All Content Copyright © Michael Chesley Johnson AIS PSA MPAC

Monday, August 1, 2022

A New Line of Painting Knives from Gamblin

View in browser

The New Set of Knives from Gamblin Artists Colors

I'm always on the lookout for new tools to paint with—I'm like a raven, gathering anything bright and shiny.  Painting knives are bright and shiny, and I have many.  A knife is a good alternative to the brush and, in many ways, it's a more versatile tool.  You can draw the finest of lines with it, or you can trowel on a big load of paint.  You can finesse an area that needs subtle adjustment, or you can scrape down wholesale an area that doesn't please you.  You can also mix paint with it or even scrape your palette clean.  (Although I recommend using a palette knife—not a painting knife—for that purpose. Yes, there's a difference.)
 
Now I've found some new knives to collect.  Gamblin has introduced a line of painting knives, but interestingly, they're not shiny like all the others on the market.  Instead, they have a matte finish.
 
Here's what I like about them:
  • The single-piece design.  I’ve had knives with welded tips break, so it’s great to have a knife that I won’t have to worry about in the heat of the moment.  (I don’t always have a delicate touch.)
  • The amount of flex.  The have just the right amount.  Other knives tend to be too stiff or, worse yet, too flimsy.  
  • The handle.  The large, rounded handle is very comfortable, whether I’m making big strokes or tiny, fine ones. The handle has a flat side, which prevents the knife from rolling when laid down.  It's also color-coded for quick reference.
  • The balance.  The knives are well-balanced and easy to manipulate.
  • The matte finish.  When painting outdoors, it minimizes those sudden flashes of blinding light when the blade catches the sun. 
  • The names.  Rather than designating each knife with a hard-to-remember stock number, Gamblin has given them names, such as the “Ladd.”  (I'm told each of these names have some significance.  Ladd, for example, is the name of the street where Robert Gamblin first started making paint in a one-car garage.)  Besides the color-coding of the knives, each has the name stamped on the handle.
My only concern is the matte finish.  With my other knives, which have a slick, mirror-like finish, I can wipe them clean easily with a dry rag.  With these, some of the paint seems to remain on the surface, especially with high-tinting pigments like the phthalos. However, I found that wetting my rag with a little Gamsol first helps.  Another thought, although I haven't tried this yet, is to wipe a little oil on the clean knife prior to using it.
 
My favorites?  The Ladd (green handle) is perfect for most of my work, as I tend to paint on the small side.  The Taylor (blue handle) is good for blocking in large areas and down-stroking sky, water and other areas that should be somewhat smooth.  The Hoyt (yellow handle) is good for large areas, too, but its sharp, angled edge is good for rocky cliffs.  I'm sure I'll find uses for the other knives, too.

The "Ladd" in action -- perfect for these small areas

The "Taylor" -- great for sharp edges


1 comment:

Teacher Joyce in AU said...

thanks for sharing this post! it's been so long that i did not visit an art museum.