Hi, I'm Mary Kemp, passionate painter of anything to do with the seaside.
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Saturday, 25 January 2014

Palette Knife Painting. The Upside and the Downside.

Yesterday as I was using a palette knife to add a hefty smear of buff titanium to my latest painting I got to thinking about the pros and cons of this way of working.
Pros:
It's quick.
Adds texture to the surface.
No washing of brushes.
Cons.
Uses a lot of paint.
Not terribly accurate.

The beige and burnt sienna painted with palette knife.
Using a palette knife can add variety to how you work and gives a mark that no amount of brushwork can do. Here I've used it like buttering bread. The texture of the surface is rough so that affects the mark it makes. A smoother surface will see a greater spread.
If you make a mark with the blade you will get a sharp straight edge, often thicker at one end than the other.
There are many sizes and shapes of palette knives. It pays to buy from a good art supplier. I bought several very cheaply and all were rigid and unresponsive. The one in the photo is from Daler Rowney. It's springy and feels good.
I'm not a fan of paintings wholly completed by palette knife, I think they leave too much to chance, but every so often a well aimed smear is just the job.

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