Monday, January 7, 2013


An Acquired Skill


We have all heard of and seen artwork done with a painting knife. Some good, some really bad! And some spectacular. 


Now to be honest, I was not really that fond of painting with a knife. I had seen and tried it in the past. I watched the TV shows, seen the funny knife, and the standard pallet knife. Frankly, I was not that impressed.


I basically knew the steps, but had never taken the time to acquire proficiency on with it. Like all artists, I had my favorite pencils and brushes. I liked my inch wide Grumbacker brushes and felt content. Now, this was before I started to teach. I also had the big old brushes espoused by the big brush school, and was pretty good with them.


But back to knives. I had the usual assortment of painting knives. Just did not do a lot with them.
Fire Falls
S. Tschantz
Knife Painting


A student taught me what could be done with a painting knife.


Monet With Force!


We were working on a copy of Monet’s water lilies.( I am a firm believer in learning to paint by copying the masters.) And she loved Monet. So we were working and she was struggling. I could not understand it because is was really a good student and quite dexterous.  But she could not do the water lilies to please. In desperation I gave her one of my painting knives to work with. A long thin bladed knife.


Water Lily
S. Tschantz
 painting done with Knife
To make a long story short, she made that knife sing! I was floored. I have a hard time with such fine detail with a fine brush! With the rest of my supply (I had acquired a number of them by then) the painting was spectacular.  She went well beyond Monet’s painting to a work of art herself.


Turns out she was a retired surgeon, putting a knife in her hand was second nature to her. With a supply of painting knives, she went on to complete a number of fine works.


This student taught me more than I taught her.



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