Sunday, October 4, 2009

Some of My Tools

It is often interesting to others to see the tools used by artists for achieving the paintings that are so interesting to them. I work with two palettes (only one at a time, of course), which I hand-hold. I am a lefty, so I hold the palette in my right hand when I paint. Each of these is a thin, mahogany, plywood palette--one in a larger, rectangle shape, and one in a smaller, kidney-shape, most often associated with the "normal" palette shape for most artists.
These are each polished like fine furniture, and all without having applied any sort of a formal, "finish". The sheen and patina on these palettes has evolved through nothing more complicated than the simple squeezing out of paint onto the palettes, and then using them for mixing. When finished, I just scrape off the remaining paint with a putty knife, and then, using no solvent, simply buff the residual paint film off, with a paper towel.
After a few dozen cleanings after the end of each painting session, the sheen of the naturally-created patina begins to appear.


  1. You have some super great photography on your blog. I was amazed at the clarity of your pictures. Very nice.

  2. Bill, I'm a huge fan! Hope you don't mind if I post a link to your blog on my page.

  3. Hi Bill,

    I was wondering if you have a box big enough to fit your palette in to put in the fridge if you know you'll be away for a while and, if you do, where did you get the box.


  4. In the past, I've tried various ways of "conserving" paint, including that which you mentioned--putting it in the refrigerator (or freezer, even). I have quite truly discovered such methods to be false economy, as I was usually forced to deal with less than optimum paint, with each method--skinned, gummy, half-dried, etc. At present, I try to squeeze out on my palette only that which I intend to use for my session, and then I pitch the remaining paint. I do this after each and every painting session. My palette remains open (wet/usable) for a 3 to 4 hour session, or even longer, usually, because of the medium that I use.

  5. Love your palette cleaning tecnique! I also use several palettes ranging from 12x16 to 11x14 glass to 4x6 minis. I also just scape off the paint at the end of the day...or the next day before I start...and begin with fresh. I used to try to save all that left over paint, too, but once I started using alkyds, that stopped fast, lol! Now, I often have to scrape and refresh at about the 4 hour point in the days painting because the paint just gets too sticky! I'm enjoying your blog and love your artwork! Kerry

  6. I was following a class on wet canvas titled tones and their application and when I had to leave and came back I couldn't find it again. Is it possible to access that program again.

  7. Pat, You are probably referring to my Tone/Value Workshop on Wet Canvas, in which I explain the proper placement of a middle value within a painting.

    This is the link:

  8. Kerry, I avoid the use of alkyd mediums with traditional oil paint.