Lisa Elley
Santa Clara, California

Working almost exclusively with a palette knife, Lisa Elley maneuvers her artistic blade with an uncanny fluidity. Why paint only with the knife? She says, “when I paint with a brush, which I do occasionally, I tend to focus on the detail. With a palette knife I can't focus on the detail too much, so my paintings are looser, and more gestural, with bigger sweeps and strokes.” This technique is called wet-on-wet. And it seems to be quite popular, as she has been bestowed the title “Knife Queen” by her facebook fans. Fun fact: Lisa’s high school art teacher told her to study harder at math, as a career in art was “impossible.”

Artist and Customer Comments

Lisa Elley 7/29/2016 | 12:56 PM

Thank you so much for your nice comments, I really appreciate you taking the time to reach out! Birch trees are my favorite! With my knives I lay out the background, then scrape out the outline of the trees, then get lashings of gorgeous titanium white oil paint and lay it over the top, making sure I leave a darker side to make the trees round, then I finish with the Paynes gray highlights. So much fun! Enjoy your painting! Cheers, Lisa

commentsBirch Intentions
K Burke 7/28/2016 | 8:33 AM

Hi Lisa, I purchased 'Birch Intentions'. What a beautiful piece! I love the texture of the birch trees that you've captured. Thank you so much!

Lisa Elley 5/21/2016 | 9:04 PM

Hi Frank, Great to hear from you! I'm so glad that FedEX had your painting to you in such a timely manner! Yes, I totally agree that I should do some East Coast beach scenes, Long Island is so classically beautiful, like an elegant and refined ballerina, compared to our ruggedly beautiful West coast. I feel like I must paint them all! I'm so glad that I can share my art with you and Thank you for your kind words of encouragement and appreciation! Enjoy the rest of your weekend, cheers, Lisa

Frank 5/21/2016 | 2:07 PM

Sorry I got cut off from finishing my comments Lisa- I loved "Colorful Monterey' and wish you could do some work on East Coast beach scenes ie. Long Island where I live. Ill stay in touch with your work and again thank you for doing it so well, Cheers, Frank

Frank 5/21/2016 | 2:02 PM

Hi Lisa- I was emailed by fedex and told to expect the package on this coming Tuesday- well it arrived today on Saturday- How in the world do you get it here so quickly- I have to nominate you for best shipper (lol). And the artwork itself was just what I hoped for- I have no idea how you get the palette knife to make such small petals on all the flowers. You are the "Knife Queen" and I agree with your fans. Beautiful and rich in texture and color.

Lisa Elley 5/16/2016 | 9:44 PM

Hi Frank, great to hear from you! Thanks so much for your purchase! I hope you enjoy your palette knife painting of exquisitely colorful Monterey, this painting has so much texture, it's lovely in person. I'm glad it fits nicely in to your space, enjoy! cheers, Lisa

Frank 5/16/2016 | 1:48 PM

Hi again Lisa- I'm back and as mentioned I couldn't resist another palette knife painting of "Colorful Monterey"- It will enhance my art walls even more and fit in perfectly size-wise. All the best to you- Cheers, Frank

Frank 5/3/2016 | 7:39 AM

Thank you so much Lisa- sorry, the photos of the room were taken before I received you painting- otherwise it would have been included- next time! Keep that palette knife going- it intrigues me no end. Cheers, Frank

Lisa Elley 5/2/2016 | 3:08 PM

Hi Frank, I really enjoyed reading the 'Collector Spotlight' feature about you and your career and your art collecting! It's so fascinating as an artist to learn about what motivates your collectors and how your art resonates with them on a personal level, as we are all so different and art is so subjective. I love the idea of your 'art room', Thanks for sharing with us! Cheers, Lisa

Lisa Elley 4/29/2016 | 1:23 PM

Hi Frank, humble apologies, I didn't see your question before about whether the painting is wired, I always paint the edges and wire all my paintings as I feel like it finishes them nicely. I'm so glad you like 'Poppy Mayhem', the texture of my palette knife paintings is most definitely more appreciated in person, it's hard to convey the 3D effect in a photo. So Thanks for the fantastic comments and I'm thrilled that you like your painting! Cheers, Lisa

Frank 4/27/2016 | 1:42 PM

Hi Lisa- "Poppy Mayhem" arrived quickl y and it reminds me of how much I love palette knife ainting. So bold, textured as if in 3-D. It is just what I hoped it would be and please go on painting. I will follow your work. Cheers, Frank

commentsPoppy Mayhem
Frank 4/17/2016 | 1:32 PM

Hi Lisa- quick question before I decide. I really like your "Poppy Mayhem"- does it come ready to hang? Like with a wire . Many thanks, Frank

Lisa Elley 4/5/2016 | 4:40 PM

I'm so thrilled to hear that! I love to know that my paintings bring a little beauty in to other people's lives! Let me know if you have any questions, Cheers, Lisa

commentsPacific Sunset
M Sobko purchased this artwork. 4/2/2016 | 4:24 PM

This painting is exactly what I expected. It will be enjoyed for years to come. Just beautiful!!!!

Lisa Elley 3/19/2015 | 5:25 PM

Hi everyone, I'm new on UGALLERY, and am so excited to be here! I welcome questions and comments, so please feel free to contact me. Thanks for stopping by, and for joining me on my journey to find a little beauty in our world! Cheers, Lisa

Complex Simplicity

Oil painting on stretched canvas
Signed on front and back

12" h x 12" w x .75" d
0 lbs. 7 oz.


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Artwork Details

Comments About This Piece

My favorite season of fall is captured here with my favorite tools, my palette knives! Knives create a textured effect with a lot of movement. The texture combined with the vibrant fall colors make this a striking work. The piece is on a gallery wrapped canvas and the painting continues around the sides. It comes ready to hang.

Oil painting

Oil paint uses natural oils, such as linseed, poppy and walnut oil to bind the pigments. Oils are slow to dry, which allows the artist to rework the painting to achieve the desired effect. Also, they blend easily, which helps to achieve certain colors. With the rise of naturalism in 15th century Early Netherlandish painting, oil paints became preferred to quick drying tempera paint. Artists wanted a medium that would allow them to achieve detailed and precise effects in their paintings. Consider all of the detail in the masterpieces of Jan van Eyck and Hieronymus Bosch!

Stretched canvas

Canvas is a heavy-duty fabric used as a painting surface. When a canvas artwork is labeled stretched, it means the canvas has been wrapped around a wooden frame (the ''stretcher''). Stretched canvases typically do not require framing.


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