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Show Me Your Painting Palette!

July 8, 2010

painting paletteWhat does your palette say about you?

I’m just going out on a limb here, but I’d say that my palette says I’m messy and disorganized! Then again, I have the whole house to confirm that theory!

Palettes are strangely personal and unique to every artist. Lori McNee did a great post awhile back on the importance of organizing oil paints on the palette. A short video explains how she organizes her own palette. I remember being a little in awe  and jealous of her perfectly arranged palette, until I looked at the kinds of paintings she was doing: precise, clean, delicate.

The palette reflects not only the colours you are using in your work, but also the way you paint, and to some extent the way you think.

My palette is ridiculously messy because it doesn’t need to be organized. I paint quickly, responsively, haphazardly. For better or for worse!

I also don’t clean my palette, just like I neglect cleaning brushes. And if you’re wondering, I use an old dinner plate to mix my paints on… It’s not ideal, but it works!

So now that I’ve showed you mine, show me yours!

Post a link to a picture of your typical palette!

messy painting palette


From → Painting

  1. For my palette I use a plastic plate over and over… for years. I can’t say I organize the paint though.

    Paint Palette

    • Yep, that looks familiar, haha! I’m glad I’m not the only one! Plates work pretty well, don’t they? Although Gwenn had a great idea at Twitter, she uses the glass from an old frame from the thrift store: I might need to try it! Thanks for sharing, Vickie!

  2. Here’s mine… I’m not abstract, but I’m not super tight either. Pretty sure mine’s average. Sure it starts out neat, but if you’re really working the paint, it’s going to get messy. The important thing is to keep the colors fresh, and when things start getting muddy, move to a new area.

    I don’t recommend using a plate for a palette. Wax paper seems to work well, as well as meeting professional standards.

    Most mentors emphasize the importance of strategically laying out the colors consistently. It saves time and helps the artist stay organized. The masters would do this so well that often they didn’t even need to look at their palette when mixing colors. It’s good advice, but as you’ll perhaps notice in the photo, I seldom do it.

  3. Here are a few of my palettes over the years.
    (I use to take a photo of each one before I tossed it or somebody wanted it so they could frame it.)

    I just squeeze the paint on as needed; nothing organized about it.

    Some other info and links & videos about the making of a painting here:

  4. This is fun, I love this post! Here is my palette: 🙂

    • Martyn, wax paper is a good idea. I might have to try that!

      David, your palette looks like you use a lot of rich, deep colours. I like it!

      Charles, I love the way your palettes document your colour choices. Each one is like a painting in itself.

      Kendra, I could swim in your palette! It looks very inviting, haha!

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