Oil Painting Tips - Organizing Your Palette

By: P Merry

Oil Painting Tips - Organizing Your Palette

Organizing your palette when using oils is an essential skill to learn. It seems trivial but a well organized palette will make your painting easier. How you organize your palette is up to you. Every artist has their own preferences and there is no "best" way to organize your palette. It is purely a subjective matter. There are however, a few rules that should be followed.

The first obvious thing to consider is the palette itself. It should be made from non porous material to prevent oil being absorbed into the palette. Palettes come in all materials from glass to wood, which you choose is down to personal preferences just ensure it's non porous. Think about cleaning the palette; how easy will this be?

If you're just starting to paint it's a good idea to start with a small section of colours. Too many colours on a palette can be confusing for the novice painter. One of the frustrating mistakes novices make is trying to mix too many colours on a palette which leads to muddy colours.

Start off with a limited palette and add more colours as you become more experienced. Which colours you choose is up to you a possible choice would be: Burnt Umber, Raw Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Cadium Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Ivory Black, and some Greens. Also titanium White is essential. You'll need a larger tube of Titanium White because you'll be using this to lighten up the other colours.

Lay your colours out on the palette the same way every time. You will soon get to know where they are without having to look at your palette. This will also ensure when you get into the flow of painting you will not be slowed down by having to look where your colours are.

Put your colours at the edge of your palette and squeeze a good amount of paint out. It's frustrating having to stop and squeeze more paint out every few minutes, so don't shrimp here. Use the interior of the palette for mixing your colours.

A good idea is to squeeze your paints out in lines rather than blobs. As your painting progresses your colours will become contaminated with each other. By squeezing them out in lines you can take paint from the edges and always have a line of pure colour.

Wipe your palette knife regularly so you keep your colours clean and prevent them from becoming muddy. It's also a good idea to wipe your palette clean at regular intervals with alcohol. Oil paint is difficult to remove if it is allowed to dry.

The kind of palette you use and the way you lay your paints out are essential to your enjoyment of painting. Take your time over this decision and don't skimp on buying a good palette. You will be using your palette all the time so you want to be sure you have a good one. As you increase in experience you will soon become proficient in colour mixing.

About the Author:
Paul Merry wrote for http://www.artscraftsandhobbies.co.uk/. The original website is not online at this time.


How to set up your oil painting palette



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