[Basic] MATERIALS: Palette: the physical thing
 
View testimonialsView Artwork
Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Charm City: Baltimore, MD
    Posts
    119
    Thanks
    42
    Thanked 108 Times in 43 Posts
    Follows
    0
    Following
    0

    Exclamation [Basic] MATERIALS: Palette: the physical thing

    Hi all!

    You need to make a palette to squeeze raw paint and mix on. You can use most anything for a palette. Some suggestions:

    • Freezer Paper: It's like wax paper, but heavier and paper-white. Wrap it around some kind of flat surface and tape it on the back. Pros: Quick, cheap, disposable. Cons: *glaringly* white (you hafta compensate for that, visually, depending on the color/value of where you're applying the color on your canvas), disposable means you'll be throwing paint away.

    "Thumb" Palettes/classic movie artist things, frequently paired with berets): Those wooden palettes you can buy that have an oblong hole to hook your thumb through so you can hold it. Pros: moveable (!), portable, comfortable, relatively inexpensive. Cons: small, wiggly.

    Long-term, Homemade Palette: If you have dedicated studio space, I recommend this. It's roomy enough to hold lots of raw paint squirts as well as providing ample room to mix colors. Make it as large as you can. (I never seem to have enough room on mine since there's always a trade-off between large size and the restrictions of the size of the table I'm putting it on, and how far I want to stretch to reach its farthest corners. Moderation, moderation!)

    Your mixing surface should be flat, uniformly colored, as smooth as possible, and as non-oil absorbing as possible. In general, it's a good idea to have it be somewhere in the 30-60% "gray" range (regardless of color, but try keeping it earthy and/or neutral). Possible materials (I've used them all): Glass, mirrors, plexiglas (opaque gray plexi is great), plywood, masonite. You'll have to experiment and find the best for you. I prefer masonite, though in college I once made a great one out of mahogany plywood.

    For a masonite palette (or plywood, or anything potentially absorbent), I prep it like this: I get the size/dimensions that I like, then I impregnate the surface with linseed oil. If you don't do this, when you squeeze paint onto it, the (thirsty) substrate will suck all the linseed oil (oil paint's "vehicle") out of the paint. Sometimes this is desirable--Ed Degas used linseed leeched/starved oils for some of his paintings--but let's not go there now. Get your linseed oil, pour some onto your palette, and rub it al over your palette. You can use paper towels for this. Let it sink in, and do it several times a day for two days. Your first paint squeezes & mixes still might be a bit leech-y, but after using for a couple of days, squeeze some fresh paint. The mixing area will prolly be ok since you'll have mixed on it, then cleaned it several times.

    Your palette will become much like a well-used wok or cast iron skillet; the more you use it, the more "seasoned" it will become!
    __________________

    Last edited by rusko-berger; October 6th, 2009 at 05:51 AM.
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote


  2. Hide this ad by registering as a member
  3. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to rusko-berger For This Useful Post:


  4. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Charm City: Baltimore, MD
    Posts
    119
    Thanks
    42
    Thanked 108 Times in 43 Posts
    Follows
    0
    Following
    0

    Addendum: [BASIC]: Materials: Palette maintenance...

    A note about palette cleaning/upkeep: It's preferable to clean it after every painting session. With a palette knife (or similar) scrape everything off, then wipe it off with a rag/paper towel and your solvent (Turpenoid or gum turpentine). Even after only doing this once or twice, your mixing area will start getting nicely, usefully seasoned. If there are stains of color, don't sweat it--just leave 'em.

    If you have some decent-sized leftover blobs of pre-mixed colors, just knife them up first and deposit them near your fresh paint squeezes. (Yeah, paint's expensive, so conserve where you can!) Clean as usual, then.

    What do you do if (like your pal Nick) you don't clean it right away and everything dries? If it's only a matter of several days, do the exact same thing as above. Chances are good that a fair amount of the paint is wet underneath, and your solvent-buffing will take care of it.

