This mini-spatula like tool, called a palette knife, is perfect for my impressionistic style.
Not wanting the details that a small brush will give me, I layer on texture with the knife.
Step 1: Work background to foreground.
First I layer the middle value of colors
- those shades that are in between dark and light. In the fox below if you squint your eyes the background and foreground become fuzzy and almost appear to be the same color value. This is the awkward stage of painting, but keep going.
Step 2: A key factor is to blend the background into the foreground.
I add darker values not just for contrast and depth, but as importantly to create harmony in the painting. If you look closely at the completed fox below, there is blue in the fox's fur that correlates with the blue color in the background. Mixing the background colors
with foreground gives you balance and prevents a cut and paste look.
I am not a tech-savvy kind of gal, but my Photoshop husband, Larry, tells me this trick works in the computer graphics world, too. He blends similar hue, saturation and brightness of colors into his background and foreground for a coordinating look that is easy on the eyes.
Sometimes art simulates nature, and sometimes artists push its beauty a bit more. Which do you prefer?