25 Palette Knife Painting Ideas

A palette knife is a painting tool used by professional painters to apply thick paint onto the canvas. Using a palette knife gives painters the freedom of control that they don’t have with other painting utensils. You can use a flat palette knife, or if you are looking for more texture in your work, try an impasto technique. There are wonderful ways to create texture; impasto certainly creates texture by packing onto the canvas with a palette knife. It is a great medium for anyone looking to create quick, dramatic paintings with minimal effort. However, sometimes you don’t know what to paint with it. You need palette knife painting ideas.

This article will give you 25 palette knife painting ideas that will help you to get on your way to becoming a master painter. As a bonus, the richly textured surfaces that the palette knife creates make the paintings you produce pleasing to touch and very tactile. You can also get some great texture effects that you won’t be able to achieve with other painting tools. It’s not for everyone, but if you love expressive painting, the palette knife is well worth experimenting with.

History of Palette Knife Painting

Professional palette knife and brush on canvas
Credit: http://afremov.com/

The use of palette knives in painting has a long history, with some of history’s best painters using them. However, it has only been used to create isolated effects and other painting tools for a long time. In examples such as Titian’s and Rembrandt’s, the Renaissance painters used palette knives in a few of their paintings, but to call them “palette knife paintings” would be inaccurate.

The 19th century brought about a rethinking of Western artistic conventions when palette knives became more widely used as an essential tool in painting. It is widely regarded that the French painter Gustave Courbet popularized palette knife painting through his landscapes. The tool was also used by painters of the 19th century such as Cezanne, Van Gogh, Pissaro, Chagall, and Matisse.

Artists began to focus less on perfectly representing reality and more on expressing mood, light, and color, which led to palette knives becoming increasingly popular and abstract paintings becoming more widespread.

How to Palette Knife Painting

Step 1: Mix Your Paints

palette knife color mixing

Palette knives allow you to mix thick oil or acrylic paint more precisely than paintbrushes since they will enable you to control the amounts of each color. Create the color combinations and variations that you desire on a smooth palette by mixing the paints. If you paint with a palette knife instead of a brush, you will probably go through more paint, so be sure to keep plenty on hand.

Step 2: Practice with Swatches

palette knife painting swatch practice

A skill that needs to be practiced when learning palette knife painting is getting different textures. On a practice swatch, use a palette knife to apply paint. Try different scraping, sweeping, and dabbing motions using different pressures and pressures.

Step 3: Paint on Canvas

palette knife painting

You are able to paint directly onto a canvas if you already have a painting in progress that you are working on with paintbrushes. A preliminary pencil sketch of your painting is a good way to guide you as you start working on a blank canvas. You may not need as much detail if you’re making an abstract palette knife painting.

The first layer should not be too thick when you begin painting with a palette knife. Too much paint on the first layer may crack, peel, or even never fully dry, so build it up slowly instead. 

25 Palette Knife Painting Ideas

Painting with a palette knife is an exciting and refreshing way to paint, giving bold, broad, and spontaneous strokes that stick. The technique is often used in Impressionist paintings, but today it’s used by thousands of artists working in all genres of art. Palette knife painting is a very creative technique you will fall in love with from the first stroke. Grab your creativity and let your imagination go wild to produce beautiful paintings with the help of these 25 palette knife painting ideas below.

1. Sunflower Palette Knife Oil Painting

textured sunflower painting
Credit: pinterest.com

The photo above is a sunflower palette knife oil painting. Yes, painting oil on canvas with a palette knife is possible. Sunflower palette knife oil painting is so easy; you can almost smell this flower with beautiful colors. It also does not take as much time to complete as some of the other paintings we have on this blog.

2. Poppy Flower Impasto With Acrylic Paint

poppy field painting
Credit: Tiffany Horrocks

This poppy flower impasto painting is made using a palette knife and acrylic paint. Acrylic paint painting was created by the British artist Celia Mckenzie. The Poppy Impasto is an example of a flower painting in which paint has been applied with a palette knife instead of brushes or dipping. Painting with a palette knife gives the painter a chance to create texture and depth.

