A great contributor to my recent exploratory techniques and methods, was my decision to switch, for the foreseeable future, to the hand held artists palettes such as the one pictured above.
It is quite a different experience form the table top glass palette i had been using. It has a very personal feel to it, you have it nestled in your hand and arm, and it is a part of your physical being while working, an extension of yourself.
I've noticed my colors have brightened up a bit, I am almost instinctively using a lot more paint and much less turpentine.
I believe this is due to the fact that the palette is literally in close proximity to my eyes. I don't have to look too far down and see the colors i am mixing from way up above. All i need is there, the brightness, the values, the hues, all in a compact area on my left arm.
Working with these types of palettes, the painting experience has become much more personal, i feel i am really into the process, not necessarily leaving little room for doubt, but it's almost like there is no doubt, whatever little doubts there are are being taken care right before my eyes in the mixing process on the palette.
This whole palette thing began one day not long ago while i was cleaning around in my studio and came across a paint box i had not used in a while, i opened it and saw the rectangular palette. I played around with it for a bit, pretended what it would be like to paint with it, and it felt natural.
A few days later i was getting bored of my usual working routine, and decided to have some fun and use the rectangular palette, i even added some turp and Linseed oil to the little clip on pots it came with. Needless to say now, i love every second of it, it was a revitalization my mind had been in a much need of for a while now.
I also bought a round, oval palette, since this is what i always see all the "painters" using, figured i'd give it a try and see what difference, if any, there was.
It is a bit different, more room to work with, the mixing area is nice and wide, and even the way to hold it feels a bit more natural, but not much difference was noted.
One thing i do need to do to it, i though i did, but more needs to be done, i have to sand and seal the surface of the oval palette. I had used several coats of polyurethane, as well as several washes of Linseed oil, and though it feels smooth to the touch and the paint doesn't slide off of it, i still feel my brush getting stuck in the wood fibers from time to time, especially at the beginning stages of the painting process. After a while with all the paint on the palette surface, this "brush getting stuck" this goes away, but it is a slight pain in the beginning.
I was reading somewhere online that over time, with the oils in the oil paints, this "sealing" of the palette will take care of itself, so i suppose that is a problem that is expected of most wooden palettes at first.
all in all, I am loving working with the wooden palette. It is a very personal and different experience, and not only that, i learned that when feeling a bit stuck or in a rut, the best thing to do is to break out the box and try something different, just to change things up, and above all, do it just for fun, play with it, this is the only way to find the secrets that are waiting to be discovered.