This tiny painting was created using only a palette knife. It can be pretty intimidating to try to paint with a knife and lots of thick, uncontrollable paint, but I've found that if you keep a few things in mind as you paint, the process can be simplified and made a lot less scary.
First, start with a really good "map" underneath your painting. The drawing below is what I had underneath my painting. Each area is labeled with an L (for light), M (for middle), or D (for dark). These are reminders for my values (light vs dark) as I paint. The sky, yellow trees, and the foreground are labeled "L" because they are the lightest areas of the painting. Background trees are "D" because they are dark, and the hillside is labeled "M" because it falls in the middle value range.
Once I have my map ready, I start to lay in my paint with my knife. Another rule that I live by is to paint the areas farthest away and work up to the closest areas. In this case, the sky is where I started, then I moved to the background trees, then the hill, then the foreground. The yellow trees and the trunks were the last things to be touched. When I do this, I lay paint on top of paint, and I don't have to paint around anything. It also keeps my paint areas fresh and clean.
I hope that you try to paint with a palette knife-- it is a guaranteed way to loosen up your paintings!
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