Bert's Blog

Floral Oil Paintings by Bert

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Storing Your Oil Pallet

It can take me weeks or months to finish a floral oil painting depending upon the size of the canvas and the complexity of the composition. Sadly a pallet of oils would dry hard a as a rock if left in the open air.

But, one of the nice things about working with oils besides the luscious colors is I don’t waste a lot of paint remixing colors. Oil paints unlike Acrylic paints can be put in the freezer. Don’t put Acrylics in the freezer they will be ruined.

So how do you put an oil pallet in the freezer and keep it from messing up all of the things in your freezer you ask. Put your pallet in a pallet container like the one in the image below. This container is 16.5″ x 12.5″ and holds my pallet nicely. You can find the Masterson containers at DickBlick.com, but you may be able to find them at other locations.

Pallet Container - Blog

When I am done painting for the day I put my pallet into the Masterson container and ensure most of the air is out, then put it into the freezer. I take my pallet container out of the freezer when I am ready to paint again and let it warm up before I open it. I have cracked the Masterson pallet containers when I have tried to open them right out of the freezer. I have also found that you get a better airtight seal when you put Vaseline along the edges where the container seals, see the red arrow in the image below. When you store your pallet like this it can last weeks even month before you have to scrape off the pigment and remix. I find that different colors dry faster than other.

Pallet Container 2 - Blog

If you have any questions or have ideas for a future blog drop me a note. Happy painting.

Mixing A Pallet

Like I mentioned in the pallet mapping blog each floral oil painting has a unique pallet. When I lay out a pallet, I start by focusing on the colors of the flower I am going to need. If you looked at the pallet below you can see I have laid out the colors from left to right: Red to Orange to Yellow to Green. The  row of colors in the middle are strait from the tube with no mixing, look at my last blog on pallet mapping to see the specific colors. Then I proceed to add a small amount of white to each color to give me a lighter tint of each color directly below the color from the tube. I repeat the process to give me an even lighter tint below that.  Instead of shading with black I use the approximate opposite color on the color wheel to mix a shade and place it directly above the color out of the tube. I repeat the process for another row above as needed. A little bit goes a long way when shading so it is best to start with just a “touch” of the opposite color. I record my mixtures on my pallet map for this painting. When the pallet is laid out like this it makes it easier to see the right shade of color to use when painting and minimizes the amount of blending on the canvas. If you have any questions or ideas for a blog please drop me a note and I will respond.

Glass Pallet - Blog

Glass Pallet

Pallet Mapping

The color pallet for the floral oil paintings that I create are unique to each flower based upon color of the flower. A single painting can take weeks or months depending upon the complexity of the composition. I have found that it is useful to create a Pallet Map to help me remember the colors I mixed on the pallet.  A Pallet Map shows the different colors I have used along with combinations, some call them recipes, for various colors I have created. When I need to mix more of any color I can refer back to my Pallet Map to remind me what color combination I used. Below is a sample Pallet Map that I created that corresponds to the glass pallet below. I will talk more about why I mixed the colors on my pallet in the way I did in another blog. If you have any specific questions or ideas for blogs please drop me a note and I will respond.

Pallet Map

Glass Pallet - Blog

Glass Pallet

Wood, Glass or Ceramic Pallet

The pallet you choose to use will obviously depend upon the medium you are working with. I like a square 10.5″ x 10.5″ ceramic pallet for Water Colors and I label the pigments I am using with ink along the edge of the plate. The center of the ceramic plate is where I like to do most of my blending, this helps keep the original pigments from getting too muddy from mixing.

Ceramic Pallet

When I am working with Oil pigments the pallet I use depends upon where I am working. If I am working in my studio I work with my glass pallet. If I am working outside I use my wooden pallet.

I use 11″ x 15″ glass pallet with beveled edges that is frosted on the back. Mine is about 1/4″ thick. You should be able to pick one up from a local glass supplier. The nice thing about using a glass pallet is it makes clean up a snap particularly when some of the paint has dried onto the pallet and it is easy to store between uses which I will talk about in a future blog.I put a neutral background behind my pallet, in this case it is a cream colored towel to help protect the surface under the pallet.

Glass Pallet

        To clean up, I use a razor blade to scrape off the dried on paint and then wipe down the pallet with Gamblin GAMSOL Odorless Mineral Spirits. Be careful not to scratch the surface of the glass with the razor blade, keep the blade horizontal to the glass, see the picture below.

     My trusty wooden pallet 12″ x 16″ is great when I am outdoors. I usually clean my pallet every time after I paint so it keep the paint from drying on it.

Wooden Pallet

Scammers Targeting Artists

Given the holiday season is here I thought for my first blog I would give other artists another heads up about scammers. For some reason scammers love to pick on artist.
The email usually starts something like this:

I love your artwork and I am interested in purchasing “X” art. Recently moved to “Y” and all of my household goods are being shipped. I would like to pay you for your art and the shipping all at once, and you can reimburse my shipper. Please provide me your shipping address and phone number.
My standard response to them is:

I checked with my accountant to see how to handle a transaction of this nature. They informed me that a transaction of this nature would be considered money laundering and I could be prosecuted for “Proceeds of Crime Money (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (S.C. 2000, c.17)”.

I found the reference to this act in Canada, but I’m sure you can find one appropriate for your country. Happy Holidays!