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Palette Knife Painting Techniques for Beginners

Palette Knife Painting Techniques for Beginners

Painting with acrylics is great because acrylics are a lot more versatile than watercolors or oil paints. One of the best ways to add texture and dimension to an acrylic painting is to paint with a palette knife. There are numerous palette knife painting techniques to choose from, and the best thing about this painting style is that it can be as simple or as challenging as you need it to be. In fact, this painting style is just as suitable for beginners as it is pros. Here are some good techniques that can raise your art to a whole new level.

Gather your supplies

If you are already familiar with painting with acrylics, you probably already have some palette knives in your paint kit. For basic painting techniques, you can probably make do with a four bladed knife, featuring both a very long blade and a shorter blade at the tip. This type of knife is great for painting flowers as it allows you to achieve a wide range of petal shapes. In order to handle some basic palette knife painting techniques, you will also need a blending knife and a flat palette that allows you to pick the paint up with a knife. You can also make good use of a small, thin knife that will allow you to paint small details like distant elements in landscapes.

Picking the paint with the palette knife

In order to pick the paint with your palette knife, you start by scraping the paint and picking the paint up on the bottom side of the knife. This should be a simple maneuver if you have a flat palette like we previously advised.

Basic painting techniques

As a beginner, you should only use basic palette knife painting techniques that add a special charm to your painting without taking all the focus from the basic painting technique. You can use it for horizontal elements in which case, after picking up the paint, you gently scrape it across your painting. In landscapes, you can use palette knives in order to add texture to the ground or to fields of grass. Palette knife paintings have a certain roughness which cannot be achieved with a simple paint brush. You can also use palette knives in order to create special light effects, like the ones you see in cities when it is raining. These effects are quite hard to achieve in paintings, but if you take a look at the work of Leonid Afremov, you will see that this painting style is ideal for special light effects. Autumn landscapes are also a lot easier to achieve with palette knives. Basically, these painting techniques are ideal for a rough blend of a multitude of colors.

Special painting knives

As you progress with your palette knife painting techniques, you might want to invest in special painting knives. Though similar to the actual palette knives, painting knives have bended handles which prevent the artist from touching the canvas with their fingers when painting with the knife. This type of knives are not indispensable but they can make it easier for you to apply different palette knife painting techniques, so that one day, you can achieve mind blowing art like the one featured above.