Monday, August 13, 2012

Leftovers Again? What to do with Palette Scrapings

When it comes to food, I love leftovers. It's probably because I'm the cook around here. But when it comes to paint leftovers, it used to bother me terribly to throw all that good muddy paint away. Eventually, when it was too sticky to do anything with, I'd end up throwing it away anyway. How many times have you scraped your palette of mixed paint and thrown it away? Or left it in a great pile and wished you could put it to good use? Well, now you can.

Two mud mixtures from palette scrapings

Some people put it in tubes. You can buy the tubes through art supply catalogs. But it always looks like a lot of work to me - and would I actually use those tubes of mud? My solution to the leftovers is to use it to coat or tone panels or stretched canvas.

Usually I use it on gessoed panels because I really don't like the extreme absorbency of the gesso. It just sucks the paint off my brush faster than I can reload. But if I coat them with these leftover mud colors it leaves a nice oil skin to work on. It gives me a choice of interesting ground colors which I can choose according to my mood or setting. Whether I'm outdoors or in the studio, the paint goes on smoothly and the color does interesting things for the painting.

Some panels with different mud mixes on them

To coat my surfaces, I simply thin the mud with a bit of gamsol and spread it on evenly or haphazardly using my largest brush which happens to be a #10 bristle. If I'm coating a larger canvas or panel - 16x20 and up - I use a house painting brush. I let them dry for a week or two before using them. I keep them in stacks according to size and just grab one or more when I'm gathering my equipment for outdoor painting.

A few more - varying sizes and colors

Now you know what I do with my leftovers. What ideas or practices do you have for your leftover paint?

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