Painting knives are certainly great tools for contemporary artists using impasto techniques. Some form of the painting knife has been in use for centuries. In painting frescos, artists used iron, wood, or bone trowels, as well as some form of a trimming knife or ivory stylus. The idea was to have a set of tools that would hold up in the lime, being neither curled or burned. Of course, the trowel was an essential tool used by masons in construction of the great cathedrals of Europe. Besides their use in applying paint, painting knives are great for removing freshly applied or incorrectly mixed paint. In some techniques, paint layers are applied thickly, and then removed intentionally so that they create interesting textures that cannot be achieved otherwise. Although they are made of steel, painting knives are thin and should be handled with care so to not be bent. They are a great addition to any artist’s collection of tools.
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