its in the form of photography, sketches, drawings, paintings, or other art forms.
This sketch, reflects this.
The limited palette of earthy browns and forest green, simple yet sufficient. Hinting at woodland themes. My subject sat leaned up against the tree logs and branches, head tucked.
Maybe she was the young mother, or older sister, or aunt. Who knows? But she kept an eye on the child in pink. An active one at that.
The hike there, to the bridge was fun. OK a challenge! But obviously, the child in pink still had plenty of go. Her watcher…. not so much. I smiled.
Using this format, and this pose as well “downward gaze” shifts the viewers minds. To make them, ponder a bit.
Take the viewer out of the little box where it is all explained already and nothing has been left unsaid. Take them out the world they are currently in, and help them to imagine the world this subject resides in.
Allude to mysteries and things around the corner.
Hint of magic yet to come.
Contemplations of the River
If a book has been so well explained and summarized, there is nothing new or exciting left to be revealed by looking further in the book, we will not.
So too with our art.
With our paintings, sketches, drawings, photographs. We will look for the exact time that it takes to define the plot.
And then, we move on. Period.
I think, as an artist, I prefer to try to keep the viewer wondering. Just a bit.
Wandering through the scene, through the book… looking for, more.
I do not, want my art to be ‘all spelled out’ and perfectly revealed in every fine detail.
No. I’d like there to be a lovely fusion of lots of soft edges tempered with just the right balance of crisp edges to draw the eye. With warm colors telling you what is front, and cool paler colors speaking of far distant things. Lines that are curved to soften the mood, with diagonal directionals for subtle hints of movements.
I’d like my sketches to be authentic. My art to be original, and real. And me.
I aspire to keep my viewers, wandering through my artwork.
Realising, of course, not all are going to be lovely frame worthy pieces. Thats ok.
I’d much rather you, let your imagination free and loose; than for me to have a frame worthy work every time.
With so much news to share, its been really challenging for me to choose which topic to begin with since my return from summer break.
Summer? Yes, well, it is a wild and wet, brisk, winter here in Perth.
Refreshing, shall we say.
But it is summer, in Seattle.
The summer retreat at my sister’s was an opportunity, I couldn’t waste.
We don’t see each other often. Living across the pond, as we do.
I wanted to spend her birthday with her.
It was a shorter holiday than planned.
But we can infuse lifetimes, into an hour, if needs be, can’t we?
We both made the time count.
Moment by moment. Mindfully.
35 days. To fill a well.
And so we did.
LIFE Is Art. and, Art… is Life.
As an artist, and an instructor, this is a message that is important for me to share.
The two, are one. All of us, seem to be forgetting this. (more on this, in upcoming posts!)
Most of the time, we had a fabulous summer retreat vibe going on, keeping it low key, staying in her lush green gardens.
The lawns and gardens were filled with ponds, flowers and trees.
Oh! and the most delicious raspberries, that I pilfered early each morning. Yum.
Flowers… blooming right beneath my window. Incredible!
My mornings were… oh wait, I’ll take you there!
Before the sun arose, I watched the night fall away sliver by sliver, through my bedroom window.
Until the light came streaming across the dew kissed lawn for a magical few seconds, and leaving me little time to snap a photo.
I think I was more focused on the experience, than the ‘capture’ on those mornings.
yes… more on the Process; less on the Product.
I was mesmerised with the peek through view of looming ranges of the Cascade Mountains, that I could get by standing on my tip toes and looking east.
For me, it seemed to add a touch of morning zen.
Thoughts of, “oh yeah…. I remember now, the way it was in those early summer days in the Pacific Northwest!”
Sometimes in blogs, we get carried away.
Making it seem as if we’re living the life of Riley.
No pun intended.
But, I’m going to admit…. that, “No. Not All, was not sunshine and roses on my summer retreat!”
It never is.
Dilemmas, injuries, interrogations, all the usual suspects and then some, came out to try to cause mayhem.
But the overriding fact is “Love does, leave a memory No one can steal.”
Below a rose.
Lisa’s Rose just outside my bedroom window
Hints of subtle context, perhaps so.
Only the tips of the closest leaves are clearly seen, visible and identifiable.
The rest of the rose is so softly diffused and dissolving.
What mysteries the artist, could…. infer if we were,
to pause and reflect a moment?
Perhaps about the person who gave, or the person viewing, or even as a metaphor for some other and deeper things?
As artists, we dig and delve.
We fill our wells so that we may create with restored vitality, fresh imagination, wild creativity once again.
There is of course more to come about this summer trek, including cobalt teal rivers, rainbow waterfalls, and demon hordes of thirsty mozzies set to drain us within 5 minutes of reaching our destination. Should be entertaining. Cheers.