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The kidney shaped wooden palette has become the universal symbol of the “painter” and is essential to any artist using pigment.
A palette is defined as, “a thin and usually oval or oblong tablet usually made from wood,glass,etc., and used by painters for holding and mixing colors.”
There are several types of palettes. The type of palette to choose depends upon the art that you create.
WHAT TO CONSIDER…
- Decide, if you want to be able to hold your palette in your hand. Does your art form require that you have mobility and need to move around?
- Is it preferred that your palette is stationary on your desk or worktop? In the studio, choose the largest comfortable size to give you as much mixing area as possible.
- Plastic & turpentine don’t mix! So choose accordingly.
- White or gray palettes make it somewhat easier to judge the color value of your paints when mixing.
TYPES OF PALETTES
Glass Artist Palettes are intended to rest on a table surface rather than be held. It’s excellent for mixing large areas of color. The palette is perfectly smooth, easy on brushes, and non-porous. It cleans up with very little effort. The glass palettes are made from a very strong, a very breakable resistant safety tempered glass.
PROS: heavy duty and versatile, this palette is recommended for any artist looking for the most durable and all-purpose palette there is. Recommend for any painters, rolling printing ink, print-makers, etc.,
CONS: not recommended for travel, or when portability is required
TIP: To clean glass surfaces easy, use a heave duty razor blade glass surface scraper.
CLEAR ACRYLIC PALETTE/
Clear Acrylic Palette‘s are great for artists that require portability. These palettes are sturdy, durable, and ideal for thick media mixing purposes. Acrylic palettes are nonstaining and scratch resistant.
Clear acrylic palettes are shaped like the traditional artists palette, while, plexiglass will be more of a rectangular and tablet like.
PROS: mobile and portable, these palettes are great for studio, field or class work. Designed for true color evaluation.
CONS: more difficult to clean, not meant for large amounts of paint medium.
DISPOSABLE ARTIST PALETTES:
Cleanup is quick and easy with Disposable Palette Pads — just tear off a sheet, use it for your painting session, then throw it away.
Great for use with acrylics, casein, and oils, the palette paper pads are available in a variety of sizes, each containing multiple sheets.
Parchment palettes may also be used.
PROS: portable, quick easy cleanup,
CONS: expensive & wasteful long term option. Also wasteful of paint if you don’t use all paint on sheet.
Stay-Wet ARTIST PALETTE:
Stay-Wet Artist Palette‘s are excellent for artists whose medium dries quickly (i.e. acrylics) Sta-Wet Premier Palette saves you paint, money, and time by preserving the freshness of acrylics and other waterbased paints, both while you are painting and between painting sessions. Paints will stay moist on the open palette for hours. Once the lid is closed, the paints will stay in workable condition for days, even weeks.
The Premier Palette features a patented sponge insert and special permeable palette paper. Together they provide acrylic paints with a constant source of moisture. Simply moisten the sponge and lay it inside the tray, then place the palette paper on top. When the lid is open, your paints will have an extended open time. When the lid is snapped shut, the Premier Palette will maintain a moist atmosphere that preserves acrylic paints amazingly well.
PROS: keeps paints fresh and wet, especially valuable for artists who work with mediums that harden quickly like acrylics.
CONS: once the paints dry & harden it is very difficult to clean.
The wooden palette is traditional, but rarely used but was the favorite of the great masters.
The weight of the palette is essential, since you should be able to hold it for hours on end. The oval thumbhole should be sanded so it doesn’t scratch the skin.
Wooden palettes can be made from: birch, plywood, mahogany
PROS: lightweight, traditional
CONS: once paint dries, it becomes VERY difficult to remove
GLAZED PORCELAIN & ENAMEL PALETTES:
Glazed porcelain is a great material for artists’ palettes for several reasons. A brilliant, classic white surface ensures perfect color mixing since you are able to see the hue against a pristine, reflective background. The weight of porcelain palettes make them great for the studio since they don’t slide around or shift if accidentally bumped. The smooth surface makes for easy clean-up too.
PROS: easy to clean, great for mixing colors, great for watercolors
CONS: heavy, breakable, pricey
PLASTIC PALETTE & MIXING TRAYS:
These plastic palettes are lightweight and portable. Often shaped like the traditional palette. Typically plastic palettes are made of white plastic and contains a number of small convex “mixing wells.”
