Oil painting palette knife techniques

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Oil Painting with a Palette Knife

oil painting palette knife techniques

Aug 3, The palette knife is not just a tool for mixing paint on your palette. I use this technique in the later stages of a painting when I want to add a few small bursts of color. Sunset Study, Kingfisher Bay, Oil, 10x12 Inches,

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Painting knives and palette knives are similar, and many people use the terms interchangeably, but they are not the same. Strictly speaking, a palette knife is a long, straight blade or spatula used for mixing paints and scraping palettes clean. It's not for applying paint onto a canvas. Palette knives can be made from metal, plastic, or wood and will either be completely straight or have a slightly cranked bent handle. This design helps keep your knuckles out of wet paint you've just applied. The blades may be pear-, diamond-, or trowel-shaped.

Palette and Painting Knives go hand in hand with oil paints. Many people use these terms interchangeably, but there is a difference between the two. A Palette Knife is a special knife made specifically for mixing your paints on your palette, while a Painting Knife is used for applying the paint to whatever surface you are painting on. I have used palette knives to paint with and painting knives to mix my paint. Sometimes I actually prefer painting with a palette knife over a painting knife.

Palette knives are seen as a sign of confidence in a painter, you can wield them with gusto, paint impasto, and when no-ones looking you feel like Van Gogh or maybe Bob Ross! The humble palette knife is used to mix nearly all the paint for my paintings, from getting paints out of tubs, mixing tints and shades on the palette, to scraping off any mistakes. I often favour a medium size, diamond shaped blade with a cranked handle RGM 45 is my favourite tipple sometimes referred to as a painting knife due to the angle of the cranked handle see picture below. By using a palette knife instead of a brush to actually apply paint to the canvas, it introduces you to texture, thickness of paint and puts you out of your paint squeezing comfort zone. With all this in mind, I wanted to put together a 4 part free video tutorial that would teach you new skills, how to combine using a palette knife with your brushes and deciding when to swap between them.

Occasionally I make an oil painting with knives using the 'wet into wet' technique. By using a knife it is possible to layer wet paint on top of wet paint without disturbing the layer underneath, thus maintaining a freshness in the painting. Knife painting automatically keeps your colors pure because it is so easy to keep the knife clean. A quick wipe of the cloth does it and no solvents required! Painting with a palette knife forces me to loosen up. I focus on shapes and colors, not being consciously aware that I am painting a person or a tree.

Different from painting with a brush, this process can help you achieve a variety of effects, from the sweeping strokes associated with impasto to refined details. Both tools are made of either plastic or of wood and metal. Both are available in a variety of blade shapes and sizes. A palette knife handle is generally straight, having at most a slight bend. The purpose of the palette knife is to mix colors or clean the surface of the palette. As its name indicates, a painting knife is used for actual painting.

Painting Knife Techniques


Expand Your Palette by Learning to Paint With a Knife





3 thoughts on “Oil painting palette knife techniques

  1. The terms painting knife and palette knife are often used interchangeably when I begin my painting knife pieces with an underpainting done in oil thinned with.

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