Palette Knife Painting

Ideas for using a Palette Knife

Palette knife painting is a fantastic way to create texture and shape in your painting. But working with a palette knife can be quite daunting so here are a few tips for creating great textures with the trusty blade. Palette knives come is various shapes and sizes so it is a good idea to get a few different shaped ones and experiment.

Try these out on a sheet of acrylic paper

  • fully load the palette knife and hold it horizontally – parallel to the paper surface – and  lightly drag the blade across the surface. Keep dragging until no paint is transferred to the surface. You should get a solid block of paint followed by small shapes as the paint disappears.
  • fully load the palette knife again but this time hold it at about a 30 degree angle to the surface and press down reasonably firmly. This time when you drag the paint is forced into the crevasses of the surface and scrapped away from the prominent sections leaving a thin textured effect similar to a scumble.
  • Leave both of the above to dry and try each method again with a different colour over your previous efforts. You can end up with some very interesting effects.
  • More Creative Ideas

  • Other ways of creating texture with a palette knife include pressing the flat surface of the knife into the paint and immediately lifting it. This raises the paint into small  pointed ‘mountains’
  • If you want to create fractured lines try tapping the edge of the palette knife into paint. Then tap the edge of the palette knife onto the surface of the acrylic paper. The line it produces has a unique character.
  • Finally, those of you using tubes of watercolour for your watercolour painting, why not give a palette knife a try. Imagine the textures you could create in your painting. What a contrast to the subtle effects of the wet on wet technique.

Want to learn great colour schemes for your next painting? This art tutorial will give you lots of ideas: Great Colour Plans for your Painting

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A range of palette knives