PROS: economical, portable
CONS: small, difficult to clean once paint dry, not very versatile
Atomizer Bottle: fill an atomizer bottle with distilled water. Lightly mist your palette with water when necessary to keep paints fresh and moist.
Liquitex Palette Weting Spray: Liquitex Palette Wetting Spray is an innovative, fluid acrylic resin that slows the drying time of acrylic color. It also improves color blending. Use it to keep colors fresh on the palette, and stop the paint film from “skinning over.”
Simply spray and re-spray as needed. Palette Wetting Spray thins color while maintaining film integrity. It is formulated with an anti-microbial agent to prevent mold. Use it repeatedly to re-wet the palette, or spray it sparingly on the canvas to increase open time.
FREEZE YOUR PALETTE: You will be shocked at how well this works. If you will be gone for a while and want to keep your paint fresh, put your palettes in a freezer. Paints can stay wet indefinitely (up to a few months). Just make sure to put the palette in an area in your freezer where it won’t get disturbed. It is wet paint after all.
QUICK FIX PALETTE: if you are in need of a temporary solution, you can use common items from around your house. Old Magazines (The heavy plastic coated paper won’t let the paint bleed through), ceramic tiles, cookie sheet, board, or glass plate.
-article compiled & written by Lyrica Glory, founder of Patron of the Arts
Knoweledge plays an essential role in our creative and artistic development. A recommended book with the right information can be as beneficial as anytime spent in a classroom. The right book will improve our intellectual outlook and open doors of thought that may have been walls before.
We recently conducted a community poll, asking:
“What is your favorite book on art or the creative process?”
We were excited about the results: some of the books we couldn’t agree with more, others we had heard of but haven’t read, and some were totally new to us.
We look forward to adding some new resources to our library.
The best of the best art and creative resources are listed below:
Our Favorite Books:
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Thank you to all to added their voice. If you would like to…
JOIN THE DISCUSSION:
If you would like to contribute on Facebook, become a Fan of us on Facebook, and click on the link below to add your opinion:
Posted by Patron of the Arts on Saturday, June 6
If you would like to join the discussion on twitter tag us @patronoftheart with #patronoftheartsbooks and let us know what your favorite book on art or the creative process is.
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An easel is defined as an upright support used for displaying or creating a canvas, board, or panel (aka: surface area). The surface area rests upon the easel from a range of about 20° to fully vertical.
Traditionally easels are used by painters to support a painting while they work on it, normally standing up, and are also sometimes used to display finished paintings. The vast majority of easel’s are typically made out of wood.
While, not immediately essential to the painter, once a painter introduces this tool to their process it quickly becomes indispensable. The easel lives up to its name adding an ease and flexibility to the creative’s process.
TYPES OF EASELS:
There are many types of easels to meet the various needs of each artist. Below you can find the description of each type, recommendations for purpose, and a link to what our research as the best selection and best price through Blick Art Materials.
A-frame Easels (Lyre easels):
A-frame easels are easels with 3 legs – 2 in front and 1 in back, triangular in silhouette. Then are called “A” frame because from the center front the structure resembles the letter “A”. The Tripod design allows for a sturdy foundation for painting and this shape is easy to setup in corners or tight spaces. Most models rear legs flatten for convenient storage.
Canvas Range: holds surface area up to 38″-75″
Recommended for: limited space (apartment or city living), or if you work in small or medium scale
Not recommended for: large-scale works,heavy works
“H” frame easels that most resemble the capital letter “H”. The shape of these lend for a much sturdier design than A-Frame easels. Due to their sturdiness H-frame easels are pieces of furniture, so it is ideal if you have dedicated studio space where you can leave them up. Some models come with storage areas for your paints and brushes. Any working artist will tell you that an investment in a good H-frame easel is well worth the money.
“H-Frame Easels derive a solid stance from their rectangular silhouette and their substantial rectangular bases. Several models accept giant canvases, most afford a forward tilt, and some have crank adjustments and paint tray features that offer even more convenience to the painter. These substantial workhorses command a presence in the studio. Many models can be collapsed for storage and transport, but they are heavier and clumsier in their collapsed state than A-Frame and Single-Mast easels.”
Canvas Range: holds surface up to 84″ – 96″
Recommended for: large scale works, dedicated area (not very convenient to store), stable surface area support
Not recommended for: small scale works, tight spaces, or where portability is required
Giant easels are for artists who want to work in large scale, or extra large scale that is works taller than 8 feet(244 cm). These Giant’s are especially sturdy and durable and can handle extra weight for heavy works that need extra support. Some models have the extra feature of a double mast, or a winch to hoist heavy surfaces.
