Deb Ward, GWS, OWS, PWS, WSI - WATERCOLOR/WATER MEDIA - My passion is teaching adult “beginners”. Weekly classes in my home; workshops; classes for Cincinnati Recreation Commission. My work is nationally recognized and published - see “Featured” on my sidebar. I’m a Signature Member of Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana state Watercolor Societies, Cincinnati Art Club, past-President of Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society. Contact info below under “Class Information”

Monday, September 30, 2013


I spent a weekend in Rising Sun, IN enjoying two days of acrylic palette knife painting with acrylics.

You could either do acrylic or oil – and some did both.

I just brought what canvases I had laying around, and these had been pre-used so I could hardly destroy them! Before the w/s I decided to put gesso over them – but when I opened the tub of gesso I almost passed out from the odor – some sort of white mold or fungi growing on top of it! Needless to say, that was tossed immediately (while I wondered if I would live or die of botulism). My trusty old liquid-y gesso worked well – it’s Basics brand, don’t know what it’s really called but it always works for me!

On the first day of the w/s someone walked in with spilled turpentine in her art bag – she quickly walked back out and left the turp outside the door for the duration – and took her bag out after unloading it. Thank goodness, as the odor had me nauseous and I thought I’d have to ask for my check back and leave. The smell is why I dislike oils.

Our instructor was Tina Tammaro and she spent a lot of time explaining color theory, values, and art history, while she worked with each of us individually.

Utilizing palette knife and bristle brushes I attempted to paint with tube acrylics. Not the worst work I’ve ever done, but no where near the best! I ended up getting out my regular acrylic brush toward the end of each canvas.

These techniques are something I will attempt in the future and can think of a couple things right now that I could use them for – there are a couple of canvases that have been languishing for some time and these techniques might be able to revitalize them.

Here are my latest attempts for the art world!

Since this technique is definitely out of my comfort zone, I started with a small 6x6 canvas and painted from one of the floral arrangements scattered around the room. I thought that I would just attempt to get used to using the knife, but Tina said to finalize the painting. I actually like this little painting the best.
Attempt 2 was this peony which I’ve painted several times in w/c and fluid acrylic. I had the most fun with this one, even though it didn’t turn out very well. This is on an 11x14 canvas.

My last attempt was on another 6x6 canvas. Seems I got it way too dark, but I forget that acrylics dry darker.

The beauty is that all of these can be changed if I want to keep working on them.

I really did learn quite a lot, even though it doesn’t look like it!


Julie Ford Oliver said...

beautiful results with the knife. i enjoyed your story too. i am really extra sensitive to smells and particularly turpentine or mineral spirits and yet I am an oil painter. just in case you ever need this info. Gamsol is an odorless turps which has an oil mixed into it so it does not dissipate into the air like other so called odorless solvents. It is the toxic fumes which are dangerous to the central nervous system. Just because they have taken the smell away does not make it less toxic. Your instincts are good. Acrylics are marvelous in your hands.

Katherine Thomas said...

Sounds like a god workshop. I like the depth you achieved in the last photo, that's really stunning!

Kimberly Vanlandingham said...

Love seeing your push yourself with something new/different. Your watercolor work is just amazing so I can't wait to see if you work with this media more.

debwardart said...

Julie - thanks for stopping by. I checked our your blog - beautiful things you are painting! Don't think I'll ever do oils, but will utilize my new acrylic knowledge when I get a chance.

debwardart said...

Katherine, it was a great w/s. Thanks for your compliment, but none of them are very good.
Kimberly - Thanks for the vote of confidence.