There’s something about painting outside, whether it’s the flies or the wind, it’s very much an emotional response. I can’t get excited about taking a photograph and painting inside. My van is set up as a mobile studio, capable of carrying wet paintings.
An impressionist ‘plein-air’ painter, Ken’s work is charged with a freshness and spontaneity that cannot be created in a studio. Ken approaches the landscape with a contemporary boldness. His use of textural oils applied by swift palette knife gestures and energetic brush strokes are highly responsive to the scene in front of him. The result is a painting which offers something a little different each time it is viewed. Up close, his paintings are brilliantly abstract - a myriad of brushstrokes and edges of thick paint - but stand back a few paces and they resolve into a landscape of texture, mood, time and place which shifts slightly with each viewing.
The challenge for me lies not so much in relaying photographic information, but in capturing the essence and spirit of a scene. By reducing the landscape and abstracting elements from it, I enable the viewer to make an intimate interpretation of the image.Thus perception follows observation in the same way as the viewer may have responded to the original subject. Through the elimination and reduction of detail I can convey reality strongly and more robustly, without creating areas of unnecessary distraction which detract from the overall picture.It follows that in this impressionist pursuit “less becomes more”. The challenge for the artist becomes one of finding the right dynamic balance each time the easel is set up outside – to observe, perceive, interpret, and abstract.In finding this balance, the artist relies heavily on colour – perhaps the greatest tool available. Colour should not be limited to merely setting a mood or establishing time of day, it should create energy and set up tensions that are integral to the life force of the painting.
"Ken Knight is a remarkable Australian painter. His enthusiasm for the landscape knows no bounds. From the harsh glare of the noonday sun across expansive rural pastures to the exquisite subtleties of ephemeral afternoon light on Sydney Harbour’s various coves and beaches, Ken’s pictures evoke the essence of Australia."
Justin Miller, Chairman, Sotheby’s Australia