Friday, April 1, 2011

Converting my Palette Challenge

I'm a sucker for color. Over time I had ended up with 2- thirty-two well watercolor palettes.  I had to hunt down a 32 well palette because usually you find palettes with 8-20 wells. I was lucky when I found the 32 wells. BUT after time I needed more wells.
I had seen how some artist use plastic and glue to divide palette wells. But I am a Dental Technician experienced with WAX. And I have a supply of wax.  So I thought why not use wax that I already have and my dental waxing tools that I have? Yes, I said and it's free. Well at one time I had to buy the wax but if I went the glue and plastic route I would have to make a shopping trip.  I am so in the mode lately to recycle and use what is in my home.
I was also tired of trying to position 2 large palettes by my side when I would paint. It was awkward and didn't leave much room for my water and brushes.
So here is how I began.
Watercolors removed & Saved

I had to clear out the paint in my current palette.  I picked my newest palette to be the converted palette. So I popped out the paint with a table knife, put them in lunch bags and wrote their names on the bag. Some of the lighter color paints I wrote on the bottom side of the paint itself.  I left paint in my old palette. No reason to pop it out till ready to put them in the new palette.
Divider project with Watercolor palette

Here is the set up for the project.  I laid out my supplies. On the far right you can see my waxer. It is a tool like a pen with a very hot tip. (more later). Then you see I have the palette. I did use finger nail polish remover to get the old paint names off the outside edges of the palette. I have here also a cutting board and the pink wax is denture wax. It is rather brittle. The little tins are filled with carving wax. I will use that in place of glue.
Cutting dental wax

I cut the wax to shape
Dental wax sealed

I began to wax the divider into place with the green carving wax. At this point I am not sure about this pink denture wax.
dental waxer

Here is the waxing pen. It is amazing. I love it.  It has several tips. I had set the temperature to 400 but eventually went to 418 F.  If you have it too cool the wax won't flow, if it is too hot then it drips off the pen too fast in unwanted places and it starts to melt the pink denture wax. This waxer unit is more than $400. Love it.
Wax divider and waxer

Close up of waxing pen.
After a good nights sleep I decided that I didn't like the pink denture wax dividers. So I pulled out my red boxing wax.

Here I am finished waxing all of the dividers.  Some of the wells have 2 dividers to make 3 spaces. Some have 1 divider to make 2 spaces.
detail of Palette

Ok, yes the green wax looks messy. I did clean that up. It was from the first attempt with the pink wax.
Finished Palette before paints project

Here is a Bird's Eye View of the waxing part finished. I really am pleased with this.  This idea had swam in my head for months. I was slow in doing it because I knew it was a big project. But it is so worth it. Now I can carry just one palette to class with most of my colors.
Finished Palette project

Here we have the colors in their places.  I wanted to group the colors in families, like greens, reds, browns. Years ago they were placed as I bought the watercolor.  99% of these colors are Daniel Smith Fine Watercolors.  I did have to trim down the side of the paint I had popped out of the old palette because they were too big to fit in their new wells.  I put the remainder back in their ziplock bag to save.  After I put the colors in their new homes I wet them down.  I let that soak for a few hours and then went back with a toothpick and smoothed out the paint into the length of the new well.  Some paint is soft and rubbery and some is grainy.

Finished Palette project-close up

Here I have labeled the names of the paints.  I think it is important to know the names. After using this palette I will memorize what position each color is but I do like to know their official names.  It is so easy to forget and if you have a teacher who says to try Quinacridone Coral, then I want to know which one that is.
Finished Palette project

Another view of the labels. Yes I did eliminate quite a few colors because they were just old and a cheap brand.

Finished Palette project

And there you have the finished palette of new wells for watercolor.  Can you guess how many wells I have now?  hmmm?
I have a total of 75, yes 75 wells.  And one is empty.  I thought just in case I buy a new color. Hahahahahahahaa

I did use the new palette in class on Monday 3/28  My Birthday,(yeah) but I don't like the painting.  It is not my style.  I have an issue with my class. ugh.
Here is the unfinished painting.
Mountain & Daisys 02

 I can't tell you how much I hate this painting. I hate the colors, the composition and I would like to go start the fire in the fireplace with it. I thought if I ink in the daises I would like it more but I did a few and I still hate the painting.

I want to do some paintings of magnified views of rocks or flowers or cut glass vases.
The teacher is older and I think she is stuck in old fashioned ideas. The other students eat this stuff up. But then again they are older.  The one thing I just can't stand is that she has us painting from her painting.  I want to paint from something real, real flowers, a real animal, real rocks or a photo of them.  Then it is my interpretation.  I have a different eye and will pick out colors that maybe someone else doesn't see. But how can you do that when you are told to paint from her painting?
Any thoughts?

Well have a great April Fools Day.
Happy Painting.


  1. Love the way you've altered your palette! Nice work using what you have rather than buying more.

    I don't find the painting so bad, in fact, it's good. However, I hear where you're coming from. It seems that her style of teaching is simply not how you learn best.

  2. Wow! I am impressed. I too like your painting, but I agree that using nature and what is around you would be better. Can't wait to see what you come up with on your own. Makes me want to pull out my old watercolors and brushes.