Today’s Tools of the Trade Tuesday post features one of the star actors in my painting productions, The Palette Knife. For any unfamiliar with the behind-the-scenes of the painting process, the palette knife is the sharper alternative painting implement to a paintbrush. Instead of using a brush to apply paint to canvas, the palette knife can be used to directly apply thick paint and to shape and mold it on the canvas using palette knives of different “heads.” Each palette knife has a slightly different angle, thickness, and will apply paint differently from the others.
I have a bad habit of forgetting to clean the paint off of my certain favorite palette knives, so when I go shopping for art supplies, I often like to buy at least two of a specific palette knife, in case I mess it up from not de-gunking it immediately after painting. I use palette knives heavily in mixing paint together on my palette before using a brush to add to a painting.
I use the palette knife to achieve very specific textures in my paintings after building up paint layer over layer. In the photo below, observe the foreground canvas at right, you’ll see how many of the very 3-dimensional textures pop out from the canvas by a few millimeters — those were achieved from using the palette knife.