3. Water Lilies Palette Knife Painting

white water lilies
Credit: Olga Tkachyk

Water lilies palette knife painting can be one of the most relaxing and beautiful palettes knife painting ideas you might want to try. Imagine a palette knife painting of water lilies in vibrant yellow, blue, and green colors. It looks so serene to have such art on your walls. The sun rays from its golden rays fall beautifully into the waters onto the lily pads.

4. Sea Wave

wave falling on rock
Credit: Han

Palette knife painting always gives a different look than a brush. The strokes are not obvious, and the texture is great to layer upon layer. This painting is about sea waves, it is a typical landscape art. You will get close to nature in this painting. And the waves in the sea represent the endless strength of nature.

5. Green Roadside Trees

green tree forest
Credit: etsy.com

Take a look at this roadside green trees palette knife painting, and it is really divine and remarkable. Trees make a great painting idea for beginners and experienced artists alike. The roadside scene is certainly a colorful green one.

6. Flower Vase Painting

colorful flowers on vase
Credit: Marchella

palette knife painting ideas can be done by painting a beautiful flower vase on a plain-looking vase. Simple things like this can really make a difference in adding some color and personality to your room. And all you need to get this done is a little patience, some creativity, and of course, a palette knife

7. Sailboat on the Sea

textured sailboat palette knife painting
Credit: Leonid Afremov

Painting a sailboat on the sea is an easy to do palette knife painting idea. This is an inspiring painting for those who want to paint the calm sea. Sailboats on the sea provide a stunning backdrop for the painting. You can use palette knives to paint the water, sky, and boat.

8. A Boat

yellow colors boat
Credit: Leslie Saeta

A boat painting is a fun idea because it can become anything you want. Painted with a palette knife on an unstretched canvas, you can create this boat scene in any color or style. There are many things that can inspire you when it comes to painting a boat. It can be an actual lake scene or simply the feeling of being on a boat that you want to capture.

9. Bright Tulips

multicolor tulip flowers palette knife painting
Credit: etsy.com

The bright tulips painting idea is truly a great opportunity for self creativity and will add special beauty to your interior. Paint some pretty tulips with bright colors. Super bright, with soft edges and a palette knife touch of soft graduations at the petals. Brightness, cheery, and optimism that’s how your painting must look.

10. Summer Beach

colorful umbrella on the sea beach
Credit: fineartamerica.com

If you spend your time on the beach, try out something different this year. Using a palette knife can bring a whole new dimension to your paintings. Beach painting is one of the wonderful artworks to make in this season. The colors, that windy beach, and the shades of blues and greens. The colors are brilliant in this painting, as you can see for yourself.

11. Orange Blossom

orange garden knife painting
Credit: wayfair.com

Orange blossom palette knife painting is a great summer activity. It takes little time to set up and is a lot of fun painting with a palette knife. It’s easy to get started and doesn’t require many supplies. The best thing about this technique is that it’s pretty forgiving, and you can achieve some great effects, no matter your level of experience.

12. Coneflower and Hummingbird Impasto

hummingbird collecting food from flower
Credit: etsy.com

This coneflower and hummingbird painting was done with a palette knife. A photograph of a hummingbird actually inspired this painting. The colors are very bright, and they look just like real flowers and birds. Palette knife painting is a technique often used in paintings of landscapes but it can also be used in more abstract paintings due to its strength in color application.  This painting would make a great gift for someone who likes to enjoy nature looking at hummingbirds.

13. Seascape Painting

green mountains sea beach
Credit: Olga Tkachyk

Seascape palette knife paintings are a fantastic alternative to traditional seascape paintings. It’s hard to resist the texture and beauty of these paintings. Seascapes have always held a fascination for me. From the colors of the sea at daybreak to the way fishers haul in their nets at sunset, there is never a shortage of inspiration when painting seaside scenes.

14. Colorful Sunset

sunset on the sea
Credit: Aisha Turlybekova

The sunset is one of the most beautiful and amazing things in nature. Each sunset is different. A wonderful color is created on the horizon as the sunsets. That is almost magical. Colorful sunset painting is a very effective way to bring color into your life.

