Tuesday, August 26, 2014

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. 

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