Lately, I have abandoned my expensive oil paintbrushes for painting with a putty knife and other inexpensive painting tools.
This all started last month when I began taking some ‘abstract’ painting classes with fellow artist, David deVillier. My goal has been to add to my own artistic repertoire in order to more texture to my paintings – and the putty knife sure does the trick!
Last week, I posted an image of my recent ‘putty knife’ painting on my Fine Art Tips Facebook Fan Page and received quite a few questions and comments, so I thought I would share the process here with you.
A ‘putty knife’ is a utility knife, sometimes called a drywall scraper, or spatula. Fine artists can use these knives as giant palette knives to create wonderful texture, depth and interest to their oil or acrylic paintings. I really enjoy the freedom these knives allow me.
I have also been using really inexpensive household paintbrushes made out of hog-hair bristle. These all cost somewhere between .99¢ and $3.00 US dollars. With a brush in my left hand and a putty knife in my right, I can easily push and pull the paint around the canvas!
1. This painting first started out as an abstract oceanscape and evolved into a pastoral landscape painting!
2. After two days of work I was still unhappy with the oceanscape, so one late night I hastily covered it up at the end of a painting session. I decided to use this ‘new’ canvas as an under-painting for a landscape painting. You can see the image is on my computer monitor to my left as well as a printed version above.
(I took this reference photo last year while on my way to Yellowstone National Park and I been looking forward to painting this scene. The new underpainting was just perfect for the palette of this subject.)
3. After blocking in the shapes with the putty knife and utility paintbrushes, I flipped the canvas upside down to help me to better see the shapes.
4. At this point, I blocked in the cows and and refined the highlights and shadows…
5. Finally, I pulled out a few good brushes to finish up the important details. I also decided the painting was stronger with just one cow! Below is the finished painting entitled, “Vanishing Idaho” (not ‘vanishing cow’…lol).
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