20 Jun 2023Mont Marte

Looking to try palette knife painting? Or just looking for ideas to get started? Either way, we’ve rounded up 21 palette knife painting ideas to kickstart your next creative project.

1. The grandmaster

1. An oil painting of a grandmaster piano with a light reflection on the side painted with a palette knife.

Image: artbyknife


Not only an interesting subject matter, but we’re also loving the nice light reflection onto the piano too. This oil painting using palette knives shows you just how much detail and texture is possible to create when you swap the brushes for a knife.


2. A starry night

2. Van Gogh inspired starry night artwork layed on top of a book with a palette knife next to it.

Image: felicia_artish 


We reckon this Vincent Van Gogh inspired artwork and palette knife painting idea, is sure to get your creative juices flowing! Palette knifes are available in a range of different sizes, so if you’re looking to create smaller lines, it’s best to choose a smaller knife with either a rounded or square edge, depending on the line length you’re looking for.


3. A beach sunset

 3. A pink sunset seascape artwork made with palette knives sitting on a table with paper towel next to it.

Image: sharonrynehart.artist


Palette knives are great for spreading paint smoothly across the canvas, making seascapes an absolute delight to create. So next time you’re looking for painting ideas with a palette knife, take a dive into the sea.


4. Mixed-media approach

4. A turquoise and purple abstract drip painting, made with textured palette knives and oil pastel details.

Image: accidental_artist_becks

Looking to take your palette knife paintings up a notch? Try a mixed media approach like this and use oil pastels to increase the vibrancy and energy to your work.


5. Adding texture

5. A textured acrylic abstract painting with various colours.


Image: bhart13


Not sure how to approach a new artwork? Use a palette knife’s smooth edge and let it skip off the canvas to create a unique texture to your abstracts, like this palette knife painting idea. Experiment with colours and see what magic you can create.


6. Leonid Afremov inspired park scene

6. Leonid Afremov inspired park scene painting created using palette knives.


If landscapes are more your cup of tea, but you’re not too sure where to start, then try this fun impressionist style project. We’ve created all the steps so you can follow along and create it yourself too, check it out here.


7. Try the oils

7. A textured landscape painting made with a palette knife and oil paints.

Image: willow.gentile.art


If you’re into the oils then why not create an oil painting using palette knives? A landscape is a great place to start, and we’ll let you in on a little secret, they’re a lot easier to clean than brushes too, find out how to clean a palette knife.


8. Petrol station

8. A fuel station at night time painted in oil paints on a wooden board.


Image: artbyknife

How’s this for a fun subject matter? An ordinary place like a petrol station is a great for finding inspiration for your next palette knife painting.


9. Direction

9. An abstract artwork created with a palette knife of a tunnel.


Image: shemidixon


If you’re new to abstracts or not too sure where to take your artwork, try using directional lines. Keep layering your paints and keep the direction the same for this expressive art effect.


10. Fruit

10. An oil painting of a red apple created on a board using a palette knife.


Image: art_is_strange_studio

Fruit have long been the source of inspiration for paintings throughout the decades and palette knives are no exception. Next time you’re oil painting using a palette knife, try blocking in your areas or apply the paint at different angles to build up a textured effect.


11. Francoise Nielly Inspired Portrait

11. A Francoise Nielly inspired portrait of a woman painted with a palette knife.

If you’re looking for something new to try, but still love capturing the details in your art, try this Francoise Nielly inspired portrait project. The best part? We’ll tell you everything you need to know and you can follow along here.


12. Try something arcane

12. Portrait of a man with wide, bloodshot eyes created using palette knives.


Image: fernanda.ceron.art

If bright and bold portraits don’t excite you, then try something a little spooky. Exaggerating features like eyes and mouths can totally change the look and feel of the portrait. And you can create these feelings without brushes too. This artist created a whole series of works using just palette knives, showing it can be done!


13. A nightscape

13. A nightscape of a city building painted plein air style.


Image:  eleanor.alison.artist


Nightscapes are great palette knife painting ideas and they’re a lot of fun too. This was painted plein air style in Norwich, UK in an hour and a half! The artist had to work quickly to capture the details and brave the cold at the same time. We reckon she’s done a great job! Try plein air painting in the evening or snap a picture of a nightscape and create it at home.


14. Mountains

14. An oil painting of the mountains with a blue sky and snow on the alps.


Image: adrienneleishmanart

Why not try creating a mountain landscape the next time you’re feeling creative? Palette knives are great for blocking in paint and getting those nice thick lines that you’d expect from a mountain.


15. Whatever the weather

Image: smacdonald_art https://www.instagram.com/p/CHP5lIVFblg/   Playing with the weather in your palette knife paintings is also a fun way to add a whole new look and feel to your art. Think stormy seas like this or foggy clouds or a bright orange sunrise.

Image: smacdonald_art

Playing with the weather in your palette knife paintings is also a fun way to add a whole new look and feel to your art. Think stormy seas like this or foggy clouds or a bright orange sunrise.


16. Colour studies

16. An abstract colour study of Aspen landscape.


Image: martinbeauchampart


Did you know you can create colour studies using palette knives too? Add in what you can see and work quickly using gestural marks with a knife instead of a brush.

Looking for tips? Check out our palette knife painting tips for some pointers.


17. Textured chillies

17. A textured acrylic painting of various chillis in red and orange.


Image: dasonluoart

For texture that’s good enough to eat, you’ll need to grab a palette knife. Mix impasto in with your acrylics to thicken the paint before playing around with how you spread it. You can spread it like you would butter on bread or press the knife onto the canvas at varying angles. The idea is just to have fun with it, we’ll leave the rest up to you!


18. Mini masterpieces

18. Twelve mini canvases with various colour studies painted with a palette knife and joined together.


Image: cristianabruscoart

Not sure if you’re wanting to create a large scale work just yet? Try experimenting with mini canvases like this small palette knife painting idea. Create a whole bunch or just a few, either way, they look wonderful all joined together.


19. Paints and palette knives

19. A palette knife painting with texture, of paint tubes and palette knives in a yellow mug.


Image: gsuverart

Sometimes inspiration can be right in front of your eyes. We love the idea of painting a simple still life of paint tubes and palette knives and turning it into a masterpiece. 


20. An armchair

20. A heavily textured palette knife painting of an armchair


Image: bryson_mode

Still stuck? How about an armchair? Add in the finer details like light using various hues of colour and just have fun building up layers!


21. Lots of layers

21. An abstract artwork with coloured layers scrached back.


Image: luciirisfaer

Palette knives are great for scratching back layers too. Apply layers of paint or impasto, then have fun scratching each layer back to reveal the colours underneath.



Looking for more? You can browse our range of palette knives here or check out our guide to Mont Marte palette knives.


We hope that you feel inspired to create your own palette knife painting.  Try it for yourself and #montmarteart or tag us @montmarteart on Instagram or Facebook, we’d love to see what you create.