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How did you learn to knife paint?

(Patricia J. Powers) #1

Is there a right way to paint with a knife? I have some good knives that I have been using to push paint around, but am never sure if this is correct. I haven’t found much on YouTube or at the library. If this is a mostly self taught endeavor, that’s where I’m at.

(Joseph Mahon) #2

Hi Patricia, it’s one of those areas in art that information is often vague at best. Yet, in the online art stores there is an array of painting knives up to 1 to150 or so. I use a palette knife a lot in my oil painting and I mostly use a small RGM make, and whether I am using it the correct way or not, makes little difference if I get the effect I want. I reckon three is the most one would need, a no. 20, 81 and a 109.

(Patricia J. Powers) #3

Thanks Joe. It is indeed strange that more hasn’t been written about these tools. I think I’ll just keep on with my various swipes and slashes!

(Padmaja Madhu) #4

Hi Patricia,
I paint with knife mostly, I am happy with an inexpensive plastic knife that can be wiped clean, and I follow my instinct to apply the paint in a way that gives me the result that I am looking for. I love the knife better than the brush but I need to make sure that I dont get addicted to the knife and not use brush at all! Here is a link to a knife technique that I have enjoyed. Hope you like it too.
Trying to give the link on my ipad…


(Patricia J. Powers) #5

Thanks Padmaja, I just looked at his video and it’s the best I’ve seen.

(Patricia Barnes) #6

I prefer using pieces of cardboard over palette knives–easier to control. Cut up matting is a nice weight to use.

(Elisabeth Seeger) #7

I think Leslie Saeta paints with a knife and teache’s that too - you might check out her site: Lesliesaeta.com


(Aimee Deneweth) #8

One of my favorite oil painting books also addresses palette knife painting as a technique. It’s Arthur Stern’s How to See Color and Paint It. There are some great exercises in this book and I often recommend to students. This was reprinted this year and now easy to find to Amazon.

Susan Sarback’s Capturing Radiant Color in Oils is another (only a few dollars on Amazon.)

My personal favorite knives are the RGM soft grip palette knives and old cut up plastic cards. Cheers and happy knife painting! Aimee

(Cristina García) #9

Hi Scarlet, good to find this website.
I wonder if somebody can help me with this:
I just bought the book “how to see color and paint it”, was starting with the first exercise. Turns out pages 39 to 42 are missing, takes 3 weeks to get another one!
Would somebody send me pictures of these pages ??


(Jacqueline Davis) #10

I took a course from Leslie Saeta!

I don’t use a palette knife very much but it’s always useful to have another string to your bow.

The best thing is, like everything just to have a go and practice. Leslie uses smooth gessobord rather than canvas as she says it is easier to move the paint around. She doesn’t use many knives, just a small, medium and large.

She does online classes if you cant get to one of her workshops.

(Nan Johnson) #11

There are quite a few video’s on youTube for palette knife painting. Check there, videos range from demonstrations to how-to’s.