Knife painting arist Rybakow - original knife oil seascape, palette knife landscape, flower knife painting, fine art on canvas with palette knife.

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Palette knife (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

A palette knife is a blunt knife with an extremely flexible steel blade and no sharpened cutting edge. It is primarily used for mixing paint colors, paste, etc., or for marbling, decorative endpapers, etc. The "palette" in the name is a reference to an artist's palette which is used for mixing oil paints. Certain artistic techniques call for painting with a palette knife.

Art palette knives come primarily in two types:

  • symmetric knife resembling a putty knife with a rounded tip, suited for mixing paints on the palette;
  • asymmetric knife with a pointed tip, lowered or "cranked" like a trowel, suited for painting on canvas.

Palette knives are also used in cooking, where their flexibility allows them to easily slide underneath pastries or other items.

Oil painting tips, tricks, techniques - palette knife painting . 

 "With so many requests to explain how I work with the palette knife, we have decided to include this section in
our web site explaining the various tips, tricks and techniques on how to paint on canvas using the
palette knife.
Any comments and questions are most welcome and we will attempt to answer your inquiries by email.
Some of your questions and their solutions will most certainly find their way into this section.
    Hope you enjoy and find helpful, this new area of our web site. I thought I might try a different format
to this section of the site and put the images and text in a strip down the page
   which should make these tips and image progressions easier to follow." - Paul Rupert 

Palette Knife Oil Painting

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.

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. I let the colors and values that I place on the canvas tell that story. Painting with a palette knife also gives me more of an Impasto surface. The paint has dimension, a quality I like.

Knives are ideally suited for use in oil paintings of architectural subjects or  for anything which is man made. All of his paintings are done with mostly three knives, a large one with a straight edge, a smaller teardrop shaped knife and a  smaller diamond shaped one. With some subjects a small amount of detail is completed with a brush.

I always begins with the sky for a landscape, completing the painting as I work down to the bottom. By using the texture of the paint  detail can be conveyed, such as rugged mountains, trees and rocks in a landscape or rough seas in a maritime subject.

For this technique it is imperative that the paint is not allowed to dry, as it is virtually impossible to control the knife as it skids over the ridges of dried paint underneath.

The knives I use for painting are known as palette knives even though they are really painting knives. A
palette knife is used for mixing paint on the palette and not for actually applying paint to the canvas.  The blades on the ones used for painting are usually made from forged steel and are very flexible. The handles are made from hardwood and the blade should extend completely through it.

Of the three types of knifes that I use, one is straight and flat. This is used for rapidly filling in the large areas of paint on the canvas by holding the blade almost flat to the canvas. It is also used for creating straight lines on the canvas by holding the blade at an angle of 90 degrees to the canvas surface and for blending large areas. The other knifes are much smaller and have a cranked shaft with a diamond shaped head and a tear drop head. The head is offset from the handle to prevent the artists fingers being dragged through the wet oil painting. I use these knifes to add details and relief to the work. (

Knife Painting

Many great oil paintings are palette knife paintings. Palette knife paintings are either done solely using a palette knife or a combination of palette knife and other techniques.

   Artist Palette knife

An artist palette knife is generally used  for

  1. mixing  large quantities of paint on the palette. Some artists prefer to use a brush instead of a palette knife. It is a matter of preference.

  2. cleaning paint off the palette, and

  3. scraping paint off the canvas if the paint is too thick or if you want to repaint a certain part of the work.

The palette knife is a general purpose  tool. You will find uses for it when you are painting.

   Artist Palette knife painting or Painting knife

When an artist palette knife painting is done, the palette knife is sometimes referred to as painting knife. A painting knife is used for painting, sometimes called 'palette knife painting'. A painting knife has a cranked handle so that your knuckles do not smudge the wet paint on the canvas as you apply the paint. There are many different shapes and sizes to choose from. Some painters prefer to use their brushes instead of painting knives. If you prefer to use a brush, then you won't need a painting knife



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