Sharing my tool

I'm all about sharing the info. If I discover something cool, if not new and exciting, I put it out there. In my quest to change up how I approach a painting and how to break some of my stale patterns I've discovered a few things. I've already mentioned the ooops paint thing (see recent blog posts for ooops info) and a little about the tools we work with (like the brush extender) because I've always had this notion that if I were given a weird set of tools to work with and some random colors and paints, I could still make a painting and maybe learn something in the process. I'm going to design a few classes to be just this sort of an approach to painting.

And here's my new favorite tool, I've knick-named it Dale Ernhardt Jr. Not sure why, it's just sorta funny to me. It's called a knockdown knife and it's traditionally used in ceiling repair to "knock down" textured ceilings while wet. It's like a palette knife with a soft foam edge. So, I was looking at Dale and thinking that maybe I can use him for another purpose and on a warm, sunny day in December, off Dale and I went to the studio.

As it turns out Dale is really great at pulling thin layers of paint mixed with a medium over dried paint, breaking edges, softening strokes and dropping in straight color notes like for a mast or a what-not jig. You can use it to drag, lay-in or scrape.

For example, this water passage was laid in with a large bristle brush made from giant sloth hair, but I felt it was not a harmonious texture with the rest of the water so I let Dale take a quick swipe at it and Voila! soft-focus. I like the detail shot... it's almost a painting by itself. You see how this works? One experiment can lead you down a whole 'nuther path.

Here's the painting. A 30x30 oil over latex that I started on site and finished in the studio. The before, middle and finished pics will be seen in the next issue of Plein Air magazine, so I won't show them till the mag is out. I'm bringing Dale and my Ooops paint method to the Plein Air Conference to demo on the big stage in case you are around. Well boys and girls, that's my tool of the week. Time to go back to work.


Oh and Dale says merry christmas.




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