kynance cove

Why do palette knife work?

Many artists enjoy working with a range of brushes suitable for the paints they are using. However another group of artists work solely or partially with a palette knife.

Palette knives come in a range of shapes and sizes and produce wonderful textural marks. As you gain experience working with a palette knife your mark making can become more controlled and sophisticated.

portheras cove

Painting with a Palette Knife now part of my art journey.

I have been painting fairly steadily over the last few months but did not feel totally satisfied or inspired.Whilst at a painting course another artist worked solely with a palette knife. Yes a LIGHTBULB moment.. I was totally inspired. I think one reason I love this style of working is because it is very tactile. Also the marks and effects you can achieve are very different to those achieved with a brush.


To work with a palette knife the main resource you need is a palette as you need a flat surface to use the knife to mix your paint on. I find a stay-wet palette to be really great. The paint is used on the bottom of the'blade' or edge of it. Imagine how you spread butter onto bread and it's very similar.

Working in this way does use up lots of acrylic paint or oils but you can create a range of interesting marks.Looking at the images above you can see how this style really suits rocky coastal landscapes. Below is an example of a different use of painting with a palette knife.

trees in valley

Palette knife work may not be for you... why not consider some mixed media techniques?