Canvas Range: extra large scale that is works taller than 8 feet (244 cm)
Recommended for: large scale works, dedicated studio space, maximum stability for surface-area support
Not recommended for: small scale works, tight spaces, or where portability is required, requires lots of space
Convertible (Hybrid Easels):
Named convertible because these easels convert from an easel to a table top. This configuration is meant for multi-media artists who work in a variety of mediums and whose creative needs vary. Convertible easels are more sturdy than A-Frame easels.
“Convertible and Hybrid Easels serve the artist who is not satisfied to work in one medium. Most are designed to accommodate the needs of oil/acrylic painters while converting to the needs of the watercolorist or pastel painter. Most closely related to the H-Frame family, these easels provide a maximum of flexibility.”
Canvas Range: range varies depending on model, some with a max canvas size of 84″
Recommended for: artists who work in a variety of mediums, great for artists who need ease and flexibility in their creative flow
Not recommended for: large scale works, small spaces
Single Mast Easels:
“Single-Mast Easels are the simplest of easel forms. Their more affordable architecture can be appreciated for its elegance but cannot be counted on to provide the same sturdiness or flexibility of the other traditional forms. Single-Mast easels are often seen in cramped apartments or school studios where their advantages are clear. They take up less space, they collapse and store with great ease, and they are generally more affordable.”
Canvas Range: range varies depending on model, some with a max canvas size of 72″
Recommended for: limited space (apartment or city living), or if you work in small or medium scale, collapsable for storage, affordable
Not recommended for: large scale works, heavy works, large scale works
Tabletop or table mount Easels are great for artists who need to sit while working, artists who do not have a lot of floor space, or who prefer to work smaller. Available in many of the same styles as the larger floor models, the artist should be able to find the right style for their needs. These easels are perfect for artists who work in a small scale. Tabletop art easels are available in A-Frame, H-Frame, and single mast designs, with some models having room for supplies.
Some contain a drawer for holding art supplies, which is handy for artists who need to take their easel and supplies to and from home and school, for example. Depending on the specific model, some tabletop art easels can hold paintings up to 32″ high. The price range for tabletop art easels ranges from $15 – $200.
Canvas Range: range varies depending on model, some with a max canvas size of 72″
Recommended for: artists who work at a table or sitting down, limited space (apartment or city living), or if you work in small or medium scale, collapsable for storage, affordable
Not recommended for: large scale works, heavy works
Plein Air Easels (portable easels):
“Portable and Field Easels are designed for artists who plan on traveling with their easels, need to be able to easily move them around their studio, or who want to plein air paint. These easels fold to a compact size for easy storage and portability and are considerably lighter weight. These easels usually contain the minimal necessities to successfully use them effectively.”
Canvas Range: can hold paintings up to 45″ – 78″ inches high
Recommended for: artists that need portability, and to travel. Lightweight and convenient.
Not recommended for: large scale works, heavy works,
Bench Easel (Art Horse Easels):
Bench easels are for the artist who needs to have a place to sit. This type of easel combines a bench and either an easel, a drawing board, or another form of support bar. This allows the artist to sit while drawing or painting. They are collapsable for added connivence.
Canvas Range: can hold paintings up to 24″ inches high
Recommended for: artists that need portability, to sit and to travel. Lightweight and convenient.
Not recommended for: large scale works, heavy works,
“Display Easels are not recommended for using as a working artists easel. They tend to be made from lighter weight material, for easier storage and portability, but because of this they cannot hold heavier signs or artworks. Available in either wood or metal, table top or floor models, and collapsible or not, we have something to fit most needs.”
Canvas Range: can hold works up to 55″ inches high
Recommended for: display purposes only
Not recommended for: this is not a working easel, the structure does not have the stability to support any type of working art or artist.
“Children’s Easels are designed with the younger artist in mind. Designed to be shorter than traditional, adult style easels, they also tend to offer at least two sides to work on instead of just one. Some easels contain sides with dry erase panels, chalk board panels, or rolls of paper for drawing and painting. Many of these floor easels also have additional storage and trays for holding the child’s art supplies.”
“Display Easels are not recommended for actually using as a working easel. They tend to be made from lighter weight material, for easier storage and portability, but because of this they cannot hold heavier signs or artworks. Available in either wood or metal, table top or floor models, and collapsible or not, we have something to fit most needs.”
