Masterpiece Creations: The Palette Knife

Do you know what a palette knife is? It’s a small tool used by artist to mix paint. They are usually made of metal and look like a butter knife, though they are not usually sharp.


Did you catch my recent post on Leonid Afremov? If not, check it out HERE

What’s so special about Leonid Afremov’s palette knife? He uses it instead of a brush. That’s right, when you look at his paintings and see how detailed and beautiful they are, know that they were all created with a small, dull, palette knife. How cool is that!?

two sisters leonid afremov

Today’s project is a tribute to Mr. Afremov and his palette knife. We are not aiming to make the most beautiful painting in the world. Instead, we are going to have fun and experiment.

The first step is to take a piece of high quality paper and draw a very simple circular shape right in the middle. This will be the basis for our painting.

Our tool today will be a small plastic spoon (a little easier to find for those of you who are running low on palette knives).

I used the spoon to spread around some brown paint in my circle.


Next I added some lighter brown areas by gently tapping the round bottom of the spoon in the dark brown circle. (This is going to be the middle of my flower)


Now for the flowers petals, (being autumn, I decided to go with yellows, reds, and oranges for my petals) I dipped my spoon lightly into some rich red paint. I placed the paint around the brown circle and pushed it away from the middle.


I then repeated the last step except this time with yellow paint.


I continued to play around with different oranges, reds, and yellows until I had a flower I liked.

The next step was a bit challenging; I used the spoon any way I could to create a green and yellow stem below my flower.

I have to be honest. I gained a deep respect for Mr. Afremov’s abilities trying to paint my flower. I decided to reward myself with a more familiar tool for painting the background. I put down my small, plastic spoon and picked up a brush. Different shades of blue filled in my background nicely. (I painted over the edges of my flower petals to create a cleaner look)


Now I have a beautiful, fall flower and a new appreciation for Leonid Afremov. If you would like to see more of Leonid’s work, he has several videos online where he demonstrates how he creates his art.

For additional activities and resources be sure to check out our TPT store!

Click HERE

Have fun!


Kevin Bartle

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