Is Your Palette Right Side Up?

It makes me nuts. (And some days it doesn't take much.)

Upside down palettes.

Here's an upside down palette from a stock photo house. This silly palette is guaranteed to hurt your thumb and get paint all over your hands and clothing.

And besides that's an awful lot of paint laid out on such a small palette, isn't it?

I took this picture of the upside down palette above in the studio in the Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam.

The great artist's house and studio are loving and meticulously recreated....but it appears that somebody neglected to consult a real painter before setting up this particular display.

I've seen people who have painted with upside down palettes for years. And that can cause some serious thumb-pain.

Here's how it looks when a right handed artist is holding his palette correctly in his left hand - right side up.

Michael Balsley at Turtlewood (business card above) made my favorite large (counter weighted) studio palette.

A comfy palette can be tough to find and Turtlewood makes a large variety of the best. I can paint all day and my hand won't hurt.

If the artist is right handed (palette for holding in in left hand shown above), he or she will hold the palette, brushes, rag and mahl stick in the left hand and paint with the right hand.

There are also left-handed palettes and flipping a right handed palette over doesn't work.

Palettes come in all shapes and sizes. Note that the thumbhole is cut at a slant for comfort when the above palette is being held in the left hand.

Here it is again: the above pix shows two rectangular right side up palettes that are to be used by a right-handed person who holds a palette in the left hand. The thumb holes are always cut at a slant for comfort.

Also note: some artists like to make their own palettes. Nice idea and I don't discourage it. But make sure that if that palette is to be held, make it as light weight as possible or a fun day of painting could necessitate ice packs applied to the thumb by the end of the day.

So now you know that it matters which side of your palette you put the paint on. If you forget, your thumb will hurt, you'll get paint on yourself and it will be generally uncomfortable.

No more excuses.

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