Canvas Range: can hold paintings up to 55″ inches high
Recommended for: younger children, to young kids this type of easel functions as a vertical standing table top with extras.
Not recommended for: adults- this type of easel does not offer range, flexibility or maneuverability that the mature artist prefers.
WATCH: LOOKING AT EASEL FEATURES
Would you like more information? Watch this short video about the various features on certain easels.
The following resources were used in the compilation of this article:
Blick Art Materials (website)
Types of Easels (website)
-article compiled, photographed & written by Lyrica Glory, founder of Patron of the Arts
“We travel because we need to, because distance and difference are the secret tonic to creativity. When we get home, home is still the same, but something in our minds has changed, and that changes everything.” – Jonah LeherTravel refreshes life and creativity. A journey to a new place; seeing the world with new, fresh eyes takes one outside of ones comfort zone and puts ones focus in the now. Creative muscles always feel refreshed after some time spent away from the studio.
For my most recent trip, a cruise to Alaska, I brought watercolor postcards and a portable set of watercolors to the stunningly beautiful Pacific Northwest. I often feel most creative on a relaxing vacation, so this project seemed ideal.
I like this project because you can either do it by yourself or in a group. The materials are small, lightweight and portable, about the size of a small paperback novel), all you need is a some water to rinse your brush, and water-color.
Watercolor postcards are contagious, once you find your creative zone, people will want to join in if you invite them. I enjoyed this project because now that I am home I have creative mementos to remember my trip by. Once I was home I felt inspired to finish this project out.
On the corner of each postcard, I dated them with the month, year and trip destination. I then mailed them to my friends and family (being sure to include myself) that I had painted the postcards with.
On the back I wrote a short little note about something I enjoyed from the trip. At this point the postcards became more personal and valuable than anything that I could have purchased in a gift shop because now when I see the postcard I sent to myself I remember the experience of creating them with my loved ones.
And if you really want to splurge check out this awesome travel case:
- Project is completely portable, with all the materials fitting in an area about the size of a small paperback novel.
- Project is appropriate and fun for all ages.
- Make sure to bring extra brushes, and possibly a few sets of paint if you plan on doing this in a group.
- Location Ideas: family reunions (family gatherings), camping, cruises, beach,picnics,any place relaxing and fun!)
-created, written & photographed by Lyrica Glory, founder of Patron of the Arts
“There is something uncommonly heartening about bearing witness to the virtuous cycle of support and mutual appreciation between two creative luminaries…
“One of the most touching such exchanges was between two of the greatest artists and most remarkable women the world has ever known — Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keeffe. Both were prolific letter writers — Kahlo in her passionate illustrated love letters to Diego Rivera, and O’Keeffe in her equally passionate love letters to Alfred Stieglitz, her lifelong correspondence with her best friend, and her emboldening missives to Sherwood Anderson. But what Kahlo wrote to O’Keeffe in 1933 was a wholly different kind of epistolary and human magic.
“Even though the Mexican painter had herself been dealt an unfair hand — including a miscarriage just a few months earlier, her mother’s recent death, and more than thirty operations over the course of her life after a serious traffic accident during adolescence sent an iron rod through her stomach and uterus — Kahlo didn’t hesitate to reach out with a beam of compassion during O’Keeffe’s moment of crisis.” -OpenCulture.com
Was wonderful to hear your voice again. Every day since I called you and many times before months ago I wanted to write you a letter. I wrote you many, but every one seemed more stupid and empty and I torn them up. I can’t write in English all that I would like to tell, especially to you. I am sending this one because I promised it to you. I felt terrible when Sybil Brown told me that you were sick but I still don’t know what is the matter with you. Please Georgia dear if you can’t write, ask Stieglitz to do it for you and let me know how are you feeling will you ? I’ll be in Detroit two more weeks. I would like to tell you every thing that happened to me since the last time we saw each other, but most of them are sad and you mustn’t know sad things now. After all I shouldn’t complain because I have been happy in many ways though. Diego is good to me, and you can’t imagine how happy he has been working on the frescoes here. I have been painting a little too and that helped. I thought of you a lot and never forget your wonderful hands and the color of your eyes. I will see you soon. I am sure that in New York I will be much happier. If you still in the hospital when I come back I will bring you flowers, but it is so difficult to find the ones I would like for you. I would be so happy if you could write me even two words. I like you very much Georgia.
