Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Brush or knife?

 Deeper Water
8" x 10"  acrylic on panel

I made a transition to palette knife a few years ago and haven't really used a brush much at all since then, aside from sketches in watercolour.  I had some acrylics out for a value exercise in a class over the weekend and thought it might be fun to further test my brush skills.

Any tool that is used to transport paint to a surface has similarities.  The difference is more in the way you put paint on the support than the vehicle for getting it there.  Palette knives provide texture and cover canvas more quickly but brushes can have a similar effect depending on how thickly paint is applied. The process of building any painting is the same, starting with large shapes, blocking in colour and working down to detail.
I use the same technique with this brush work as with all paintings, with little blending, and colour placed one stroke at a time on the surface and keeping the edges soft.

 I don't enjoy using acrylics for palette knife work, even with a thickening agent.  For me, they don't have the same buttery feel that oils contain.  Of course either can be used, but acrylics are more challenging to use with a knife, especially on a larger support, because of their quick drying tendency - both a good and bad thing.

So will I return to brushes?   Unlikely.  I like the texture of painting with a knife and the loose impressionist quality I can get.   I think brushes will remain for some demonstrations and for adding colour to sketches.