I’d recently begun experimenting with palette knives, simply slathering paint on canvas, and I really didn’t know what I was doing. In many ways, I still don’t, and that can be a great place to be. A lot can be learned when by trying out new things without a clue. Sometimes, though, it just doesn’t turn out as hoped.
I had mixed up some cobalt blue, white, ultramarine, dioxazine purple and raw umber to paint a different view of an image I had done previously in soft pastel. Boldly, I smeared on the sky, and blocked in the crags, snowfields, and ridges. I was excited about where this was going but it was time for lunch, so I took a picture of what I had (the photo, above), and went to fix something to eat.
When I came back to the easel about 45 minutes later, the canvas was completely dry. I started working the values a bit more. I tried to smooth out some of the snow, and put in some key highlights while fixing certain elements of the composition.
Nope. Not happening.
The colors I chose gave me the worst looking mud, and the texture was now fighting me instead of helping me. I loaded the palette knife and slathered on more paint, hoping to bury what I’d messed up under something I liked better. No such luck. whatever I’d started with that excited me about this painting was simply gone. I scraped off what I had added, let it dry completely, and gessoed over it, taking it back to white canvas, just with more texture.
Ah, well. There’s always the next painting.