Materials · oil painting · Uncategorized

Burnt Umber Struggles

The majority of the paintings I do are tiny. Even my “big” ones are relatively small in comparison with the works of many contemporary painters. My tubes of paint tend to last a long time. I almost always have left over paints on my palette at the end of a painting session.

I’ve learned that using a sealable palette box helps. I work on a glass palette set up on a table in front of me if I’m standing or held in my lap if I’m sitting. The glass is easy to clean off when I’m completely out of mixing space or I’m starting a painting that is going to take my puddles in a new direction. It also keeps the oils in the paint from absorbing into the palette itself – which is what a wood palette does if not completely sealed.

I put a couple of drops of clove oil on a cotton ball or tissue in the corner of the box and the majority of paint will stay workable overnight. All but the burnt umber. That glob of paint just turns into a rock overnight and within hours of putting a fresh glob out on the palette while I am painting, it forms a skin which I must break open repeatedly to find usable paint as I work. It’s annoying. It wastes valuable paint.

Freezing the entire palette in the box is another option – especially if I’ll be away longer than overnight, but it doesn’t solve the fast drying of the burnt umber.

So I’m trying out a different brand to see if it gives me any relief. I’ll report back with my findings soon.

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