Tag Archives: palette

Look at my beautiful palette

Am I crazy to be excited about my palette?

The greens, grays and blue are leftovers and I covered them with plastic wrap. They’ll stay soft and workable for weeks but will partially thicken up.

I tried to match the colors of my begonia and rejected a few of the mixes on the right which still look like neat blobs. I think the right colors for the flowers are between the ones I mixed. That’s close enough for lights and darks.

The two I liked for the light areas of the petals and the two I liked for the shadows are all messed up because I thinned them with terpenoid to make them slightly runny.

Mixing paints on the palette with a palette knife is real fun.

I decided to leave my begonia painting rough. I mean I’m not going over the background and leaves again. That’s the modern art way and I’m trying to go modern. Once and done.

I particularly like this smear. Now you see why I need the large palette. The blue is left over from the background and it’s covered with plastic wrap. I started thinning the red with turpentine and it accidentally bled over the blue and some blue got into the red. I had to quick scrape up the red and move it away from the blue.

The background is gray because I have duct tape on the back of the glass. It’s easier to see what colors you’re mixing on a gray background than on a white background. And the duct tape keeps the glass from breaking and making a problem when I’m out in plein air. I’ve had the same piece of glass on the palette for years.

These are the colors I want to use all thinned down nicely so they flow off my brush and make nice brush stroke textures.

ok, I’ll get back to painting, but I have all day and it’s hot and humid so you get to see this because I don’t want to go out. I have time to stop and take pictures of my palette and write a little. I hope it’s not boring.

Magnolia buds opening / pastel studies

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The weather can change suddenly and dramatically around here this time of year. I have to adapt my Plein air painting plans to be prepared for anything. Last week we had some nice days, then rain, then torrential rain, then gale force wind on Fri. When it stopped raining I wanted to make some progress on my plan for the Magnolia painting but I couldn’t take my canvas out there, (it’s like trying to wrestle a sail in the wind) so I put my palette and paints and palette knife in my rolling Ikea cart and went to the garden to mix some colors for the underpainting for my background Southern Magnolia tree. The cart was no problem in the wind.

I was glad to get out and mix colors but didn’t start painting yet. I saw the buds are opening and thought, “Yikes! This could happen early this year!” What if the tree blooms and I haven’t finished the background?! The wind knocked down a lot of pink petals and unopened buds. You never know in Feb. We could get more freezing weather, or it could be like spring. The flowers could last weeks or only one week. Now I see more buds starting, so if the weather is good the tree could be in bloom for a whole month.

Either way, I decided to do some flower sketches to be on the safe side. I have a bunch of sketches from last year. Maybe tomorrow I can do a few more sketches of buds opening. Then if they’re gone before I get my background finished I can use my sketches to paint the flowers at home instead of in plein air.IMG_2453

This is how I arranged my palette. The colors at the top of the photo are for the southern Magnolia tree, trunk, branches and leaves. The colors on the left are for the other side of the tree, dark greenish black for leaves in the shade and lighter tan and light green for the spaces where you can see all the way through to the distant background. The light warm brown and dark brown lower in the photo are for the mulch under the tree, dark in the shadows and light where the sun shines. I put little pieces of plastic wrap over the paint to keep it workable in case it’s a few days till I get around to starting the painting.  Oil paint can stay good for weeks with plastic over it. Mixing my colors in advance is a necessary step in this process.

I like this large palette. It was meant for water soluble medium but I replaced the sponge that came in it with a piece of glass. I put duct tape on the back of the glass because it’s easier to see the colors and values I’m mixing on gray than it is to see colors on white background.  It has plenty of room for me to mix a lot of colors, then when I get them arranged around the sides I still have enough space in the center to thin the paint. This big palette fits nicely in my Ikea cart.

When I was in New Mexico at art camp the organizer talked about limiting the amount of supplies, colors of paint, etc. that he takes out to paint. I don’t take all my tubes of paint, but I can take much more out there because I’m not carrying it on my back like a regular plein air pochade box. The palette, brushes, easel, turpentine, paper towels, water bottle, etc, all fit in my Ikea cart.  I can go farther from my car with more gear and not get as tired. Plus, another thing I like about my get up is, my easel has spikes on the legs and the pochade boxes don’t have spikes which makes them more likely to blow down in the wind.  Pochade boxes have small palettes but most Plein air painters don’t mix up their colors in advance. They squirt out blobs of color and dip their brush in, mixing colors with their brushes instead of a palette knife. Mixing colors with a brush is a no no if you want to avoid muddy colors. Yeah, I don’t care if I’m not stylish with a pochade box. My Ikea cart and paint clothes make me look like a homeless woman.  hahaha I don’t think anyone else cares either.