Palette Knife

GWB Eastbound, acrylic on canvas, 48x36 in.

It has been awhile since I have posted, this has been an incredibly busy fall with both my exhibit and teaching schedules. I am currently working on several large paintings of NYC bridges. The first that I have completed is above, an acrylic painting of the GWB using a great deal of palette knife work and other alternative means of applying paint to canvas.

I began this piece with a light red ochre background, on top of which I created my under painting in Prussian blue acrylic. I used a 4″ sponge brush to block in the underpainting. The bridge cables were created by using the sponge on its side and soaking with water so that it created vertical drips. The cars and truck are just broad horizontal strokes (cars and trucks are really just boxes on wheels). I always focus on the gesture of the composition in the underpainting, this creates the strong sense of perspective drawing you in towards the tower of the bridge.

On top of the underpainting, I mapped in the sky in color with a palette knife using Chroma Atelier Interactive acrylics and their Impasto Gel medium, which creates a very buttery texture to the acrylics, not quite oil like, but close.

I chose to let parts of the underpainting show through on this and purposely kep some areas very abstract. To make this work, I started with a structured drawing in the underpainting, and then decided how much or how little in each area I wanted to retain. In some places, there is a lot of detail in color, in others, there is just the ghost of the image loosely mapped in via the wash drawing of the underpainting.

I find working this way allows me to get the right amount of energy and spontaneity that is so important to making a painting come to life.


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