Here’s a shot I took of my palette the other day. I’ve often found palettes can be almost as interesting as the paintings they produce – even if they are not cleaned very often. Here it’s quite messy, I grabbed a few brushes I had to hand and mixed some quick glazes to adjust a mural. The only tube of cerulean blue I could find was one of inferior quality, so I ripped apart an old tube of better stuff and found a fair bit still left in there. I was using decorators Purdy brushes – a long standing favourite of mine for broad strokes.
Here I’m working on skin tones in a mural and the palette is much more ordered. I’ve mixed up a whole gamut of colours that encompass the area I’ll be working on. It’s laid out from dark to light and also cool to warm. This allows me to cherry pick the colours to apply. For me it’s worth spending time getting this right at this stage as it makes the process of painting so much smoother. It’s not quite as dark as the darkest tones I have to work on or as light as the lightest as this will give me a bit of room to maneuver at the end – a chance to kick the contrast out one way or the other. I’ve limited the colours I’m mixing from here to yellow ochre, vermillion, black (can’t remember which one!) and titanium white. This gives me the basics for the painting but I can work into it again using other colours for subtleties I can’t achieve otherwise. There are quite a few brushes here too – I try to keep the colours seperate on brushes so as not to muddy them.
I built my mixing palette from an old oak serving trolley. I had a piece of glass cut to the shape of the top and painted the underside of it white. I find this perfect for mixing colours and very easy to scrape clean with a razor blade glass cleaner.