A Corner of my Garden

A Corner of my Garden

I am not aware of any rules, but then I just try things out! I really like effect and colours. It looks lovely and sunny, unlike where I am!

Wow, Fiona, if this is your first attempt, it is super! I am really jealous about the "corner" of your garden!!!!! I wish I had a garden like this..... (I have one but very flat and rather small). You don't have to learn something from you-tube: this is very, very impressive!!!!!

Well now - there are no rules for painting knives, but you really do need to choose the right painting knives: a painting knife is NOT a palette knife: it has a delicate, thin blade, is flexible, and permits delicate strokes. A palette knife is a clumsy and crude implement by comparison - and it will produce clumsy and crude results. So first of all - what are you using? You will NEVER be able to produce sensitive and responsive strokes with a palette knife. So, as they say in GCSE maths, show your workings: what are you using? Actually, I have no problem at all with your painting = acrylic can work somewhat less freely with the painting knife than oil, and of its kind there's nothing wrong with this painting - other than it needs a bit more tonal and colour contrast, if I may say so (of course I can, tee hee, who's going to stop me?): sorry about that...... Ignore that - I've had me dinner and a nice glass of wine .... But - A) you'll find oil so much easier to work with when using a painting knife; B) make sure you're using a PAINTING and not a palette knife, they are SO different; C) remember that the knife should help you to indicate those contrasts between light and dark, and not blur them: if you get a greyish tone, you need to scrape the paint right off, leave it for a day, and go in again. Lastly - there's nothing wrong with this painting! If I wanted to improve it, I might add a glaze of warmer colour in places, say a mix or burnt and raw sienna; I might have lifted some sharp touches out of the rocks to indicate grasses and twigs; but I'd probably use a brush to do that - and if you wanted to produce a painting in knife work with no fiddly bits, I think you've succeeded. Just one thing - given this IS an acrylic, I think I might have let the whole thing dry hard before putting in those magenta flowers, so they stood out against the grey rock.

Thank you Gudrun, Mia for your positive feedback. I found it very refreshing to try something different. It's a really good way to loosen up, I'm sure you couldn't get a straight, positive mark if you tried for a week!! The fence posts where a nightmare.Lol!

Many thanks Robert for taking the time to put me right on one or two points re the tools of the trade. They are painting knives not palette knives. I will certainly try them out with oils in the future, didn't want to waste them on a first go. May be I should have chosen an easier subject to begin with, rather than one with such a large solid mass.

This is a lovely painting Fiona. Like you, I recently tried my hand with a palette knife,and also didn't really know how to paint with it, so I just had fun! The result was very textured compared to all my previous work, but my husband liked it vey much - praise indeed! I found the hardest bit was covering the canvas! I used an rough acrylic under-painting (applied with a brush) and then used water based oils on top which worked quite well. Hope you enjoy your next attempt too.

I son't use acrylic or oils so am in no position to offer advice - but I can offer an opinion and I must say this is a superb effort in all respects- a lovely piece.

I like this very much, Fiona, and it is good to know that you enjoyed doing it. I feel quite guilty in saying that I would give advice but haven't done so. The problem is that I do not feel qualified to give advice, so, instead I will simply say what I do. But first, to reduce costs, try practising and experimenting on cardboard or similar primed with white acrylic. I think I am using the "wrong" knife but it suits me and the control I want. Next, do not mix paints on the palette so thoroughly that they are suitable for redecorating the kitchen wall. Just partially mix them and see what happens on the canvas as you apply the paint. Don't be afraid to add more colour and mix them on the canvas. I rarely use the entire flat blade of the knife on the canvas. You are not plastering the kitchen wall either! The exception is when painting the sky when a flat blade can give some interesting effects on top of the dried or drying under-painting. As mentioned by Julie above, the under-painting is important and can be applied with a brush if you wish. I prefer using the knife which gives a more textured finish. When painting over the top, use a very, very light touch with the knife so that the paint "breaks" and the under-painting shows through. Finally, a straight line can be achieved by using the very edge of the knife, but it takes practice in getting the right amount of paint on the edge. Start by holding the knife with the flat blade at right angles to the canvas and gently touching the length of the edge on to the canvas. Next, try it again but this time slide the knife gently along it's length. That's how I showed the rain on my "Rainy Night" picture. Tilting the blade away from the right angle, (toward the paint side), will give a thicker line. It doesn't matter if the line breaks. It looks more interesting and the eye fills in the missing bits. So there you have it! I hope it helps.

