Monday, August 15, 2011

Fresh artist's palette: sign of the new school year

My watercolors
Signs of the new school year are everywhere.

Minnesota State Fair opening day --  Hooray!
Relentless tv ads for school supplies – Make them stop!
Artists’ fresh palettes – Huzzah!
The Biggest Crayon Box
from My Childhood

Although I am no longer a student, the school calendar appears to be part of my DNA. Perhaps it harks back to getting the biggest box of Crayola™ crayons that my parents could be persuaded to buy, but re-setting my palette just before school starts seems like the right thing to do.

Artists are lucky because we can mark a new year or a new project by setting up a fresh palette. Washing out the old colors, introducing new colors, and bringing back standards and favorites are a group of unalloyed pleasures. A fresh palette celebrates possibilities and sparks creativity.

NEED FOR COMPACT STORAGE  Because I travel to around the country to present Pass the Baton lectures to law students and lawyers, I need a portable watercolor infrastructure that takes up minimal space and slides through airport security. At home, I have a relatively small worktable, and need to keep my colors within easy reach. Just as I used to organize crayons by color, I set my palettes by color groups: yellow, green, blue, orange, pink, red, purple, brown-black-gray, and metallic.

LOADED WITH COLOR  With seven Dick Blick small folding plastic palettes loaded with 150 small blobs of individual watercolors packed in a plastic makeup bag, I am ready to go. Three Daniel Smith Autograph Kolinsky Travel Brushes, a 6H pencil, an eraser, and a small pencil sharpener fit into the bag. Although one set of screeners looked closely at the travel brushes which unscrew to reveal the brush inside, I have never had a security-screening issue with this kit.

FRESH PAINT and FRESH IDEAS  I paint every day and can’t wait to bring fresh ideas to works in progress and to start on entirely new projects. Reset your palette and go!

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