Friday, June 1, 2012

Studio Set Up

In the studio, I have an 18" x 32" taboret which originally was sold as a buffet serving table.  The top slides back 3/4 of the way revealing a storage area.  We bought it over twenty years ago as a diaper changing table in the bathroom.  After the need for diapers vanished, I eventually took it into the studio and adopted it as my taboret for supplies and tools.

I dislike holding a traditional pallet so I bought a 16" x 30" sheet of safety glass which is about 1/4" thick made up of two sheets of glass bonded to an internal core of plastic.  The construction of safety glass is such that if it breaks, the shards of glass will remain attached to the plastic core. The corners and edges were ground smooth and I painted the back of the glass with a middle gray spray paint.  The gray is close to the standard Kodak middle gray sample sheet, but not an exact match. I like a gray pallet to better be able to distinguish the color values.

About half of the glass surface is used for mixing paint and the rest for color tubes, brushes and pallet knife in use.  Also there is a small bottle of Galkyd Painting Medium mixed with odorless mineral spirits.

On the bottom shelf are the pastel boxes and the PanPastels. 

The sliding top opens and stores painting supplies.

If the pallet will be open to the air for a long time, I clean off the mixing area of the pallet with a pallet knife or razor scraper. Cover the globs of oil paint remaining with plastic wrap which clings nicely to the glass making an air tight seal. 

Allway makes a glass scraper with a slide that moves a single edge razor blade in and out.  The blade "cuts" the oil residue off of glass and only glass.  Use a light touch as the razor blade is harder than the glass and can scratch it. It is great for removing dried paints.
Allway glass scraper about $3 in many hardware stores.
To finish the job, use the denatured alcohol and a paper towel. Denatured alcohol is powerful stuff and not being a chemist I'm guessing that it breaks down the composition of the oil binder in the colors.  Watch where it goes.  Maintain adequate ventilation.  It is very combustible and the vapors are dangerous.

Some of these tips come from Richard Schmid, who has much knowledge to share in his books and videos.  I ran across him around 1998 - 99 on the internet and bought his book, Alla Prima, Everything I Know About Painting in 2000.  Subsequently, I bought one of his DVD,s and borrowed another from a friend. 

Moveable furniture allows for converting the use of the space for photography.
I am retired and working in a large well lit studio.  If someday I must live in a more confining housing situation, I would be willing to abandon the oil colors, pastels, and everything that goes with them. I could take a traveling watercolor box and a few sable brushes. I would only need a few square feet of table top temporarily and a small box for all of my supplies.  Cleaning up afterward only requires rinsing out of the brushes and letting everything dry. Finished. 

See the next post on Watercolors. 

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