Lesson 3: Applying Foundation Color with Palette Knives
- Learn about the type of edges and the importance of their placement in the painting.
- Read From Brush to Palette Knife ebook starting at page 30 to page 55. (PDF attached)
- Watch “Painting with Palette Knife to Apply Local Color” Video by Linda Riesenberg Fisler
- Watch “Color Mixing Tips” Video by Linda Riesenberg Fisler
- Listen to Art Chat with Linda Fisler interviewing Carolyn Anderson called “Mastering edges”.
- Listen to Art Chat with Linda Fisler interviewing David Leffel entitled “Abstract Realism”.
Now it is time to put down the brush and pick up the palette knives. Hopefully as you created your value study you have thought about color choices, edges, shadow and light, where you want texture. These are wonderful decisions and require much planning. At this point we turn our attention to applying the foundation or local colors. These will be large areas of simple color used to start building the painting.
On your palette and using your value comp, mix up shadow and light colors that correspond with your values you have in your value study. If you are mixing up a shadow color that color should be cool in temperature and match the value in the area that you are going to apply it. So if my shadow area has a value of 7 and I’m mixing a blue purple for that shadow area, that blue purple should be a value of 7. Keep in mind all atmospheric effects as well, meaning that colors can be grayed down or high chroma depending on where it is in the painting and how light affects it. All rules that apply to brush painting are valid and apply in palette knife painting as well. Check the value of the colors you are mixing to the value of the painting where you are going to place it by holding the mixing palette knife up in the area of the corresponding value on the canvas. Use your value comp to verify that the value is correct. Remember the Color Mixing Tips video.
When you have your colors mixed, use the painting knifes to lay down the foundation colors as shown in the Painting with Palette Knife to Apply Local Color video. Determine where you may want texture and where you want smooth passages. For the most part, the foundation colors will be smooth. Notice how the different knives work and like brush painting, each knife creates a different effect. Make sure there are no eye catching lines within the smooth passages. These lines create edges that force the eyes to stop and start. It creates a gloppy hard edged area, which is undesirable and hard on the eye. It may require a number of passages to attain the smooth passage, but it is worth the time.Remember the viewer doesn’t care how it was created whether that be with brush or knife is not important to the collector/viewer, they want to experience the painting. Paint application is not too thick but not too thin, either. Don’t be afraid to scrape off color and reapply it or to blend an edge with your knife as shown in the video.
When you have finished applying the foundation colors, take a picture of the painting to share with the instructor. Also share any comments or observations. You may want to convert the color painting to black and white to check your values and to determine if you see any lines or edges that are undesirable. You may choose to share both the color and black and white with the instructor for feedback. Email the photos to Linda at email@example.com.