A palette knife palm tree

Spring is approaching, so what could be better than the attempt of painting a warm and windy palm tree?

I’ve been trying to paint palm trees earlier, but just couldn’t find a good technique to get the leaves right.

In this attempt, I wanted to see if using a palette knife could make the result look any better. I therefore painted a green, and maybe kind of misty, background using a blend of sap green, titanium white and some sky blue. Basically putting it on using my fingers with a horizontal movement.

To make the stem of the tree, I mixed together three different blends of raw umber, titanium white and yellow ochre, putting them on layer by layer with a small palette knife to try and give it some lifelike lighting.

I then used the knife to put in some coconuts on the top of the stem, which you may see in a small section between the leaves if you look closely, darkening the stem mix with some more raw umber.

To make the leaves themselves, I started by painted in some strokes with a small brush to establish which direction the different leaves where headed.

I then made different blends of sap green, cadmium yellow and titanium white and just kind of twisted the paint onto the canvas with a swirling motion. Like making a U-turn away from the baseline.

After putting in the dark blend I went on to the lighter ones, and hopefully where able to make some sort of lifelike tree.

This is how it looked:


In the garden

I’ve never really got the hang of using palette knifes alone to finish up a painting. I’ve done some snowy mountains, or minor details in paintings in addition to using brushes, but the use has always been limited. Nonetheless, I decided that today would be a nice day to make an attempt at a wholly based palette knife painting.

I’ve seen some really cool paintings online with different garden motives, painting in barky trees, different colors of grass and maybe some people in the center.

I decided I wanted to make something in that manner, and basically started out with a loose plan to work out something similar.

I started by picking out a small palette knife, which i basically used 90 percent of the time painting this painting.

All the enquipment used to paint.

First I smeared on some different blends of sap green and titanium white to make out a bushy background.

I then used mixes of titanium white, cadmium yellow, pyrrole red and yellow ochre for different colors to add to the grass.

Here I simply filled the knife with a paint blend, and kind of dragged it downward onto the canvas. Making one area of color before moving on to the next.

I also wanted to add a big tree to the scenery. For that purpose, I used an elongated knife. Filling one edge of it with some different mixes of raw umber, ivory black, titanium white and yellow ochre, and dragged it sideways onto the canvas with some short movements.

Well, that was my loosely based plan fulfilled, but there was clearly something missing on the canvas. I therefore decided to add some people into the mix, placing them somewhere in the grass. I went with the motive of a mother and daughter.

I started with the dresses, using some red pyrrole and titanium white for the grown up, and some ycadmium yellow and titanium white for the kid. Again, kind of smearing on the paint with a small knife.

For the skin color I used titanium white, with a small amount of yellow ochre and some raw umber, finishing them up with some clean raw umber to make out the hair.

You may notice that none of them has a face.. That’s because I struggled terribly with putting them on, and basically just let it stand clean after an hour of fruitless labour. So, to sum up, the people could have looked better, but I’m satisfied with the tree and the grass is not to shabby either.

This is how it looked: