Essential to any oil or acrylic painter’s practice is a great palette knife or spatula.

Artists employ them to combine colours, pastes and other materials, and they can also be used to apply paint to canvas, with different sizes and shapes producing different effects.

Even watercolorists can use them to scratch back into a work. The blades’ tips can be blunt or sharp, allowing for a wide range of strokes, textures, and gradations. A good palette knife can open up a whole new world of formal experimentation for any painter, regardless of their medium. Palette knives are useful for applying clean patches of colour onto blank canvas or over an existing dry layer of paint.

The blade allows you to swipe a layer of colour onto the canvas in a motion that recalls a baker smoothing frosting over a cake.