Art tips Blog- A beginners guide to oil painting

17 Block Blog Tutorial , by Helen BlairScreenshot 2016-02-24 14.13.13

Hello and Welcome, I  adding to this blog every few weeks explaining techniques in getting started with oil painting. This one is about painting knives and their uses, I hope it is of help to you.

How to Paint with Knives

If you are bored with your brushes and looking to add an extra dimension to your paintings, knives might just be the answer.

For artists who have only ever worked with brushes, making the transition to painting with knives can be a difficult one. After the soft sweep of a brush, the relatively rigid handling of a blade can feel harsh and unwieldy. It is worth persevering though, as it can make a striking addition to your skills.

You will find two main types of knife in art stores: ‘palette’ knives and painting knives, a palette knife is straight, like a large butter knife, while a painting knife will have a ‘crank’, or bend in the metal before the blade.

Thicker consistencies make for more dramatic results , the best textures are formed by confident, direct strokes, so be careful not to overwork areas or you will diminish the impact.

The use of painting knives helps add a new dimension to your painting: texture. Subtle contrasts can be achieved with a painting knife, such as angular marks to suggest rocks in a landscape, laid down next to flat, sweeping spreads of paint for the sky. Make sure you are working with good lighting.

I like to use the diamond and rounder shaped ones the best, the longer ones are good for cleaning your palette board or for doing larger areas of canvas.  Have fun and experiment with it, thats the best way to learn to use them.