Recently, I visited Keswick on an oil painting course, using a palette knife only, en plein air. October can be beautiful, a sort of Indian Summer, but this October wasn’t so. In fact it was very cold and somewhat rainy. This was a transferred holiday from April this year (which was balmy) – a very strange year.
Behold my first effort. Bearing in mind that my clothing (inexperience shows) wasn’t adequate, and that rain passed by intermittently, and the thin wind blew straight at us across the lake, I didn’t do too badly. It’s not what was in front of me, and the tonal variation of the trees is poor, but it looks like a rainy mountain.
The new thing was doing landscape using a palette knife only. I have painted townscapes in the studio using a palette knife, and one landscape impression used as a background for flowers, always with a brush handy for final details if necessary. Manipulating the knife to say what I wanted involved some contortions at first. For instance, this view was relatively friendly to a left-hander, not a problem I had to address using a brush. The descending hillside met the lake where a left-hander could create the acute angle comfortably. Increasingly during the course there were “right-handed” views.
The other interesting “thing” was mixing the right colour and, more important, the right tone, proved surprisingly difficult. This was partly because the chasing clouds changed the tone by the minute, and partly because the general light outside is different. Mixes I confidently used in the studio, were near-misses in the open air.