Introduction to Knife Painting

Artisans Gallery - Painting with a Palette Knife

Knife painting is a unique style of painting that provides different texture and coloration than a traditional brush does. The strokes required for knife painting can most closely be compared to placing peanut butter or jelly onto a sandwich. Though it may seem simplistic, knife painting requires extreme talent and practice.

There are two types of knives associated with knife painting: a palette knife and a painting knife. Though they are often confused, the two serve completely different purposes. A palette knife is primarily used to mix different colors of paint and to clear off excess paint from a palette. It is actually the painting knife that takes the paint from the palette and paints it onto the canvas. Both of these knives are not your traditional sharp blades that are meant to exert damage. Instead, they are both very dull in sharpness and can most closely be compared to butter or plastic knives.

Painting knives come in different sizes and shapes that each provide the painter a plethora of different desired results. For example, the short blade provides the painter with a more oblique and curved paint stroke, while a longer blade generally streaks a particular color across a whole area of the canvas. Round blades provide a more gentle touch and ensure the painter that they will not pierce the canvas they are working on. On the other hand, sharp blades graze the canvas with a more rigid effect and also peal back layers of previously applied paint, which is known as sgraffito.

Artisans Gallery - Set of Painting Knives

The ideal painting knife that is one that has a thinner edge and has an ample amount of elasticity off of the canvas. Broader blades provide the opposite and less desirable effect. However, blades that are too elastic, such as plastic ones, are less desired because the painter can lose control and their results will be compromised. This is why it is recommended to go with a metal blade from a reputable company to achieve maximum results. And oftentimes, these reputable companies will sell a set of blades to cover all bases and angles that a knife painter desires.

All types of paint can be used with a painting knife, but the paint with the most amount of firmness, such as oil paint, will achieve maximum results.

Taking care of your painting knives is certainly much easier than taking care of a paintbrush. There is very little need for worry if paint dries onto a knife since it can almost always be easily scraped off. The one note of caution is that most steel painting knives, except for stainless steel, will be more prone to rusting if you keep it in an environment with high humidity. Finally, painting knives are very sturdy and can withstand a lot compared to a paintbrush. Even in the event that a knife either gets chipped or breaks, then it can almost always still be used for scraping paint either off of a canvas or a palette.

Knife Painting - Landscape

Artisans Gallery - Knife Painting, Landscape

Knife Painting - Sunset

Artisans Gallery - Knife Painting, Sunset

Knife Painting - Bonsai Tree

Artisans Gallery - Knife Painting, Bonsai Tree

Knife Painting - Red Tree

Artisans Gallery - Knife Painting, Red Tree

Knife Painting - Fall Tree

Artisans Gallery - Knife Painting, Fall Tree

Knife Abstract Painting

Artisans Gallery - Knife Abstract Painting