The Life of a Palette

Paint palettes are one of the items I will buy to feel more professional even though my paintings are mediocre at best. There’s something empowering about holding a palette around your thumb in one hand and slinging paint on a canvas with the other. You can’t beat it. Unlike paints or paintbrushes that I will shell out a decent amount of money for, I won’t spend more than a couple bucks on a palette because I do not take good care of them. It’s not because I disrespect my supplies, though. It’s because I see old, lovingly used palettes as their own kind of artwork. I’ve gone through about a palette a year as long as I’ve been in art school, and each of them tells a story. Here are my three palettes:

The first palette got me through my freshman year where I faced the daunting task of painting with oil paints for the first time. Those were dark times filled with the frustration of learning a new medium mixed with poor planning to allow for dry time. Although it was pretty cool that I could reuse the same paint days later.

The second is all about my sophomore year when I took painting 2 and used acrylics the whole semester. This plastic palette is a double-sided mess covered with frustration at not being able to mix just the color I wanted, but also the colors of my favorite paintings to date. Sophomore year was an organized chaos, and you can see that on my palette.

The final one is a wooden palette I just opened over the summer. So far, it tells the story of painting a custom table with my friends, which was pretty cool. This guy still has a lot of miles left, so I’m looking forward to seeing what story this palette masterpiece will tell.

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