Guest Artist :: Ignat Ignatov • Palette Knife Workshop
Over the years, I have had the pleasure of observing palette knife painting demonstrations by local professionals at CAL (California Art League) meetings. However, my personal experience with the palette knife to date, is slim to nil.
With so many of my students ready to study Palette Knife painting, I had to get my chops up fast. Thinking quickly, I reached out to guest artist, Ignat Ignatov. He had already provided two successful sold-out workshops at my studio this year, the Eye Painting Demo + Workshop and the Portrait Demo + Workshop. I candidly revealed my dilemma to Ignat, inquiring if he would consider hosting a Demo + Workshop exclusively for Palette Knife painting for oils and acrylics. Thankfully, he enthusiastically agreed!
The workshop was held at Pastimes for a Lifetime on Monday, October 24, 2016 from 10am – 2pm. Attendance was fully booked with a waiting list this time.
Ignat began his demo with a review of relevant basics. Palette was discussed first.
For palette knife painting, Ignat prefers an extended limited palette. According to Ignat, “Extreme colors can be mixed to mute them down. Paintings should be a combination of saturated and muted color…..greys serve to harmonize the piece.” On his palette for today’s demo was Ultramarine Blue,Thalo Green, Alizatin Crimson, Cadmium Red, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Yellow and Titanium White. He recommends having more paint than you think you need. “No waste. Just use it tomorrow.”
As for palette knives, Ignat uses one with a sharp or pointed tip, and one with a rounded tip. The size of the canvas determines the size of his palette knife.
Before he began his painting demo, we were reminded of the importance of establishing a focal point for the composition.
I was relieved to learn that Ignat recommends starting with a brush and finishing with the palette knife. He follows this regimen:
1. Lay down thin base coats with a brush.
2. Sketch in the subject along with the color and tone blocks with a brush. Tip: keep the underpainting thin – leave room to build thicker layers later.
3. Then use the palette knife to build up the paint with rubbing and stamping maneuvers. Details can then be scratched in.
4. Use a fan brush to soften edges. Blending the edges of the subject keeps it from looking like it was cut out.
On the palette, Ignat mixes paint with the flat side of the knife. Paint is then scooped to the left side of the knife and applied to the canvas accordingly.
He vigilantly cleans his palette knife and palette to prevent color contamination.
He wrapped up the demo by adding his finishing touches.
After a short break, guests set up their work spaces and began wielding their palette knives. Ignat graciously made time for individual instruction.
Everyone had a wonderful time. I asked Ignat if he would consider hosting another palette knife workshop. He confirmed, after upcoming commissions and travels are done. Stay tuned!
Photographs courtesy of Jessica Lee Sanders and Gina Murphy.
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