oil with palette knife

palette knife study; oil on linen; 13" x 8"

Here's what's on my easel today: a little palette knife study of my grandson playing with blocks while backlit by a low-North-facing window. 

I didn't plan to use only a palette knife.  This painting simply evolved in a way that brushes were never considered.  The composition has a lot of sharp contrasts and a dichotomy of cools and warms.  The knife was an excellent tool to keep clear boundaries between those two effects. 

The photo reference I took was displayed on my monitor while I painted at the easel.  In the painting, I moved the blocks around to create the movement and tension you see above.  I also simplified the background quite a bit and again, because of the knife, the features and digits are more suggested than rendered.

I'm very happy with how this little study turned out.  I'll have to think about whether it's something I'd like to do larger.  I just read an excellent post considering that question.  It's by Keith Bond and lists the pros and cons of large studio paintings and smaller plein airs.  I know my little study above isn't a plein air but I think the points will apply similarly to the situation here.

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