Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Palette Knife is not my friend

Tonight at painting class we were introduced to painting with a palette knife. I was eager to try this as I'd never been taught this method.

True to form, the commute home was delayed, which meant I rushed into class twenty minutes late, lugging my painting toolbox and palette pad, with an apple core hanging out of my mouth.

We'd been encouraged to bring our own objects to paint, so on the way out the door I'd grabbed a bumpy gourd, a Turkish eggplant, and a Crate and Barrel cloth napkin.

A half-hour into the exercise, I declared defeat and a hatred of the palette knife.

"It's like performing delicate surgery with a monkey wrench."

After working and working and working my bumpy gourd, I finally scraped off the half-inch of paint, grabbed a red apple from the pile, and started over. It was time for some serious triage.

Time to bring out the alizarin crimson.

There is a theory that you can do better work when you just let go, so I did. I glopped, I scraped, and when I couldn't get any definition with the paint, I scraped an apple outline with the end of the knife. Then I slapped on a tablecloth, a horizon line, and a background. I made most of it up. It was better than the gourd, but I wasn't loving the result. I finished before everyone else and sat on the platform to wait for the group critique we have at the end of each class. It was fun. We had JACK FM on and sang to old heavy metal.

The girl next to me did an amazing piece from a landscape photograph - her style is similar to Van Gogh's, and I love the movement she gets into her pieces. The palette knife was made for her.

My instructor kept telling me that my painting was actually very nice and when I came back to it next week I'd see that it was much better than I thought.

"Then it's yours, Buckeroo," I said. When it dries, take it on home."

Oh, and I learned how to knit today. That worked better.

No comments: