Sunday, April 24, 2011


Jan Polk paints with palette knives instead of the more usual bruhes. She traces the technique back to the original Impressionist, Claude Monet. While Jan has been studying art since the mid-1980s, she developed her current techniques at a 2003 workshop taught by Susan Sarback, founder of the School of Light and Color ( Sarback spent many years researchin the secret of painting the full spectrum of color as Monet did. Monet was self-taught and did not teach students but his contemporary, Charles Hawthorne, did. One of Hawthorne’s many students was Henry Hensche, an American Impressionist who became well-known as an art teacher. Sarback studied with him and now passes the techniques to her own students--like Jan Polk.

How is palette knife painting different? Each painting implement has its own character that determines in the way paint is applied and the final look of the painting. The flexible metal palette knives lend themselves to a thicker application of paint called impasto and an almost three-dimensional surface to the finished painting. By using the point or edge of the knife the artist can draw back into the paint revealing colors underneath.

While bold in execution, Jan’s paintings have a soft, soothing, mellow appearance that matches her philosophy. She sees a connection between painting and people’s behavior: “I want to use art to inspire all of us to be respectful to one another and to work together just as the paints must work together to achieve beautiful results.”

Jan’s art has led to affiliations with well-known organizations including the Cincinnati Art Club (Signature Status), Exhibiting Member of the Pleasure Island Art Association in Orange Beach, Alabama, and the Women’s Art Club of Cincinnati.

Jan has participated in the two previous plein air events in Gadsden and returns this year as one of 15 professionals invited to paint on location, April 25-29. Come watch Jan create landscapes using the palette knife technique and then view her paintings in the galleries at the Gadsden Museum of Art with a deeper understanding of how and why they were created.

No comments:

Post a Comment