    If, after knifing the chunks off, the solvent isn't removing the sub-millimeter color pools...here's a trick I use: leave a fair amount of the solvent soup you just made on the palette and just spread it around. If you had been mixing a range of colors your soup is now some kind of grayish-brownish mud. I'll let that sit on the surface until the next session, at which point I'll give it a quick solvent buff to remove any truly loose paint or soup. Usually, the soup acts as a sort of glaze (though a muddying one!) and will unify your leftover mess to a point where you can then mix colors on it.

    If it's particularly bad (rough and pock-y) and the surface is impossible to mix on with your palette knife, simply add a new mixing area (plexi, masonite, whatever) and leave your fresh paint squeeze area alone.

    The illustrations below are of a 20 year old palette I've used (among many others) since it's a good size and has a strap for when I go out and paint landscapes. Plus--it has great Mojo. Over the years I've used both sides, and on the current side (shown) I taped a piece of that terrific opaque gray plexi over the mixing area when the original surface got over-crappy. (2nd pic shows my unceremonious application of it. If it works and it's sturdy, that's all that counts!)

    Wok the mic.

    Nick

    Attached Images Attached Images    
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

  5. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to rusko-berger For This Useful Post:


  6. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    950
    Thanks
    627
    Thanked 279 Times in 179 Posts
    Follows
    0
    Following
    0
    I'm thinking I will be making a pretty thick sheet of glass palette, that I will adhere a piece of teak as the base. But I ekon I'll need to make a lighter and more portble one too for outdoor stuff. do you think if I got a bit of masonite board then adhered plexiglass onto it so I had an easier to clean surface it would remain pretty lightweight for portability? I'm just not really familiar with flexiglass, I'm guesssing it's like perspex?

    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

  7. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Charm City: Baltimore, MD
    Posts
    119
    Thanks
    42
    Thanked 108 Times in 43 Posts
    Follows
    0
    Following
    0
    Heya, Cam--

    Plexi & Perspex are the same. A piece of glass with wood showing through underneath it would be divine, eh?

    The portability issue: your palette is anything your shoulder can carry (along with an aluminum easel, a loaded paintbag, and a canvas or drawing board with paper.)

    As I said, my portable palette is Masonite with plexi strapped on to it. The gobs (and years) of paint are the real heaviness, though! (Think of the weight of individual paint tubes and start multiplying.)

    Nick

    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

  8. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    California
    Posts
    49
    Thanks
    53
    Thanked 37 Times in 20 Posts
    Follows
    0
    Following
    0

    On the subject of palettes

    I use a wax-paper-ish palette pad that sits in a plastic box with a lid. Around 13x17. I think it's called a "palette saver" maybe? Can't remember because I bought it years ago.

    The only downside is the bright-white issue that was mentioned before. I imagine someone has to have made a mid-grey version of the palette pad though, I've just been too lazy to hunt it down and it hasn't ever been that big of an issue for me for some reason. But so often I see pictures of painters with caked-on palettes that look like lunar landscapes. I know there has to be an advantage though because it's a common site.

    With my setup I can seal my palette and save paint using the same stuff for a week or more (hey, paint is expensive and I haven't made it yet). I can also carry this thing around with me (it's actually ridiculously portable... almost feels wrong actually). I still sometimes wipe areas of it down with a cloth after a crazy mixing session of colors I know I won't need again, but if things do end up drying out, I just pull off the top sheet (which is connected on two sides so it never slides around on me - unlike say a legal pad which is only mounted on the top edge), knife off any paint that's still usable and plop it down on the new, fresh, clean, surface of the next sheet. (And actually, I save my old palette sheets and am using them for another piece of artwork I'm creating).

    I breathe enough turp and thinning agents as it is, I figure cutting down anywhere I can is a good idea. I don't think I'm big on the idea of spreading chemicals out over the large surface area of a palette to clean it.

