Friday, February 10, 2012


Most collectors familiar with my work know me for my brush paintings, but I also paint frequently with the palette knife, which provides a very different visual experience. This 6x8 inch coastal painting was done with a combination of brushes and the knife together.

Artists often feel they should limit themselves to just brushes or the knife in order to maintain a consistency of style. Many of the great masters disagree, and so do I.

Richard Schmid is an excellent example. Richard Schmid is one of the most accomplished masters of our time, known best for his masterful use of the brush in both figure painting and landscapes. Interestingly he also endorses and uses the palette knife in his work.

In his book “Richard Schmid Paints The Figure” (published in 1973) he mentions being inspired by one of his heroes, Nicholai Fechin as a master of the knife as well as brushes in his work.

In another of his books “Richard Schmid Paints Landscapes” (published in 1975), Richard admonishes artists to learn to use the knife. He suggests locking away your brushes for a time and painting only with the knife to master this “amazingly versatile instrument.”

More than two decades later in his classic book “Alla Prima – Everything I Know About Painting, by Richard Schmid” he again devotes time to knife painting and describes situations when the knife is the best tool. An example shown in this book is “Cascade Barn” which was painted exclusively with the knife.

Emille Gruppe, another artist whose work I admire, describes how one of his teachers the great Charles Hawthorne forced students to spend time learning how to use the knife exclusively in order to broaden their skills.

I enjoy using both tools. I often use the knife to complete portions of paintings that are primarily done with brushes. And I also create many paintings using only the knife, which creates a very different visual experience than paintings done with brushes.

I hope this brief discussion was of interest. If you would like to comment, please email me here:

Thanks for stopping to look. If you would like to own this painting click here to bid:

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