Art Unboxed

Art Unboxed Knife And Brush

Recently, while trying out some heavy gel medium with my acrylic paints, I was able to revisit one of my favorite tools of painting, the palette knife. While I don’t paint in his style, years ago my wife bought me a Bob Ross palette knife, and it’s my favorite to this day. I’m a big fan of him, and watched him just this week, but separate, I just love that palette knife.

Abstract art is far from my comfort zone, but I really enjoyed the process. Most of all, I liked using this very thick paint with my palette knife. I normally use the palette knife in tandem with the brush on acrylics anyway, but it was fun for it to be my primary tool for a couple of paintings.

It reminded me of a painting I did for my niece and nephews a couple of years ago, using the palette knife to add layers of gray to an elephant’s skin. Then using the brush for the finer details. Many artists gravitate towards either using one or the other primarily in all their paintings. However, I like going back and forth.

Some paintings calling more for the brush, others for the knife. It reminds me that builders and mechanics don’t seem to fixate on the tool they use, but the project. As an artist I love dabbling with the tools, but I also love the variety.

From my number twelve round brush for watercolors, to my fountain pen for sketching, I have fun with them all. I love the unique look of my mechanical pencil, and my acrylic brushes. While the palette knife stands out in my mind, probably because of Bob Ross, I love that it’s a part of my artist toolbox, and not the primary tool.

Do you have an art tool that you haven’t unboxed in a few years? Maybe like me you have a set of pastels that you don’t get too much, but they’re on my list to revisit soon. Beyond the fun of making art, it’s the ability to make something for people you care about that intrigues me.

Like the people we make it for, our tools are diverse, with unique potential. Taking the time to revisit the potential of what we use to make art, may inspire us to make something special for someone we love. Perhaps it’s been a while since you made something as a gift for someone.

Last night my three year old requested a swan. I went through three drawings to get it right, and by then he was off to another interest. Yet like the knife and brush in the acrylics recently, I had so much fun making the swan, because they were for someone I love.

How does that connect with the knife and the brush, in this way. It was a loved one who suggested I try the thick form of painting, and I’m so glad that I did. It reminded me of how much I enjoy trying something slightly different with a tool I’ve used for years.

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