As I study all of the photos I took on our recent trip to North Carolina, I realized that I really do like a lot of foreground in my paintings. Even if there are distant things in the background, it's the foreground that seems to really give the piece some drama and depth.
One of the most strategic things about creating a palette knife painting and using a "wet into wet" technique is deciding what colors get laid down first. Because branches can sometimes be hard to paint with a knife, I chose to lay a very dark brown over the entire gessobord first so that the limbs and the quote could be carved out. Next came the background foliage followed by the water the then the leaves and foreground.
Besides making those decisions, it is then a matter of touch and practice to lay down one stroke at a time with just the right pressure so as not to disturb what is underneath. If you're the type that likes to "fuss" over things, this will get you over that in a heartbeat. One swipe is all you get before wiping the palette knife and doing it again. This is called the alla prima method of painting. The beauty of working in oils is that you can come back the next day and even the day after that to make additions...or subtractions.
And just as a recap, I first tried Gamblin Oils (one of the best on the market)...followed by Open Acrylics....regular acrylics with retarder added, but for working with a palette knife, I found water soluble oils to have the best texture for this application. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.