Brush vs. Palette Knife

alla prima pepper - painted with a brush

alla prima pepper - painted with a palette knife

I’ve begun experimenting with a palette knife. After years of being intrigued by paintings done in a heavy impasto style, I finally decided to give it a try. I used a palette knife on the sky of one of my large cityscapes and really liked the textured effect it added to the painting. Yesterday, I used a palette knife to paint the green pepper above. Painting an object with defined shapes vs.  something more fluid like a sky or water with a knife is challenging, but I can see where it can push the abstract element of a piece even further than a large brush.

The red pepper was done with a 1/2″ angled flat brush, using bold, efficient strokes. It is similar in feeling to the knife painting, but has a little bit more control. I could see using both brush and palette knife in a single painting, combining the effects seems like a great way to make the most of both tools. Once I am done with the paintings for my upcoming exhibits, I think I will try a few knife/brush combination paintings on a variety of subjects. It might be the jump to the next level I feel like I’ve been close to with much of my recent work.


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