Tuesday, August 26, 2014

What's on your palette?

 "Perch on a Yellow Pitcher"  10"x10"

In continuation of the previous post about making your own custom palette, I thought I'd share what I put on my palette afterwards.  My palette above has pretty much every color I use, except occasionally cadmium red and phthalo blue.  I only break those out on special occasions.  On this palette, the neutrals just right of my white are 'mud' mixes from a previous painting session, which I always keep to create bases for new mixes or to neutralize colors.

I use:
Titanium White
my personal mixture of naples yellow light
cadmium yellow
indian yellow
yellow ochre
Rublev's pozzuoli red
aliz crimson permanent
burnt umber
rublev's violet hematite
ultramarine blue
prussian blue
cerulean blue
chromium oxide greeen

my limited palette is:
ultra blue
burnt umber
yellow ochre
titanium white
indian yellow
aliz crimson permanent 

I found I can mix many colors with a limited palette, but for convenience I have started using a larger variety of paint.  My palette contains a nice mix of warm and cool colors along with a plethora of transparent oil colors which are perfect for creating glazes.

Making a Custom Palette

 "Little Muse"  9"x12" oil/panel

I made myself a new palette, it's so easy to make a great palette from a wood panel and you can custom fit your palette to your own personal tastes.  The most important thing I've found in making a palette is to have proper balance.  If the thumb hole is off it will feel unbalanced and that is definitely not good!  You can find inspiration for shapes off the internet and recreate different palettes until you find what works best for you.  Luckily, board is cheap and you know instantly after cutting whether the palette is correct and can make adjustments if you need to.  I start with a masonite board, the same that I use for all my paintings.  After I draw out the shape I want, I cut it out with a jig saw.  You can then give it a couple coats of varnish, you already have a great neutral tone from the masonite to mix colors on.  It is much easier to judge color and value on a mid-tone palette. 

I like to create my own surface a little differently though, after cutting it out I give it a coat of gesso.  I spend a few days layering my own leftover 'mud' paint and medium leftovers from a painting session on top which creates a great surface.  After setting in the sun to cure for several days, I sand it 'til smooth and add couple coats of varnish.  I've created the perfect slick surface that a palette knife can easily slide across.  The few extra coats of oil paint are more pleasing to me then the plain masonite and what I'm used to working on.  It may seem like a lot of work, but it suits me perfectly!  Below you can see my custom palette before a painting session.