Before I began painting with a palette knife, I first used a brush to paint the background of this small canvas with unbleached titanium. Then I began adding wide strokes of color with the palette knife, beginning with cadmium red deep, raw sienna, and burnt sienna.
I left spaces for the titanium white, which I added next. I allowed the white to blend somewhat with the other colors, but not too much. I then added a bit of parchment, and finally some burnt umber.
Once I got the basic blocks of color in, I continued to add more of one here, more of another there--always being careful to control the amount of blending with the background. When I wanted a more solid color, I added another layer with the knife. I also added some of the darker colors gingerly to the background to give it more texture and interest.
My final step was to draw lines in burn tumber outlining some of the shapes and guiding the eye through the composition. The lines added emphasis as well as texture.