*Top 5* Reasons to Try Painting with Palette Knives

There are 5 GRAND reasons for using palette knives instead of brushes when painting in oils. It certainly is worth naming them, for those of you who might have entertained the idea of using knives in the past. Before we get down to it, I’d like to share with you my new painting, called “Sparkles.” I’ve also included a detail shot for a closer inspection 🙂 :



Sparkles.  11×14 Oils on canvas



1. You can paint more loose

With using brushes, it is common to feel the pressure to add in a lot of detail. Because of that, your painting process can feel rigid and formulaic. When using palette knives, or “painting knives” as they are commonly called, you can be more loose and free. This is because you CAN’T achieve great detail with a knife blade, so it opens you up to get more expressive with your style.

2. You can mix colors directly on your canvas

This is a great benefit with using knives instead of brushes. As a palette-knife painter, you can mix all of your colors right onto the canvas as you are painting instead of having to pre-mix them on your palette before application. This also allows you to paint more loosely, not to mention all the time it saves!

3. It gives your work texture

Since knives don’t absorb the oil paint, it all ends up on the support. As you build up these layers of thick paint, your art starts to take on a life of its own! By going back through the mounds of color, you can create striking textures not possible using a paint brush. 3-D art, anyone?

4. You paintings look more like paintings

When I was using brushes to paint my seascapes, I tried to make my art look photo-realistic. I wanted my work to look as life-like as possible. If you go to my website and look at my realistic paintings, you will see what I am talking about. http://www.ryankimbaart.com/   Since switching to painting knives, however, my paintings look more like paintings. They are more abstract and expressive. This has really helped me find a “voice” within my work. You can now tell that my palette-knife paintings were created by the same artist, which is what branding is all about.

5. Clean-up is a breeze!

And lastly, clean-up is not a treacherous debacle. It is far more quick and painless. No longer are there filthy brushes or solvents to worry about. In fact, all that is required is to wipe off the knife blades with paper towel in between each individual color you apply. So I guess you can say that clean up is on the go, as you are painting to and fro! This is probably the nicest plus to using palette knives.

Well, I hope you enjoyed my list and that it might inspire you to pick up some knives and experiment. So much of being an artist is finding what works for you and seeing what is out there. There is a fine artist I have been following for a couple of years  who also uses palette knives, quite WELL, I might add! Her name is Leslie Saeta, host of Artists Helping Artists on Blog Talk Radio. Check out her art at https://www.saetastudio.com/oil-paintings.html

I’ll see you next time, my fellow art enthusiasts, where I will be talking about why I love to paint the sea. I will also be heading down to Florida over Labor Day weekend to get some much needed relaxation and inspiration, but I’ll be sure to say goodbye before I go!

Until next week,






Author: ryankimba

I am a beach artist specializing in palette knife paintings. My works are colorful, vibrant, and richly textured! I am also big into personal development.

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