All images on this site are copyright 2018 © Sergio Lopez. No content found on this website can be reproduced for financial gain without written consent by the owner of the copyright.

painting the figure

IN OILS

module 1: supplies

E: palette Knives and other tools

a. Palette knives

RGM/Loew-Cornell

Very common to find at many art stores. Loew-cornell and Holbein make a very similar palette knife. Whichever brand you choose is up to you. Just get one that has a metal blade with a sturdy handle. Stay away from the all-plastic palette knives if you can help it. My preferred shape for most palette knives is teardrop-shaped. It's versatile. You can use it to move piles of color from one part of your palette to another. You can use it to apply paint to the surface and it's a way to give your paint application a different look. The application is thicker, you can move paint around scrape it off with the palette knife as well. You can do a lot with it.

I would say if you were to choose one other tool besides a brush, I would choose this palette knife.

Liquitex Freestyle

It's a little bit cheaper than the RGM because the handle is plastic, but I believe that it handles in a pretty similar fashion. The blade might not be quite as flexible but if you want to save a couple bucks, Liquitex freestyle is fine. Depending on what you end up wanting to do with your palette knife, it's nice to have different varieties of shapes for what you want to do. One that is completely flat-edged I will sometimes use for painting. I like to use it to paint in a planar fashion. It's not as good for moving paint around on your canvas or on your palette so I mainly use it as a painting knife.

To clean off a dried palette knife, you can take a razor blade to them and just scrape off anything dried. Because they are metal, you can just scrape it off and not harm the actual surface.

My largest palette knife is almost a spatula. I've used it for all sorts of different things, but the latest application was to apply gesso to a canvas. You can also paint with it.

Palette knives are very versatile. They are the second most popular paint application tool besides brushes, so I recommend picking one up.