Tutorial, How To Create Your Own Painting With A Palette Knife.

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How to create Your own painting with palette knives

How to create your own painting with a palette knife. Many of you may have read my previous blogs and teaching videos. Hopefully learning to paint in Oil Paint or Acrylics. But this one I have created for you. To give you the opportunity, of creating a painting that you will be proud of. This may be a copy of my video tutorial. But it will be your painting !! created by you. Yours will certainly be a variation of mine. Because it is almost impossible to copy with a palette knife. And so it will definitely be your painting.


Tutorial, How to create your own painting with a palette knife. Since time began, artists have copied others work. Rubens was one of the most prolific, and he began learning to paint by copying  earlier Dutch artists work. So I do not want you concern yourself with the not copying dilemma. We learn by copying. As normally that work you copy is admired by you, be it photograph or a painting. Thus you will absorb his or her techniques with enjoyment. So I hope that you enjoy the experience of producing yours of mine !!


1 You will need a canvas or board 500mmx 400mm or (16″x 12″) stretched and the wedges fitted to tighten the canvas. If you are using board, it must be primed with guesso on both sides. As it will warp if not. If you are using a board purchased from an art shop, this should already be prepared.

An Easel

2 An easel to rest it on to paint, any type will do. As long as you are comfortable when painting. Make sure your canvas is well secured on your easel before beginning to paint.

A Palette

3 A Palette, now this important advice, since my last blog almost a year ago, I have travelled the counties, giving demonstrations and work shops, and have found that most people do not come prepared with the correct tools, or materials etc

Pay Attention to buying the correct tools and paints to work with

IE small palettes, not enough paint, paint that has hardened in the tube, palette knives and hardened  brushes that are unusable, and incorrect for the painting to be produced. You must look after your materials and tools, they are expensive, and you will always want to get the best out of them.

A Palette

You need a largish palette for palette knife work, it doesn’t have to be shop bought, you can use a board or a plastic dinner tray, if you use a board, make sure it is sealed, as the paint will dry quicker if it isn’t, and it will make it difficult to use when painting. it wants to be as large as you can manage, so that you can spread and mix your paint before using it on the canvas. And you certainly will need enough paint to produce your painting.


Tutorial, how to create your own painting with a palette knife. For this painting, whether it be oil paint, or acrylics. You will need colours as follows. Titanium White, Flake White, Cadmium Yellow Hue, Cadmium Orange Hue, Cadmium Yellow Dark Hue, Pains Grey, Sap Green, French Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Viridian Green ,Paynes Grey and Curilian Blue, and a Purple or Violet to your choice.

I normally paint with Windsor and Newton Students oil colours, but you can use any make of your choice, and buy the relevant colours as near as possible to those I have mentioned above. be it oil paint or acrylic.

Palette Knives

5 For this particular painting, you will need a small palette knife , a medum one , and a larger one, all need to be comfortable to use. anything similar to those shown below.

If you haven’t already read my previous articles within my website, please consider reading this one below

Palette Knife Painting, Stage One.

How To Create Your Own Painting With A Palette Knife

The Painting is set in the evening sunshine, with a wind and dust blowing around.

First you have to put in your drawing, it might be best to find a photograph of some horses to give you an idea of relativity, but it is not imperative that you do, if you look at my painting you will see that the figures take up half of the canvas, leaving approximately a quarter at the top and also at the bottom, so it might be an idea to draw some lines in the two positions, where the head of the rider is, and the feet of the horses, please understand, Palette knife work, is a resemblance of the subject that you are painting, its abstract work, and doesn’t have to be picture perfect, so relax when you are painting, you may be pleasantly surprised by your skills and your results.

Be Sparing When You Use White Paint.

Ok so first we create the sky. One discipline I would like you to adopt, is avoid putting white paint directly into your painting, If you recall from my last blogs, White, especially Titanium White is your sunshine, and should be the brightest colour in your palette, even adding a little pains grey to white will dull it, and when you lay it on the canvas, it will show as white.

White Deadens Some Colours When Mixing

which still leaves room for a brighter colour, White deadens colours, and in many cases spoils there vibrance, so its not always white you need to lighten a colour, look for a lighter colour of the same family to add to your colour, I will explain this in a later blog.

The Sky

Cadmium Orange Hue and Flake White.

Mixing the bright sky colour. As follows in the video below., the paint you use, is Flake White and Cadmium Yellow Pale Hue, firstly squeeze paint onto your palette, keeping them far apart, so that the colours dont mix before you want them too. Then add a little (Not Too Much) of the Cadmium yellow Hue, then mix well together, until it becomes a lovely creamy mix, try and avoid any of the paint not mixing  together. mix until you are satisfied with the colour, as per the video below.

Then add it to your canvas. Being bold and lay it all over the top part of the canvas. But not to thick !! You will note how I do it in the first Video below.

Mixing the Grey for the sky

Use whatever Palette knife you are comfortable for this stage. I adapted mine from a Kitchen Cake spatula, it was very pliant and bendy. Which is what you need when palette knife painting. Although watch out, many are not.

The first colour is Pains Grey, just mix it with the Flake white.  Then bring it to a consistancy similar to mixing the cream sky as before. Do try and keep the colour a little dark, as per my painting. Once you have added the grey. Add the greeny bluey grey mix. If you note there is no set method. Just be bold and slap it on all over.

Creating your own painting with a palate knife

If when you are laying on the paint. Something happens that looks good. LEAVE IT.  Now add a little more Paynes grey to the greeny mix, and apply it to the bottom of the sky. Again no set pattern, just slap it on all over. Now take a little of the left over creamy white mix that you used in the beginning. Apply it as i have done in my video. I have left the video in normal speed for you to study, You may find it a little long. But stick with it, as It is very important for you to study the video and get your sky to your satisfaction. As it determines what the finished painting turn out like. But it also foretells the excitement that is to come when you begin to add the figures

Colours needed for the sky

If you look at the painting above at the beginning of my blog, the sky is a greeny bluey grey, so to get to this colour, you add small amounts to your taste. Of Viridian Green, Flake White, Curillian Blue, Paynes Grey, and a little French Ultramarine together as per the short video link below. Mix until you are happy with your colour, When you look out of your window, the sky is ever changing, and the colour you mix is your sky, And I am sure you will see a sky like it sometime. When we go Plein Air. In my future blogs, we will see many different coloured skies. now remember, don’t use to much paint to mix in the beginning. Just mix small amounts to find the preferred colour. And then step it up to the amount you need. Adjusting your mix as you have done with the small amount.

Mixing the greeny bluey colour for the sky Link.

Now enjoy the video below, Observation is the word, you can stop it and start at any point. Taking in the method as you go.

Video of Forming the Sky

Laying in the ground colour

The ground colour is just burnt umber, again just slap it on as per my video below.

Very near the end. You add a little of the creamy sky mix. Just to denote the ground cover. Then you begin to enter the horseman, take it slowly, as mistakes now will be costly to the finished painting. I don’t normally draw in my figures at this stage. As I refer back in my mind for my original drawing, at the beginning. But I have drawn them in for you. to give you the confidence of painting the figures. As you will be able to follow your drawing. And my video.

Now we Are on to the figures and horses

NOW FOR THE EXCITING PART. In part three we will enter the figures and the horses, but to do this, I need a MINOR commitment from you. YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS. to enable me to inform you. As I publish new Blogs and Tutorials in the future, you will find the registration link for your email is at the top of the page. Thank You for reading and using my Blog.

If you haven’t read my previous blogs, go to the link below, I am sure there are some valuable points, to assist you to become more adept at Creating your own paintings with a palette knife.

How To Paint With Palette Knives

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