Not an expert myself but I would be very pleased with this painting Fiona - A lovely painting.

Thank you Julie, Michael, Glennis. Julie I saw your poppy painting and loved it. Painting flowers with a knife can add all sorts of textures and depth, I might try a flower painting for my next outing with a knife.

What a versatile lady you are Fiona. Sorry I've missed so many of your paintings recently through one thing and another but the fact that you enjoyed doing this shines out of the painting and I'm so glad I didn'r miss it.

Lionel, thanks very much for your description of how you plan and execute your own paintings with the knife. With this having so much rock in it I did the under painting a blue-ish grey with a brush, and didn't cover all the under painting as I applied the paint. Towards the end of the painting when adding the darker green's for the foliage I mixed yellow ochre and Ultra marine and, as you suggested, didn't mix the paint properly and found that it gave a more interesting result. I did the same when applying the higlights to the rocks. Geting a straigh line is goningto take a lot of practise....I think. I have to say, that the photo isn't very good, the colours and depth are much deeper in the flesh. The foxgloves stand out better too. Thanks again Lionel, I appreciate you taking the time to explain yor methods.

Hi Val, thanks very much....I did enjoy it actually, more so because I didn't have the faintest idea what I was doing!! Hope your show went well, I'm looking forward to seeing the results of your visit to the Highlands.

I like this very much Fiona. You have mastered the knife very well!

Really good, Fiona. I love painting with knives but it does use a lot of paint, doesn't it! Lovely free approach gives the painting a good atmosphere

Thank you ladies, greatly appreciated. Yes it does use a lot of paint Pat, that's why I chose Acrylics, I've got plenty of them and they need using up.

Such interesting comments! Fiona, I'm so glad that you gave the knife a go and the result is very good indeed. I'm using a palette knife ( a stiff one!) and I like it more than the the other type. It's all about personal taste and what you feel confortable with. It's also easier to paint on hard surface because then you can scrape the paint as much as you like. I do put a primer first to seal the board. It's also good to remember to change the direction of the strokes now and then to avoid the monotony. I wish you more happy painting with knives and hope to see them soon. Satu

Thank you very much for sharing your painting style Satu, all advise and tips are most gratefully received. I love your knife paintings and if I manage to reach half your standards I will be very pleased.

Just another thought - I don't think I mentioned it in yesterday's screed: look up the work of the late R O Dunlop, RA, who came to depend very heavily on the painting knife and produced some fantastic results with it, capturing the clear colour that you can apply thickly - he used oil, acrylic not really being available then, and caught some jewel-like effects. These seem to me to be the real justification for painting knives: absolute clarity of colour, decisively applied and not laboured over. Do try oil with a knife - it's as much fun as I can have these days while keeping my clothes on.....

I love this painting - great colour scheme.

Well Robert......if it's that much fun I'm off to try it out!! Thank you also for the name I'll google him and have a look.

Thank you very much Linda, glad you like it.

Sometimes a painting just works - in this one I think it is the combination of a really good composition, excellent colours choices and skill in the execution. With that lot you can't really go wrong! Super work, Fiona.

Thank you very much Thea, I'm looking for my next subject.....something simple.

The best part about palette knives is that you can do anything you like! I think you more than excelled in your first piece, Fiona - the grass is very well done indeed and you blended the colors beautifully, without creating mud. Super!

Hang on Studio Wall

This wasn't as easy as I thought it was going to be! My first attempt using palette knives. Only used two ( that's all I have) and a cocktail stick for scratching out. The scene is a corner of my garden where nature is left to her own devises, a small wildlife pond, lots of wild flowers...mainly foxgloves at the moment, and lots of rocks! A small pathway leads up on top of the rock where I can see 'split rock' and the sea, nice pace to sit with a G&T. I don't know what the correct procedure is regarding painting with knives, if there is one, I applied it as if I were buttering my toast. Maybe I ought to look on u-tube for a demo. Your thoughts would be very welcome. 12" x 16" board.

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Fiona Phipps

Galloway, Scotland.

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