Monday, November 12, 2012

Know Thyself! Questions Every Artist Should Ask!

Know Thyself!
This applies in many ways to being an artist but what reminds me of this every time I paint is the palette that I use.  For years I used a handheld wooden palette that had to be cleaned right after you used it while the paint was still wet and waxed a little to keep the oil from setting in.

I had a tendency to get paint all over me when I held a palette!

 Why did I use it?  Because my first painting teacher required it for class and thought that it was the best choice.  The only reason I remember that he gave was because it was a medium value (wasn't too light or too dark) and had a warm tone.  Of course since he had been painting longer than I had been alive I followed everything he said without question.

My wooden palette will forever look like this!  I didn't clean it off the last time I used it and so it stuck!

Why did I stop using it?  After I got pregnant I stopped painting for a while but not before I used my wooden palette one last time and didn't clean it off!  So I have a palette that will have paint on it forever and ever.  I have to be honest.  I had done this once before and I scrapped off all the old paint and refinished it.  Of course I will never go through all that again.

What did I replace it with?
While I was at Laguna College of Art I bought a Masterson Air Tight Palette.  I think that might have been required but I don't remember.  I used it for a long time to store my wooden palette.  When I got back to oil painting after having my daughter I took one of my glass cutting boards and put in the Masterson palette.  Now I don't have to worry about when I clean my palette because all I have to do is scrap the glass with a razor blade and I'm ready to paint!  Another difference is that it is not a handheld palette.  So I have to have something to set my palette on because it is to big to hold.  I use an old tv tray table, it is a little bit cumbersome when I paint plein air (on location) but I would rather deal with the bulky table than a wooden palette.

Know Thyself!

Think about your personality and the way you like to paint.  Here are some questions to get you started:

Would you rather clean up after you paint or before?
Do you paint with long breaks? ie. paint in the morning take the afternoon off and continuing painting at night
Do you like to hold your palette or could you make your setup so that you can place it on a table?
Do you mind getting paint on your clothes?  (its easier for me to stay clean if I don't have to hold it)

Don't just accept what someone else has said is the best and/or only way to do something!  There are as many techniques and supplies to painting as their are different styles of painting.  The possibilities are endless so don't be afraid to try something new!

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