putty-knife.jpgLately, I have abandoned my expensive oil paintbrushes for painting with a putty knife and other inexpensive painting tools.

This all started last month when I began taking some ‘abstract’ painting classes with fellow artist, David deVillier.  My goal has been to add to my own artistic repertoire in order to more texture to my paintings – and the putty knife sure does the trick!
Last week, I posted an image of my recent ‘putty knife’ painting on my Fine Art Tips Facebook Fan Page  and received quite a few questions and comments, so I thought I would share the process here with you.
A ‘putty knife’ is a utility knife, sometimes called a drywall scraper, or spatula. Fine artists can use these knives as giant palette knives to create wonderful texture, depth and interest to their oil or acrylic paintings. I really enjoy the freedom these knives allow me.


I have also been using really inexpensive household paintbrushes made out of hog-hair bristle. These all cost somewhere between .99¢ and $3.00 US dollars. With a brush in my left hand and a putty knife in my right, I can easily push and pull the paint around the canvas!
1. This painting first started out as an abstract oceanscape and evolved into a pastoral landscape painting!
2. After two days of work I was still unhappy with the oceanscape, so one late night I hastily covered it up at the end of a painting session.  I decided to use this ‘new’ canvas as an under-painting for a landscape painting. You can see the image is on my computer monitor to my left as well as a printed version above.


(I took this reference photo last year while on my way to Yellowstone National Park and I been looking forward to painting this scene. The new underpainting was just perfect for the palette of this subject.)

3. After blocking in the shapes with the putty knife and utility paintbrushes, I flipped the canvas upside down to help me to better see the shapes. 


 4. At this point, I blocked in the cows and and refined the highlights and shadows…


(Barn detail)


(Bush highlights)


5. Finally, I pulled out a few good brushes to finish up the important details. I also decided the painting was stronger with just one cow! Below is the finished painting entitled, “Vanishing Idaho” (not ‘vanishing cow’…lol). 

“Vanishing Idaho” ©2011 Lori McNee 24×36 oil

 To view more of my paintings, please visit https://LoriMcNee.com  or join me on Twitter and Facebook
Here are a few other articles you might enjoy: 
If Things aren’t Going Right, Try the Left!
Why Paint Abstract Art?
Creating an Earth-Friendly & Healthy Art Studio
Artistic Temperament: What to Do When it Strikes!
Top Paint Brush Tips from the Art Pros on Facebook
How to Choose the Right Paint Brush for the Art Technique
Water Soluble Oils: Facts, Tips & Why I Use Them
A Study in Complimentary Colors using Yin Yang
Palette Tips: How to Organize Your Paints

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