15. A Pear

pear palette knife painting
Credit: Kim Perry Studio

A pear painting is an idea that requires the use of a palette knife. Pears are beautiful, juicy, and are found in many orchards. They come in different shapes and sizes, just like people who look different from one another. But, no matter how big or small, dark or light, how red or green they are, find out how you can paint a pear close to your heart with the help of a palette knife.

16. Hot Red Chili

three red chilli
Credit: etsy.com

Painting is a very interesting process. It requires the creativity to create one’s own canvas and paint. It is often more challenging than you think, but at the same time, it gives fun and relaxation in the long run. This palette knife chili painting gives the picture muscular movement, texture, and color variation.

17. Landscape Impasto Palette Knife Painting

flower field landscape textured painting
Credit: mymodernmet.com

Nothing beats the beauty of a green landscape and the open field. There is something so beautiful about landscapes. Landscapes are popular but need a very light touch to capture the mood of the scene. Don’t forget the sky; small details like trees and small areas of color can make your painting come alive. Don’t just paint everything in green and brown because landscapes always contain color. It is up to you to find these colors within the landscape.

18. Mountain Palette Knife Painting

colorful mountain
Credit: etsy.com

Mountain palette knife painting is a great way to add some rock-solid dominance to your artwork. The mountain is a common subject for any artist. From the force and magnitude of its presence, we find a lot of inspiration within it. Paintings of mountains usually invoke wonder and curiosity.

19. Abstract Tree

a palm tree knife painting
Credit: Dustijoyner

Abstract tree painting is an inspiring and uplifting painting style. Painting in general is a pure form of art. The beauty and creativity involved in visual arts are beyond words to describe. This makes the art industry very lucrative, especially when it comes to modern art and mainly abstract tree palette knife painting, which is a trend these days all over the world.

20. Autumn Landscape

fall seasons forest painting
Credit: fineartamerica.com

An autumn landscape painting is a perfect way to relieve stress after a hot summer. Painting an autumn landscape with a palette knife can be a tricky subject to paint. Since only the colors of the landscape provide the painting with shape and dimension, the tree line and background must be painted with a light hand. The trees should be soft lines of color that fade into the background.

21. Cherry Blossom Tree

pink cherry blossom flower
Credit: etsy.com

Cherry blossom tree is a palette knife painting idea, and this beautiful painting will look great in any home or office. It is a classic canvas art, and it is easy to paint using a palette knife. You need only red, white, black, and pink colors for this artwork.

22. Colorful Eye

beautiful colored eye painting
Credit: artfido.com

Palette knives are commonly used for blending paint and paint layers together. They’re also great for creating bold strokes or applying thick globs of paint onto your canvas. One of these techniques is eye painting, which can look really amazing and add a really neat effect to your painting.

23. Abstract Face Shape

abstract women face
Credit: Zandra McGraw

Painterly paintings with abstract face shape, texture, and color are created with a palette knife and acrylic paint. The use of vibrant, contrasting colors on a monochrome surface is explored.

24. Abstract Guitar Knife Painting

blue guitar painting
Credit: fineartamerica.com

This abstract guitar painting is a great way to push outside your style and paint something you’d never normally paint. This abstract guitar painting was painted using palette knives, texture paste, and acrylic paint. Light and dark blues make up this abstract guitar painting. Adding oranges allows you to capture the reflection of the light source in your mind’s eye. Try out this painting for yourself as it is a fun one to do.

25. Pair of Shoes

palette knife painting idea
Credit: dailypaintworks.com

This is a painting of a pair of sneakers using a palette knife. A palette knife is a flat, broad-bladed utensil used in painting. It has many uses in both traditional and non-traditional paintings. Such as applying paint and mixing colors on the canvas, stirring paint for color mixing, and applying textures to the surface.

Final Words

These palette knife painting ideas stimulate creativity and the use of imagination. It’s hard to say exactly what might make a painting successful in the eyes of someone who hasn’t seen it, but any attempt at bringing life to a work can be considered a success. For anyone who loves color and likes to use various colors in their art, palette knife painting is sure to inspire confidence.

Painting with the knife can be a bit challenging at first. However, when you get the hang of it, you’ll find that you can do some pretty amazing things with this simple little tool. Give these 25 palette knife painting ideas a try and see what happens.

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