Guest Artist :: Ignat Ignatov • Palette Knife Workshop

October 28, 2016 Art, Blog, Guest Spot 6 Comments

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.

Ignatov Demo

Ignat began his demo with a review of relevant basics. Palette was discussed first.

Ignat Ignatov Palette Knife Demo

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.

Ignat Ignatov Focal Point

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.

Ignat Ignatov Sketch DemoIgnat Ignatov Brush BlockingIgnat Ignatov background blockin with the brush

3. Then use the palette knife to build up the paint with rubbing and stamping maneuvers. Details can then be scratched in.

Ignat Ignatov begins with the palette knifeIgnat Ignatov palette knife

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.

Ignat Ignatov Palette KnifeIvnat Ignatov palette knife

He vigilantly cleans his palette knife and palette to prevent color contamination.

Ignat Ignatov's PaletteIgnat Ignatov cleans his palette

He wrapped up the demo by adding his finishing touches.

Ignat Ignatov palette knifeIgnat Ignatov Palette Knife

After a short break, guests set up their work spaces and began wielding their palette knives. Ignat graciously made time for individual instruction.

Ignat Ignatov guestIgnat Ignatov palette knife instruction

Jessica Lee SandersGina Murphy at Ignatov WorkshopEllen Wilheim Ignatov workshopGuest at Ignatov workshop

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!

To learn more about Ignat Ignatov, visit his website and Facebook page.

Photographs courtesy of Jessica Lee Sanders and Gina Murphy.

Did you enjoy this article? If so, please feel free to share it with others.
Were you inspired? Please share your inspiration in the comment section below. Thank you!

For more on Pastimes for a Lifetime and founder/instructor Linda Wehrli, visit the website or Facebook page.
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About the author

Linda Wehrli: Founder and instructor at Pastimes for a Lifetime, Inc.


6 Comments

  1. Barry Wehrli

    October 28, 2016 Reply

    Great to see your students learning from and interacting with such professionals!

    • Linda Wehrli

      October 28, 2016 Reply

      Indeed. It was an honor. Thanks!

  2. Frank M Pelteson

    October 29, 2016 Reply

    As always, Ignat's artistry is satisfying to watch and shows a high degree of professionalism and aesthetics.

    • Linda Wehrli

      October 29, 2016 Reply

      Thank you. I agree.

  3. Keene Wilson

    November 22, 2016 Reply

    Great workshop. I've also posted my notes at: http://keenewilson.com/page/10178/palette-knife-painting

    • Linda Wehrli

      November 22, 2016 Reply

      So glad you enjoyed. Thanks for posting your notes! That was very thoughtful of you.


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