Palette knife autumnThis painting (Autumn Walk, 10”x10”, acrylic) was an exercise in complete freedom – no restrictions on how I applied the paint; no restrictions on color.

The painting is based on a photograph I took last autumn in the park near my house. The colors in the photograph are dull yellow, grayed greens and a flat sky. I wanted to bump up the color, using some local color, but creating a more expressive palette depicting not necessarily what I see, but how I interpret what I see.

Before I started painting, I used Photoshop to convert the photo to a gray scale image. That gave me values without having the color of the image interfere with what I wanted to express. I could then concentrate on values and add colors I saw fit. Value was the key; colors, while important, were secondary.

I never seem to venture far from the cool side of the color wheel and this painting was no exception.  I started with a red violet all over background then used almost every color on the cool side from violet to yellow green, from darkest value to lightest value. But I created a warm center of interest using orange and the bright yellow greens to draw in your eye.

Since I wanted to concentrate on color and shape, I decided not to use brushes. With a brush in my hand, I feel I need to define an area too much. By staying away from brushes, I could add controlled “blobs” of color to create the shapes I wanted. The background, the sky and some of the distant tress were painted with shop towels and wiped color. The mid ground and foreground were painted with palette knives.

Click on the photo to see a larger version of the painting.