Impasto Painting and Palette Knives

May 6, 2021

This week, we’ll dig into the (sometimes unconventional) tools of the trade with a special focus on palette knives and impasto style painting. Read on to discover new techniques.

The Importance of Impasto Painting in Art

Still thinking about how to replicate the still life in mashed potatoes? If so, you might want to consider finding a spatula and brushing up on your impasto techniques. Impasto is a form of painting in which the paint is applied to the surface in very thick layers, usually so thick that the brush or palette knife strokes are visible.

Impasto is a great way to add texture and depth. There are so many great examples of impasto by famous artists such as Rembrandt, as well as his contemporaries like Frans Hals and Diego Velàzquez, and others such as Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh. There is also a British artist whose work is so thick and heavy that it's difficult to hang on gallery walls. Read on to find out who it is>>

Demonstration of Knife Painting by Christian Jequel

In this tutorial, French artist, Christian Jequel, demonstrates his exceptional intuition for movement and expression. We selected this example partly because of the incredible palette knife work, but also for the dynamic and rhythmic manner in which he allows music to inform his artmaking. The entire session is set to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor. It’s a perfect alignment of music and movement!

Painting with Palette Knives

Confused about which shape of painting knife to use? In this video, Dianne Mize talks about basic ways of applying paint with a knife, from how to pick up the paint,  how to "pull" and "push" across the canvass, and other applications for using trowel and straight shaped knives to create lines and texture.

11 cool art supplies you didn't know existed.

Did you know that there is such a thing as special effect palette knives? We didn’t either! How about glitter watercolor? Sarah Barnes from My Modern Met has compiled a list of amazing tools to help with everything from precision to keeping your working surface clean.