MIKE PARKER ON PAINTING WITH KNIVES
Mike showed us his selection of VERY LARGE knives but said that most of his work is carried out with a small "trowel" ending up with a small knife for the final details in a picture. The very large knives are excellent for dragging down paint to create ripples etc. He works on a canvas board primed with a large paint brush and doesn't worry if the paint is uneven. The palette he uses includes ultramarine and manganese blue, cadmium orange and Indian yellow and burnt umber.
Most of Mike's work involves subjects that are with moving. For this painting of people walking in a wet street he started by placing a mix of burnt sienna and burnt umber over the blue base then dragging off areas to create doors and windows. People were painted as shapes using a mix of titanium white and Indian yellow to create a halo around the burnt umber hair. Cadmium orange and burnt sienna were placed on the dark side of the face and an umbrella blocked in with cadmium orange adding lemon yellow or titanium white to produce modelling. The body shapes were defined using the technique of cutting out with the knife and scraping off the paint.
To produce a puddle shadows were formed by adding as blobs the colours already in the subject. These were then spread horizontally with a large palette knife. Spattering added a splash.
For rain Mike added highlights to the umbrella in titanium white and allowed the colour to "fall off the edge".
He painted a little girl by roughly blocking out the shape of the body then cutting back and replacing with the background colour. The face had little detail in the features and Mike pointed out it was better to paint subjects with a back view and put details such as the hair in only.
Mike suggested that keen observation was essential and it was best to aim to keep everything very loose. The interpretation of the painting is left to the viewer.
Mike is an inspiring speaker and everyone left at the end of the evening eager to get their painting knives out and start painting.