A strange mix and some palette questions

March 17, 2011 | 6 Comments

Putting two incidents from ones day can lead to a strange juxtaposition in my sketchbook. The vibrant colours of my palette and ageing sandstone gravestones was a bit of a challenge to tie the page together. What they have in common is I did both in extremely short period of time.

Now for two questions relating to painting:
1. How do people deal (who use tube paint in pans) cope when you need a top up. As I carry and use my paints nearly every day I can see no alternative than to have two pans for every colour so that I can fill one up and let it dry for a few days before swapping- how long do you find you need for it to be dry enough to put in your palette.
I am thinking that I should start watering my paints every day with a light spray so that they remain nice and gooey! Even the Daniel Smith paints over time are hardening (didn’t have this problem when I was in my big trip!)

2. Also, and more importantly I seem to be ruining the tips of my sable brushes – perhaps the wiping on my black wristband is one factor (a flick would be better), but mainly I think it is because I am painting with the tip rather than the body of the brush (only read this in a Charles Reid book a few months ago!!) As I am 100% self taught I sometimes realise that I have missed an essential tip. Would appreciate anyone tips on preserving the tip of the brush.

Make that three questions
3. I have a terrible habit of ‘drilling holes’ in my pans – perhaps I should try to pick up paint differently to avoid this?

Also… last week I did some reading of old journals from 2 years ago – amazing to see the change in my sketching – but once again it is the random trivia in my life that i enjoy re-reading. So I am starting to do my ‘weekly’ pages of random stuff. Here is this weeks- WIP. I have a handbag desktop calendar(a different bag each day) and often think I would like to sketch one… this week I did a few. Obviously I will fill up with text by the end of the week.


  • When I wash my brushes I form a nice tip when I am done and roll the brush lightly in some soap (I use Masters). I find that this preserves my tips for a long time. When the tips don't stay nice any more then it's time to get a new brush I think.

  • Sandy says:

    Very interesting, I suspect the drilling of paint color affects your tips most? Love random pages too, they seem to draw the essence out of a person – and LOVE that WIP handbag page, absolutely whimsically facinating.

  • Penny says:

    I had a class the other day dot have many, butI go to a reasonably well known watercoourist who commented that she rarely uses sable any more but the squirrel mix as she found she ruined her sable tips too quckly, The French style mops sem to be all the go.
    I think your climate will affect the drying time, here in South Aust the dry quite quickly. Carolyn tips on washng with soap are good too.
    Love what you do.

  • Susan says:

    Thanks for your great blog. I fill my pans late one afternoon and they are solid enough to carry around by the next morning. Maybe that's because it is so dry where I live. If that's not the case for you, you could try filling your pans with thinner layers: put in only as much paint as will dry overnight, then fill for several nights in a row till you get to the level you want.

  • Liz Steel says:

    I just thought I would share the posts on my flickr/blog together.
    I love the handprint site and it never ceases to amaze me how much is on there!
    Also I have the thought that trying to get the paint off the side of the pan after I have drilled a hole to the bottom of the pan might be the problem. The tip of my brush would be scraping the bottom of the pan.
    Thanks everyone for the tips – I love learning from my online friends!
    1. I like the idea of two pans, especially given how much painting you do. Most of mine set up pretty quickly, but some take a couple of days, and I don't typically fill whole pans all the way up.
    And I'm no expert, but I wonder if (2) is related to (3) I get holes in my pans too, and I'd be interested if anyone has thoughts on that.
    Of course, the Handprint site covers the topic:
    http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/pigmt5.html#pantrick s
    He's thought of everything!

  • I have found that having a cheap synthetic brush for mixing paint – drilling holes into the paint etc and then painting with the sable works for me. Granted I am more of a studio pianter than outdoor sketcher, so having two brushes might be a nuisance.

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