Abstract Magic: Pallet Knife Painting

I love finding new ways to embellish my pours. I’ve experimented with vinyls, painted landscapes, gold leaf and embossing; oftentimes, I can take a pour that doesn’t have the “wow” factor I’m looking for, and transform it into something I love.

Pallet knife acrylic pour

Because I’ve been working primarily with fine lines, sharp edges and realism lately, I decided to wander off into the abstract and found myself armed with a few mediums, some random gold mica I salvaged from an old makeup tin, and a pallet knife.

What I used:

The Process

I didn’t have any thick gold paint handy, and for the abstract, textured look I had in mind, thicker paint was essential; so I decided to create my own.

Golden Gloss Medium is transparent and absolutely delightful to work with if you want to create your own colors. I have used it to mix mica colors in the past with excellent results, but there was one problem; it’s not firm enough to hold a texture.

PalletKnife image4

I also had some Windsor and Newton Iridescent Medium that I randomly found at AC Moore. This is very thick, and definitely ideal for texture; plus, it gives colors a great pearlescent sheen.

Now, you might be wondering why I didn’t just mix the mica with the Iridescent Medium and the answer is, I wasn’t quite sure how the mica would incorporate with the medium by itself. Sometimes mica can become clumpy and refuses to mix completely into thicker mediums, so that’s why I mixed it into the Gloss Medium first.

I didn’t need a lot of the gold mixture, just enough to coat the pallet knife and do a few swipes on an 11 x 17 piece I created a few weeks ago. I mixed about two teaspoons of mica with about a ½ tablespoon of Gloss Medium and mixed. Once the mica and the Gloss Medium were fully incorporated, I added about a teaspoon of Iridescent Medium to the mix to thicken it up. It worked perfectly!

Let’s Get Abstract

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I’d like to say there was some really insightful inspiration behind the placement of the gold on the canvas, but honestly, I just sort of felt where it needed to go. A swipe here, a pat there; I just enjoyed watching the gold flicker over the pour lines from the piece underneath. I tried to accentuate some of the curves of the piece and mostly focused on retaining the flow; but all in all, I just allowed the paint to take on its own character. The whole process was very calming, and I felt like I was able to connect with the piece creatively much more than I had during its initial creation.

Final Thoughts

Adding abstract embellishment with gold paint and a pallet knife might not convince you not to trash a less-than-loved painting, but you never know! Sometimes, there is beauty in what we accidentally create; and that’s what I found with this technique.

5 thoughts on “Abstract Magic: Pallet Knife Painting”

  1. i agree if finished work needs some “oomph” glitter ,mica or pearlesance something can do the trick

  2. What did you use over your original pour before painting the gold on? Or did you add the gold onto the dried pour?

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