Tuesday, October 15, 2013


"Flower of the Sun"
12x12" oil on canvas


Palette knife! Arrrgghhhh! I've come to detest those two words these past few weeks! That was the challenge this month. Paint exclusively with a palette knife! "Thanks Vicki!"...she said, her words dripping with sarcasm.

I always thought I would enjoy painting with a palette knife. I was wrong. I loathed it and it doesn't look good for a second date. The only sparks that flew were the ones coming from my progressively exsplicit potty mouth!

But, it IS a challenge after all, and it WAS a challenge. For me, it was like painting with a tree stump! Creating depth was nearly impossible because every new stroke brought whatever I was painting forward, so going back to try and add a shadow of some sort wasn't working. And mixing colors was not happenin'...at all! I have a new found, deep respect and admiration for artists who create extraordinary work with a palette knife. I, unfortunately, will never be among them.

I am, however, okay with the outcome. It does look like a palette knife painting so I guess it works. The one thing I adored about this method was clean up! Even between applications of different colors...just wipe and dip! Nice! And who knows, one should never say never right?

And I would like to thank and give photo reference credit to my dear friend Brenda Ferguson. She has an amazing piece of land graced with abundant flowers of the sun and was kind enough to let me use one of her shots for this painting. 

And as a post script, after all my ranting about painting with a tree stump, the darn thing sold!! And quicker than any other painting I've done. Okay! I have no problem being wrong about this palette knife thing! Excuse me, I'm off to the studio to apologize to the knife and retrieve it from the bin.

Also, Tim validated his presence in the studio while I was painting his portrait, and I can't wait to share how.


6x8" oil on hardboard
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin

"#17" (of 100 variations)
7.5x7.5" oil on paper

And, thank you so very much for each and every word in each and every comment left on the painting of Tim's birthday portrait. You all truly made it a celebration of joy for me, for us!


  1. Heheh, I can only imagine how blue the air was in your studio as you wielded the palette knife. And a flower no less! You should be well pleased, its glow is fabulous. I am in awe as flowers scare me, knife or not. But sunflowers are appealing to try and if could get one a quarter good as yours is, I'd be happy.

    Painting with a knife is a whole new ball game isn't it? Getting away from blending and moving into optical mixing is a real challenge. Its probably why I go for huge pieces when I use a palette knife. And the paint use commitment, you know when you look down at your palette and think geez, that's $15 of paint just in that glob...not for the faint of heart. :)

  2. And I'd love to know how Tim made his presence known when you were painting his portrait!

  3. Its beautiful my Suz! I know you do not think so- but every time we try something new- its special. And you tried and did not give up.

    We really want to know what Angel Tim let you feel as you painted his portrait. We must know!

  4. You can paint anything and paint it well. This is a strong and beautiful sunflower.
    I got all choked up reading your tribute to Tim and it was compounded by all the sensitive and caring comments which followed. I send blessings with affection.

  5. I cannot wait to hear "how!" And I think you did a marvelous job with the palette knife, Suz. The piece is big and bold and beautiful!

  6. Suz, this was the perfect subject for your knife challenge. I love all those big bold strokes on the big bold petals.Some of my favorites are the bits of turquoise amid the greens. You did it!

  7. Ooh, I'm intrigued!
    Well I think the flower is beautiful! And it really does stand out from the canvas! Have you heard of Leslie Byrd Seata? She paints exclusively with a palette knife - boats mainly, but other things too. I've never tried it myself, but I imagine it must be quite a challenge! :0)

  8. That is so funny!!! After all the grumping and griping, it sold!!! Another instance of "you can never second guess someone's taste in art".
    Kathryn aka gunkie

  9. Oh what a fun,great post! You are so honest it makes me laugh . I am not so good with the knife & use it to mix for the most part. Now I see it pays to branch out :) Beautiful paintings!

  10. It's lovely, Suzanne, and reads wonderfully from a distance. I think that is one of the charms of knife paintings. Maybe you should try a few more with the tree stump.

  11. Isn't that the way? lol But it is gorgeous and has a wonderful vibrant glow : )
    And I got chills (the good ones) reading your note about Tim. You are a strong and beautiful spirit Suzanne.

    Got you with this one! Of course, payback is a MF:) 'lil suz may not play so nice...
    Great that it sold!

  13. This is a fantastic piece, Suzanne!! I worked with the palette knife ONCE and it kept on flipping off my hand....I can't seem to handle it well. Anyway, I really love this painting and hope to see more from your palette knife.... but more important.. I am so curious about Tim !! Congratulations on selling this painting!!!

  14. I have to say...I agree with you, palette knife is too weird! I do love how this came out, however, and congratulations on the sale!

  15. I love this, the texture and colors are wonderful and, I gotta say, an easy clean up is so seductive.

  16. I am just loving the notes that everyone leaves you, especially Jeanette's comment, "Not for the faint of heart." That says it! But, most of all, wahoo for the sale! I think, as always, you painted something lovely.

  17. I love this painting! It might be one of my favorites. So full of emotion. Sorry... I realize you hated the palette knife. (thankfully the emotion you captured is not the same one you were uttering while creating it.) I have a similar painting hanging over my desk by my artist friend Svetlana Beattie who incidentally painted it with a palette knife!

    I'm not accustomed to seeing texture on your work, so it was a surprise that it actually was your work. Sounds like a great experiment. One I should try sometime...

    Congrats on the sale! Wishing you days of sunshine ahead, my friend. Hugs!

  18. Hi there! I love your juicy sunflower, I have used a palette knife many times and your are right the best part is the clean up. Your portrait of Tim is really wonderful and I loved hearing about your reading. Please share any of that anytime you are up to it. I have never had a reading but want to do that sometime.

  19. I absolutely love this. It reminds me of summer and of fall... I wouldn't know how to use a palette knife, but this painting makes me want to give it a go.

    Have you ever considered doing lessons via the internet? I'd love to become a student of yours... I guess I have been a student of sorts, learning how to handle separation and loss with such grace.


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