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A paint brush is to an oil painter, what a magic wand is to a wizard. That is to say that it is a tool that makes all the difference to the practitioner. A good brush is well worth the investment and will get better once it is broken in.
Traditionally, brushes used for oil painting are made out of hog’s hair (bristle) and sable. Increasingly, synthetic brushes made from materials such as nylon, are becoming more and more popular. A good brush will hold its shape, in paint and on canvas, bouncing back to its original shape. The bristles should be firm, neither overly limp or to springy.
Oil painting brushes have 2 handle sizes- long wooden handle and which is up to 12 inches and short- meant for detail.
Long handle brushes are used in a horizontal position with the painting surface vertical.The long handle serves to balance the brush in your hand, centering the brush so the paint will flow better.
The size of the brush by the brush head with No. 1 being the finest and No.12/14 the broadest.
TYPES OF BRUSHES:
The three most important shapes for oil painting brushes are- flat, round and filbert.
flat: these have a wedge-shaped square tip. Flat brushes are primarily used for blocking in large areas of color, in the painting’s early stage.
round: these brushes taper at the tip. Round brushes are used to create a more linear/straight brush stroke.
filbert: these brushes resemble a finger tip. Filbert brushes are used to apply color broadly. Used on its side, a filbert gives a thin line; used on it’s broad side (flat) it produces a heavy thick brush stroke.
Sable: also known as “soft” brushes, and are used for finer detail.
Bristle: also known as hog’s hair. These are a stiffer bristle, and are therefore better for larger brushes.
If your looking at filling in the of your oil painting basic brush collection for oil painting, we recommend getting the following brushes:
Flats: #12,#4-8 and #2
Filberts: #12,#4-8 and #2
Rounds: #2 or #3
If you are looking to get the most value for money, we would suggest investing in a complete set of brushes rather than buying each one individually. Brush sets, contain most of the brushes that you need in addition to a few extra’s that are just nice to have. These sets generally tend to be a good deal.
Most major brands have great sets, but we would suggest checking out the following sets:
Visit Blick Art Materials, to see a comprehensive selection of brushes. Selection can be found here:
CLEANING YOUR BRUSHES:
In order to maintain a long lasting relationship with your brush it is good practice to clean your brushes after each session. Integrate this extra step into your painting regime and this will drastically help prolong the life of each brush.1. Solvent as a Cleaner
-Start by wiping excess paint on a rag, removing extra paint will make the job much easier.
-Rinse brush in mineral solvent, it’s okay to use the used solvent from your painting session. Try to get all the paint off the bristles.
-Use RAG to remove solvent and paint on bristles.
-Rinse brush under running water.
-Once brush is clean, remove excess liquid from bristles and shape into correct form. Store upright in container to dry.
-Squeeze liquid dish soap into the palm of your hand. With water running work soap into brush bristles until. Work through, rinse and repeat until there is no more paint remaining.
-Reshape brush, and let it dry completely.
-Mix together a gallon of warm water and 1/2 cup fabric softener.
-Swirl brush in solution, paint should begin to come off in the mixture. Shake off and rinse any remaining solution.
-Reshape brush into correct shape and let dry.
-Place the brush in an old pot and cover it with vinegar. You want the bristles to be completely covered with vinegar
-Bring the vinegar to a slow simmer on the stove. Simmer vinegar with the paintbrushes for a few minutes.
-Remove brushes, let them cool.
-Comb bristles, working paint out of the bristles.
-Rise and shape brush.
BRUSH CLEANER & WASHER:
We have become huge fans of this type of brush cleaner. This metal brush cleaner features a grate at the bottom of the cleaning chamber that allows paint sediment from your brushes to fall to the bottom of the outer pot. This helps keep the fluid fresh for the next use, saving you time and preserving your solvent. The lid has a built-in gasket that forms an air tight, leak proof seal, preventing the smells and harsh fumes of solvents from escaping, and keeping solvents from spilling out.
Less expensive versions are made from glass and contain a metal grate at the bottom, and is also sealable.
USE FOR PALETTE KNIVES:
Palette knives are mainly used for mixing and blending colors on a palette. Some artists use this tool as an instrument to paint with, although it generally is not recommended for most painting styles as it creates a heavy chunky stroke.
TIP: If you live in the United States, the best selection and prices come from Blick Art Materials, the most convenient and fast is Amazon.
-article compiled, photographed & written by Lyrica Glory, founder of Patron of the Arts