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Monday, June 17, 2013

An Artist's Palette

What is an Artist's Palette?

There a couple answers to this question. It can be a selection of colors and it is the surface that holds those colors.  I use both definitions as do all artists.  For instance, my selection of colors for a painting is most typically a limited palette.  Preferring to mix and blend, I select five or fewer pigments for each work.

The palette selected for a desert plant painting.

If you look up the definition of palette you will find that it is 'the board on which an artist mixes their colors.'   Being a person who likes to reuse things I frequently use old plastic tubs and containers for my palette, the place where I place the pigments, and because I paint with acrylics which dry very quickly I need a palette that has a closing cover.  You see here that my current palette is the bottom half of a container that at one time held a salad.  It is a bit of a clam shell affair, so the top is placed over when I am not painting which keeps the paint fresh.  

Because I like this particular palette container additional pigments were added when I started a new painting.  I kept to my limited selection of color using the new and ignoring the old.  The palette certainly began to take on a bit of a messy look.

Then when I got into a third painting more color was added.    This was a bit unusual for me.  I normally start each painting with a fresh palette.  Again, I have to say, I like this particular container, so I have just continued to add to it.  Then I started a fourth painting and an interesting thing happened, a serendipitous effect.  Quite accidentally a bit of the magenta, which was used in a floral painting, was picked up by the brush while working on a Tahoe Rock painting.  

Lake Tahoe Boulder painting by Pamela Hunt Lee
Currently exhibited at Spirit Gallery, Truckee, CA

Now my use and reuse of this palette container is causing me to use a new palette (colors) in some of my paintings.  I rather like this idea of allowing fresh new color to come into my work.  

And there you have it....An Artist's Palette....with a bit of a digression telling how it works for me.

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