Good things are better when they're shared. My dear friend Natalie and I share a love and talent for art and have spent many afternoons together chatting and painting (more chatting than painting usually). I started this painting during one of our afternoons a number of years ago and ambitiously decided that palette knives were the only applicator that could do justice to such a lively image. Understandably the painting was abandoned the moment I started work on the facial features; the intricacies of which don’t lend themselves well to liberally, ladled oil paint. Frustrations aside, the colours and textures were entertaining at least and my friend remarked that the final product would like nice in a child’s bedroom. Jokingly I offered the painting to her in the event that she should ever welcome a baby into her life one day. Fast forward 2 years and I was face-to-face again (quite literally) with the little girl in the funny hat in anticipation of the birth of my friend’s little son.
I was still determined to create her facial features using palette knives and tried several strategies to achieve the final look. These were….
1. Use the longest, thinnest pallet knives for fine detail
2. Clean your knife between applications of paint. Small detail is very unforgiving towards mixed colours unlike large surface areas.
3. Lay the painting down on a flat surface to help angle your hand better.
4. If using oils, allow each layer to dry to avoid mixing or smudging colours
5. Use a small paint brush for very fine detail to finish the piece.
6. If the paint is getting too thick and risks peeling off, thin out some oil paint into a wash and with a broad paint brush paint in highlights and lowlights. This will give the painting depth without adding additional thick layers.
This final piece was finished a month before his due date and is now part of a mini art gallery his mum has created in his room. Welcome little Theodore, our newest artist in residence!