Friday, April 23, 2010

Watercolor Palettes - Homee, Holbein, Craig Young (Oh my)

I've spent the last 2 days researching metal folding watercolor palettes for plein air use and have come to the conclusion that what I have currently - a plastic 'Homee' palette which I think I purchased from Art Xpress, is looking better all the time!  I have the 'small' size.  It offers more mixing areas and has a small rubber 'seal' around the edge which keeps my pigments moist and also helps prevent spillage when closed.  The clear plastic mixing area that fits in the lid is removable for cleaning, so the white lid itself it can also be used as an extra mixing area if needed.

However, lately I've been toying with the idea of using a palette I can hold in my hand, as I sometimes feel I can't get to my colors fast enough when painting.  I've tried different ways to position it closer to my board while painting en plein air, but I still tend to 'hit' the easel with my brush a lot when going back and forth between palette and board.  Since my left hand is usually just holding extra brushes, thought I'd try holding a palette in it instead (and could still hold a brush or two/my small mist bottle).  So that would require a palette with either a 'thumb ring' mounted underneath the palette or a thumb hole, neither of which the Homee palette has.

I really like the palette used by Alvaro Castagnet, but after much, much searching to find the maker of this palette, I discovered that it is way out of my piddly little price range, not to mention that the waiting list to get one is months.  It's one of those little jewels that I can only dream of some day owning, if ever.   Craig Young is the maker of these beautiful watercolor palettes, and I literally mean 'maker', as each one is hand-made, signed and numbered, thus the high cost (approx. $400.00 USD for the 'Paint box' model which I like).  They are truly works of art.  You can see them on line at the Paint Box Company.  Drool away...

The following are threads that led me to Craig Young's Watercolor Palette:

Wet Canvas - This Wet Canvas thread is finely where I found it.  At the bottom of the page are images of the long anticipated arrival of an artist's one-of-a-kind Craig Young Palette which had just arrived to his home.  As your scrolling to bottom of page to view images, pause to view an image another artist posted of a Craig Young painting.

Painters Online - Artist 'Harry' describes going to Young's home and workshop to pick up his palette in person.

Well, in my dreams.  If I do purchase a palette, it will probably be Holbein's 1000 series which Art Xpress is offering for a great price of around $72.  A lot of artists seem to like this palette (I think it's what Zbukvic is using in his videos).   Be sure though, if purchasing one, that you get the Holbein brand, as there are some Holbein 'look alikes' out there.

Well I was thinking, there must be some way, since I like my Homee palette just fine for now, to rig something so I can hold it in my left hand while painting.  This is the ceramic artist in me, making one's own tools is part of the fun of being a potter (but I'm always trying to think of ways to 'fix' a problem).  I thought of a small plastic oil/acrylic palette that came with an old paint box I bought at a garage sale a few years ago.  Even though covered with dried up paint, I knew all it needed was a good scraping and it would be good-to-go.  It has the perfect shape - about 5" wide x 10 1/2 " long - perfect to velcro my watercolor palette to!  Using Velcro would enable me to quickly remove it for cleaning, storage, or to use laying flat.

I scraped the paint off and here's what it looks like:
 The thumb hole for this little palette is very comfortable, which is why I saved it. 

Then, I laid my open palette on it to see how it 'felt'.  It felt just fine on my arm, with the paints at the top, just like I prefer.  The lid, or large palette area rests perfectly against the inside of my elbow.  Now, where's that extra black Velcro tape I saved from my last hair-brain project..  then again, that Holbein 1000 sure is purdy...


Anonymous said...

Becky, Have you looked at the palette by Natural Pigments?

Rebecca J. Dunn said...

I remember seeing these palettes, but skipped over them because they're for pan colors and I use tube pigments. I realize artists also use the pan palettes for their tube paints, but personally it would drive me crazy trying to use tube colors in them. I also wanted a palette with a few more wells. They are nice looking palettes though. They'd be great for carrying in a small bag or glove compartment of your car. Thanks for the reply!

Geoff Allen said...

The "Shy Artist" palette is a plastic version of the Craig Young, easy to hold and folds up to nothing. It has 4 deep wells and two shallow sides that fold out. I did a half sheet and felt comfortable but I think beyond that size it might be difficult to pre mix enough wash.

Rebecca J. Dunn said...

Hi Geoff, thanks so much for the comment. At first I wasn't familiar with the palette your speaking of, but after Googling it, I remembered seeing it recently. Also interesting, as I was Googling, I noticed this link:

that shows several new makers of similar palettes to Craig Young's including, I think, the 'Shy Artist' palette you mentioned, that we all might want to check out! Thanks again for the input! Sorry, but you'll have to copy and paste the link into your web browser to 'go there'. I tried to make it a link but it kept re-opening this page for some reason.

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