OIL PAINTING PALETTE’S – WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
Céad Míle Fáilte – a hundred thousand welcomes – once again to Emily McCormack-Artist’s blog on all things Oil Painting.
This week, I’m sourcing pallet’s of a different kind, the large timber ones for making a compost heap.
Every year I say to myself, I’m gona do it, make my very own compost! But then doubt sets in, and I think I’m a weakling and how the hell am I gona turn all that debris and will I have rats? Or worse still, a decaying slimy mess at the bottom of the garden, instead of that lovey rich loam soil that they showed us how to make during my 12 weeks at Ballymaloe Cookery School, now so many moons ago. So, I will keep you posted on whether I succeed with this quest or fail again this year.
Now, on to Oil Painting Palettes that you guys want to know about…
BY THE WAY INTRODUCTION – A LITTLE USELESS TIT-BIT TO START US OFF
Oil Painting Palettes were first depicted in the hands of us Women Painters, in or around 1400.
Extract from Boccaccio’s book of Famous Women
SO THE MEAT OF IT IS AS FOLLOWS
You don’t need to get to hung up on what you put your oil paint on, the golden rules as I see them are:-
- The surface should be as wide and flat as possible for you to mix your oil paints on;
- Be easy to clean;
- If holding it ensure its lightweight, fits snuggly over your arm and into your thumb; and
- Is not one of those terrible plastic pallets with the wells in them – these are for acrylic and/or watercolour paints – not oil paints.
MATERIALS YOU CAN USE FOR YOUR PALETTE
So you can use tear-off (disposable) paper palettes, glass, timber or cardboard. I have included references to a number of products and stores below but please note I am not affiliated in any with them nor am I receiving any commission or payment to recommend them.
THE TEAR OFF (DISPOSABLE) PAPER PALETTE
I have used them all, but I still revert back to the Tear Off (Disposable) Paper Palette (usually 12 x 16” and have 40 sheets or so) as I don’t have to clean them, I just tear off the page when I am finished.
Again, for those ECO-friendly people out there, this is wasteful, so you might prefer to use glass or timber as a more sustainable product.
For me, they don’t work, as I’m often called from the studio and when I eventually get back the paint has dried to a crud and I end up throwing out the natural palette as well. But don’t follow in my footsteps.
Pricewise, you might be lucky enough to find the tear off paper palettes in K&M Evans at the €6 – €7 mark otherwise they can generally cost €15 upwards so that’s a lot when you think you could just make one from glass or timber and have it forever.
Another downside to the tear-off palette is that they are generally white so this can affect your values when colour mixing.
NEW WAVE has gotten over this by producing a grey-toned disposable paper palette. Again, depending on where you get them, they can vary in price. I have only ever held one that a student brought to the Workshops and I thought it was lovely, but it was a little heavy to hold for long periods of time and I have short limbs, so it felt a little uncomfortable on the arm. But, that being said, I still thought it was a great idea and will still purchase one to try it out here in the studio. They have a rectangular tabletop and a hand-held palette paper pallet as shown below and are available from Jacksons Art.