McNulty’s paintings are often made up of color fields and are abstract. McNulty paints in acrylic and pumice, always layering on the paint thickly to create textured surfaces using large palette knives. He begins each piece on the floor using a “shoe palette knife,” which is essentially a large joint knife attached to a shoe, which challenges the way that his body connects to the surface. The artist uses a Swiffer tool to reach the middle of larger pieces. Eventually, after several sessions, McNulty will place the canvas on the easel and do some finer detail work, usually working out the edges. He uses a technique he calls “scuffling,” which involves a chopping motion with a palette knife that results in approximate parallel lines. This is a signature component in many of the pieces in his prolific body of work, along with his bold color choices and horizontal bands.
“Thick layers of acrylic and pumice and are applied, scraped off, reapplied, sliced off, etc. There’s a technique I call ‘scuffling’ which involves a repetitive chopping motion with the palette knife resulting in approximate parallel lines. There are usually little jagged characters that take form in the negative space that I call ‘skirmishes’ which become the kinetic energy of the piece. The color fields interplay with each other, attempting to find common ground resulting in complex and interesting edges. The process continues until a solution is found, always applying and mixing paint directly on the canvas, scraping away layers to reveal the ghostly characters of the previous.”