Buddha – Knife Painting

I have become a great fan of Buddhism after my visit to Thailand. After an year of our Thailand visit, I was so desperate to go to a Buddhist temple that we planned a trip to Coorg to visit the Buddhist monastery there. To me, Buddha brings peace and calm.

I was longing to paint a Buddha. At a time when I was going though a lot of confusion at work, and I hoped a Buddha will bring me some peace of mind. I also wanted to try my hands at knife painting and acrylics. So 1+1+1 = A Buddha acrylic painting with knife 🙂

Knife painting may sound a weird concept !! Painting with a knife? Well, it is not exactly the knives in the kitchen. They are called palette knives. They are available as a kit generally. Knives work well for contemporary style paintings. They give a nice emboss effect and so much more life to the piece.


  1. Draw the image on the board, preferably with a light shade pencil. Tracing can also be done with yellow carbon paper.
  2. The base coat is generally dark. Segment the base colors in every area. Give a coating with a wide brush. This serves as the background on which the knife work can be done. In the below picture, the hair above Buddha’s head can be observed. The base coat is given in Red and Blue colors. On this, the knife work is done.
  3. The hair of Buddha is complicated. Working directly with the knife and creating uniform circles is difficult. I have used a marker pen’s cap and a pen cap to mark the circles uniformly for Buddha’s hair.   chalktalktales-23
  4. Once the circles are drawn, it is easy to fill them up with the knife.
  5. While using the knife, if is important to load the knife with enough quantity of paint. When I started, I used paints like I use them with brushes. But knives need more paint quantity. Else the ups and downs will not appear on the canvas and it will look flat.
  6. In some places, I also used a fine tip brush to give the finishing touch. Pressure must not be applied while using the brush, else the surface will become flat.
  7. I gave some highlights with metallic colors. They are not visible explicitly, but add a good feel to the piece.

In the below picture, the texture is captured perfectly (used an I-phone). The rough finish is what adds beauty to the knife painting style. The highlight shades like metallic and white are explicitly seen.



  1. Use a hard canvas board. The board should have a strong base as this makes dabbing the paint easier.
  2. Use acrylic paints if you are a beginner. They are easy to clean. They also dry faster than oil paints.
  3. Knife paintings should be framed without glass over the canvas. This painting has been framed  with a teak wood color frame.
  4. Acrylic paintings can be cleaned with a wet cloth. Water can also be poured slowly over it. Do not rub too much in the same area.

And bingo.. Here is my divine Buddha B-)


This being my first knife painting, I was amazed by the effects it produced on the canvas. I kept running my fingers to feel the ups and downs. I loved the Buddha, especially the flower over the eye. Thanks to my husband for getting me a good reference image, based on which I created this piece. I had to finish this up in a hurry. This painting was purchased from me and gifted to a German lady, because they wanted to gift her some thing contemporary with an Indian touch. I now want to paint another Buddha for myself 🙂

5 Comments Add yours

  1. That article was very helpful about Budha Canvas paintingI am very inspired to your writing and waiting for your next post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Abhishek says:

    Great tips and thanks for sharing such informative information about Buddha painting with us and I am waiting your another post.
    Buddha canvas paintings with frame for living room


  3. Anonymous says:

    That article was very helpful I am very inspired to your design for such an amazing Buddha Art and waiting for your next post
    .Buddha canvas paintings with frame for living room


  4. NV says:

    Do you have a vidoe tutorial of how you did this ?


    1. Divya Arun says:

      Sorry. I do not. Next time I will surely try a video tutorial.


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