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Saturday, October 03, 2009

Design is Everything - the Perfect Palette


Well, today I won't be posting the Saturday Morning Skraw, but I have been drawing things up this week.

Plato once said "Necessity is the mother of invention" and working as hard and as long as I have this week in my studio, I got so frustrated and covered in paint that I decided I was going to do something about it.  You see, I have 2 palettes that I use when I paint - a hand-held palette, and a table palette with a glass top for easy clean up.  The problem I have been having is with the hand-held palette.  After searching for hours online for a palette that would solve my problem of getting oil paint on my left sleeve and arm, and the occasional stress and pain I feel in my left arm from holding the palette a certain way, I sat down and designed my own palette - one that would put an end to paint on my left sleeve and arm, one that would rest comfortably on my left hip or belt if I wanted, and one that had the correct angle at the fingers that I could place used brushes in my left hand easily.

So you can understand what I created here, let's take a look at some artist palettes:



This is an example of the palette I have used for years.  When I hold this palette in my left hand and rest it on my left arm, the paint on the palette gets all over my sleeve and my arm.  There is also no good place to stick a medium cup onto the palette.



This is Renoir's actual palette.  I have to admit that I have wondered if the image was on the palette when he was using it.  That would make mixing colors complicated I would think.  Still, the square design does not make for comfort in resting the palette on your left arm.  I've known a number of artists that use the square palette and they are really uncomfortable - I mean, the left bottom corner of the palette gets in the way of your arm and your clothes and makes it cumbersome on your arm.



This is the palette of renowned portrait artist Nelson Shanks. He is probably one of the most outstanding living artists of our time.  Now this is better design - well, sorta.  First of all, see the opening for your fingers in front of the thumb hole?  This design makes it difficult to place brushes in your hand while holding the palette, and I've noticed in some video of his demonstrations at the Studio Incamminati that his palette is sitting on a table in front of him rather than on his arm.  In addition, the curve that would be at your stomach is too deep, and the curve that rests on his arm would again be cutting into the bend of his arm at the elbow thereby getting paint on his clothes and arm, unless, of course, he holds it at the curve you see at the bottom.  The problem with that, though, is that the palette will curve right into your stomach, so it doesn't conform to your body comfortably.



This is the palette of artist Fatima Ronquillo.  Love her artwork.  She has mingled classical portraiture with modern design by creating portraits of characters you might say.  Children, but no particular one.  You can't help but be drawn into her work.  So, let's look at her palette.  She has room to hold her brushes in her fingers, however, the palette curves towards her stomach when she is holding it, and again, the left bottom corner curves right where you don't really want it to - in the bend of your arm, making it nearly impossible to avoid getting paint on your left sleeve and arm.



So, after drawing, erasing, and cutting out multiple designs, I finally designed the best dang palette ever.  It is so good, in fact, that I am going to offer them up for sale.  Made in America I might add.  Better yet, made in Charlotte, North Carolina - in my studio and on my deck to be more precise.

I made this one out of birch, but I am going to go to the lumber yard next week and get a sheet of Mahogany and Walnut, and make palettes out of those hardwoods as well.  The only difference will be that the palette will be heavier.  This palette is nice and lightweight.  



It doesn't matter if you are left or right handed - all you have to do is turn it over for the hand that you hold your palette.  This picture was taken right after I had  finished sanding it.  My Big Bear cut it out based on my pattern that I drew on the Birch wood panel.



After I sanded the palette, I stained it with equal parts of Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber - that way it isn't too Red or too Brown.  A perfect mid-tone.

Next step is to varnish it after it dries and to prevent it from absorbing the paints when placed on the palette.

Here is an explanation of the features that were important to me in the design ...



Click on the images to see a larger view.  Pretty cool design don't you think?

Here are the dimensions:



I am really proud of this palette and its design.  I hold it and it is lightweight, comfortable, and doesn't get in my way when I paint.  It curves around the bend of my arm and I don't get paint on my arm and clothes.  I have plenty of room for my palette of paint colors and for mixing and also for attaching a medium cup.  I love the fact that it rests on my arm so comfortably and I can rest in on my hip too.



I am calling it the "Red Easel Palette" after my Fine Art company "Red Easel, LLC."  

And guess what?  I am offering it for sale right here on Raisin Toast and also on my Red Easel site at www.redeasel.com. 

I think it is a great value at 139.95.  I priced palettes across the internet that were approximately this size and a few were as expensive as 150.95.  Small ones were as inexpensive as 26.95 but very small and basic. 

Just consider this - it is entirely handmade!  On my Deck!  In North Carolina!

Hope you like it.  That is what I have been working on all week at the expense of the laundry which I promised my Big Bear I would get done today. 

If you would like a Red Easel Palette of your own, just email me at [email protected] and I'll get right on it.  I've even provided a BuyNow button below to make your purchase easy via PayPal. 

Hope you have a great weekend!  I'm gonna paint!




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