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 transfered 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.
- 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 and then tapping it onto the surface of the acrylic paper, it produces a a line that 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 and what a contrast to the subtle effects of the wet on wet technique.