Brush vs. Knife

Hurrah! I’ve been painting today which is a real win considering how little I’ve done recently (we have to take the victories, no matter how small, where we find them!).

It’s funny how much my mood affects the work I do. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, lately I’ve been experimenting and enjoying the soak-stain method whereby I flip my primed canvas material over and paint the back (unprimed side) using watered down acrylics and large brushes.

Today, I started off by re-visiting an unfinished soak-stain painting. It was going well; I’ve just bought a beautiful new colour — Cobalt Teal by Liquitex — which I’m in love with (and now want to use everywhere) and have applied to the canvas in large sweeps.

However, it soon got to the point where I was no longer feeling this style of painting. I was in the mood for something bolder, chunkier, more alive, and whenever I feel like this the palette knife is my go-to utensil.

I just can’t get the same kind of texture and movement using brushes and there’s something so fun and spontaneous and free about slathering on layers of rich, buttery paint.

I feel like I’ve come full-circle painting like this again. I started painting for the first time in years last October using palette knives and off-cuts of recycling (!) to smear paint across the surface of the canvas and it seems, no matter how much I want to paint using pretty pastels and soft colour washes, I just can’t seem to stay away from this bolder style.

I feel like I just don’t know how to paint with brushes. Something just doesn’t click when I use them and, more often than not, I end up finding the process frustrating and the result, unsatisfactory.

I guess, once again, this is a case of my head wanting me to do one thing, but my heart wanting another. If bold is where I’m supposed to go, all I can do is carry on using my palette knives on this latest piece and see where it takes me!

L x


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