    So my question is, What am I missing? I know I'm missing something, and I've seriously thought about this for quite a bit of time haha. But I just can't figure a reason to ditch my current setup. Thoughts?

    My gallery: http://www.shanepollard.com/ I would be honored if anyone from ConceptArt were to visit it. I am amazed and enthralled by all that is done here.
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

  9. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Middletown, CT
    Posts
    37
    Thanks
    91
    Thanked 28 Times in 14 Posts
    Follows
    0
    Following
    0
    I used a 3' x 3' piece of safety glass and taped it to a piece of MDF I had cut to size and primed grey. The only issue with it is the size, so I can't pack up and take it with me. I'm going to make a smaller pallete next week when I get done paying the bills. I think the whole thing cost about $15, and I doubt I'll have to replace it unless it takes a nasty and fatal fall.

    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

  10. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Charm City: Baltimore, MD
    Posts
    119
    Thanks
    42
    Thanked 108 Times in 43 Posts
    Follows
    0
    Following
    0
    Hi, feralcoconut--

    Your palette sitch is just fine. I use a Palette Saver-thingy when I'm painting with acrylics. With oils , since they dry SO slowly, you can skip it, though (if you like).

    The caked-on lunar landscape palettes just arise from (in my case) not wanting to waste paint. After it skins over, a decent-sized dollop of paint will be usable for quite a while. Even after it congeals, you can add a little turp and rejuvenate it. Even a quasi-decent-sized dollop of paint takes years to completely dry. I guarantee you that there are some David Park paintings (among *many* others!) in museums that are still technically not Dry-dry.

    As for wiping your palette down with turp. Shouldn't be bad if you don't over-do it and if you have proper ventilation. The real solution for you, though, is to go invest in a gallon of ordorless Turpenoid. It's expensive, but it's like Insurance--annoying but worth it. I switched to it this year, and it's great. I do, however, keep a tiny little jar of gum turpentine open--just for a faint smell. I just have to many great sense-associations with it to never smell it at all!

    You're all good--so keep it up!

    best,
    Nick

    Quote Originally Posted by feralcoconut View Post
    I use a wax-paper-ish palette pad that sits in a plastic box with a lid. Around 13x17. I think it's called a "palette saver" maybe? Can't remember because I bought it years ago.

    The only downside is the bright-white issue that was mentioned before. I imagine someone has to have made a mid-grey version of the palette pad though, I've just been too lazy to hunt it down and it hasn't ever been that big of an issue for me for some reason. But so often I see pictures of painters with caked-on palettes that look like lunar landscapes. I know there has to be an advantage though because it's a common site.

    With my setup I can seal my palette and save paint using the same stuff for a week or more (hey, paint is expensive and I haven't made it yet). I can also carry this thing around with me (it's actually ridiculously portable... almost feels wrong actually). I still sometimes wipe areas of it down with a cloth after a crazy mixing session of colors I know I won't need again, but if things do end up drying out, I just pull off the top sheet (which is connected on two sides so it never slides around on me - unlike say a legal pad which is only mounted on the top edge), knife off any paint that's still usable and plop it down on the new, fresh, clean, surface of the next sheet. (And actually, I save my old palette sheets and am using them for another piece of artwork I'm creating).

    I breathe enough turp and thinning agents as it is, I figure cutting down anywhere I can is a good idea. I don't think I'm big on the idea of spreading chemicals out over the large surface area of a palette to clean it.

    So my question is, What am I missing? I know I'm missing something, and I've seriously thought about this for quite a bit of time haha. But I just can't figure a reason to ditch my current setup. Thoughts?


    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

Members who have read this thread: 2

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • 424,149 Artists
  • 3,599,276 Artist Posts
  • 32,941 Sketchbooks
  • 54 New Art Jobs
Art Workshop Discount Inside
Register

Developed Actively by vBSocial.com
The Art Department
SpringOfSea's Sketchbook