Ken Knight The Southern Ocean - Victor Harbour 90cm x 150cm

KEN KNIGHT View works

Ken Knight, a native of Sydney born in 1956, is one of Australia's most admired landscape painters. He is an impressionist artist who expresses his enthusiasm for the Australian landscape by painting en plein air – using oils outdoors and on location in a spontaneous and free manner. His images come from a direct response to the subject and aim to capture the essence of a scene, reducing detail so that viewers can make their own intimate interpretation. His work communicates a range of moods, from rural pastures lit by the harsh noonday sun, to intricate plays of light on the beaches and coves of Sydney Harbour.

Landscape Painting en plain air

Landscape images, derived from a direct response to the subject, form the integral theme in my work. As an impressionist I paint “en plein air”, painting in oils in a spontaneous and free manner.

The essence of a scene

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.

the purity of Less is more

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.

The importance of colour

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.
The control and exaggeration of colour in the landscape are fundamentally important. Used in conjunction with thick paint, palette knife and energetic brushwork, the artist can create a painting that offers something a little different each time it is viewed.

With his mobile painting studio, Ken can paint anywhere.

With his mobile painting studio, Ken can paint anywhere.

"For Ken, painting outside is a deeply emotional and necessary experience for capturing the essence and spirit of the scenes he depicts in his en plein air masterpieces.

His inspiration comes from the great outdoor painters, the impressionists from Turner through to Monet, and from Australians like Streeton and Boyd. Ironically, in a country desperately short of life’s most precious commodity, there’s plenty of water in his work. From beaches,rivers and harbour-side shores to snow capped mountains and in the starkly beautiful, yet subtle and muted golden hues of hinterlands, plains and tablelands. His images are as Australian as all get-out. And it’s these images of the faces of the dry continent that Ken simplifies by gentle abstraction to produce very modern impressions of the land.

He paints quickly but surely, not wanting to concentrate on the detail, less it inherit a photographic quality in his eye and hence his brush. Rather, he imbues his elements with passion, emotion and a love for the landscape that has become his raison d’être and an integral part of himself. He’ll blur lines, soften edges and abstract elements to leave the work open for an interpretation that the viewer can call his or her own. This is his art."

- Stan d’Argeavel MA (Visual Arts) ANU

Ken Knight is represented in private & corporate collections in Australia, England, Italy, United States of America, Mexico, Switzerland, Belgium, Japan, Germany, France, South Africa, New Zealand and Singapore.

Ken Knight painting en plein air in the Australian outback

Ken Knight painting en plein air in the Australian outback

Artist Overview

  • 1956 born Sydney
  • 1975-78 Studies Bachelor of Arts, Dip. of Education, Sydney Uni.
  • 1979-82 Secondary School Teaching
  • Overseas Study, London, Paris
  • 1995,97 Arthur Boyd Bundanon Trust, Artist in Residence, Bundanon
  • 1996 Overseas Study, Paris, London, Amsterdam
  • 1998 Associate Member Royal Arts Society, NSW
  • 1999 Overseas Study, LA, New York, Boston, Washington, Chicago
  • 2001 Overseas Study, Paris, London, Vienna
  • 2002 Painting trip to England
  • 2004 Overseas Study, Paris, London
  • 2007 Overseas Study, Egypt


  • I.B.M.
  • Schwarzkopf
  • Kawasaki
  • Down to Earth Constructions
  • Straits Resources
  • Tennis Federation of Japan
  • Lemar Alexander, U.S. Presidential Candidate
  • Parliament House, Brisbane
  • Daiwa
  • Tattersall’s Club, Brisbane
  • A.N.A. Hotel, Sydney
  • Royal Australian Navy’s Judge Advocate General Collection
  • Burton Taylor Communications
  • Rose Bay Sacred Heart Convent School
  • Sultan of Brunei, Darussalam, Brunei
  • Bundanon Trust
  • Wyong Council
  • DDB Singapore
  • Multileaf
  • Commonwealth Bank
  • Johnson and Johnson
  • Archbishop of New York
  • Rosemount Estate
  • ANZ Bank Head Office
  • Hong Kong Bank
  • Westpac Bank
  • Westpac Bank Collection
  • Shell Oil
  • Parker Pens
  • BHP
  • AMP Society
  • The Union Club Sydney
  • Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum
  • Tasmanian Art Gallery, Museum