Joni Purk - knives are refreshing

Wanderer , oil, 16” x 12”

Wanderer, oil, 16” x 12”

There are many different tools an artist can use to create a work of art. Although many are very simple - brush, paint, clay, knife - they all can be used to create sophisticated, detailed works of art. The palette knife is one such amazing tool and artist Joni Purk uses palette knives to create detailed textures in her work.

“A knife can be used at its’ tip, side, flat or as a scraping tool. You can also push down on the paint to flatten or stay light with the knife to build up texture. A knife can create its own shadow as well. The possibilities are endless. I am still discovering ways a knife can offer a whole new look to a piece.” says Purk.

Shadows, light, and texture are all hallmarks of Purk’s artwork and the use of palette knife is evident from first glance. Simple, graceful strokes create natural settings that transport the viewer to the scenes on canvas.

Though expressionistic in style the thick oils and textural qualities of Purk’s work remind the viewer of familiar and warm emotions. Purk is fascinated by the simple yet sophisticated duality that palette knife offers in her paintings. In discussing her choice of figures as a subject Purk says “The fascination of seeing just how few strokes can create the figure but still allow the loose, textural overall feeling I want to achieve.”

Purk’s works are symbolic of the degree to which artists can utilize simple tools to create moods and feelings within a piece. Palette knife allows Purk to create lines, light, and texture that “jump” off the canvas. In closing our conversation she asked rhetorically “Can I simplify this subject and will this make the piece even more exciting for the viewer?”

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