Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Palette update

I know you've been on the edge of your seats wondering how my modification of the John Pike Big Well palette has stood up to the ravages of time. (Original post)

The palette in use in my tiny watercolour studio

It's been close on three years and, bar one slight hitch, the tray modification has stood up to constant use. One of the dividers - the one at the top of the above picture, did come adrift at one point. Perhaps the blues are more aggressive than their yellow/red counterparts. A generous application of matte medium and some pressure secured the divider again and I have had no further problems.

I am satisfied with the modification in practice. The mixing areas are large enough for my use and, in fact, are a lot larger than any of the palettes that I have used prior to this one. This includes the Zoltan Szabo palette which got me started, and the popular thumb hole plastic palette. As well, I get far less pigment corruption in the storage wells. I tend not to clean the palette between sessions. Since I often paint in series, using the same range of pigments, I feel it's a real waste to wash off perfectly good paint each time. Also, some very interesting greys develop from time to time.

I do wonder about sloping wells, though. The Szabo has this feature and I have discovered that one of my favourite painters, the Australian John Lovett recommends their use. See his article on this topic. He expands on this in other articles on his very informative site.

There is one significant change that I have made to my process. I had been advised to store a damp sponge in the palette when closed (the lid is quite tight). I discovered that some pigments would develop mould - and the smell was not so enticing. Now, I simply spritz the storage wells a few minutes before a studio session. As I paint almost daily using this palette, the paints don't really have time to dry out.

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