Are Wooden Palettes Good For Oil Painting?

When it comes to choosing the best surface for oil painting, there are many options to choose from. But what about wooden palettes? Are they suitable for oil painting?

There are a lot of different opinions on this topic. Some artists believe that wooden palettes are the best option for oil painting, while others think they are not as good as other surfaces. So, what’s the verdict? Let’s look at the answer to this question and explore it further.

What is Oil Painting?

Oil painting is a form of painting in which the paint is applied to a surface covered with a thin layer of oil. The oil serves as a medium and can be mixed with other colours to create different hues. Oil painting is one of the oldest forms of painting, and artists have used it for centuries.

There are a lot of different techniques that can be used for oil painting, and each artist has the method that works best for them. Some artists like to use a lot of layers, while others prefer to paint more spontaneously.

Oil painting is a very versatile medium, and it can be used to create both realistic and abstract paintings. It can also be used to create portraits, landscapes, and still lifes. In fact, several renowned works of art were created with oil paint, including Mona Lisa, The Birth of Venus and The Starry Night.

Oil paints are heavier than other types of paint, like watercolour or acrylic, yet they can still produce a lot of detail. This is why they are often used in most paintings since they can capture the subtle nuances and texture of a subject.

Wooden Palettes in Oil Painting

Artists widely use wooden palettes for a variety of mediums, including oil painting. They are made from different types of wood, such as oak, maple, or beech, and come in various shapes and sizes.

Wooden palettes are popular among artists because they are durable and easy to find. They also have a nice texture that is perfect for oil painting. Many artists believe that wooden palettes are the best surface for oil paintings.

They are far lighter than glass palettes, which can be a plus when working with large paintings. Moreover, wooden palettes are a lot less expensive and lightweight than other palettes, such as glass or metal.

Over time, a well-used wooden palette develops patina from the paint, which some artists find aesthetically pleasing. The linseed oil rubbed onto the surface after the painting session causes this patina to form over time. Additionally, the incredibly smooth surface of a well-used wooden palette is excellent for mixing paints.

Overall, wooden palettes are a great option for oil painting and have many benefits that other surfaces do not offer. They are durable, and have a nice texture, perfect for oil paint.

How To Prepare A Wooden Palette for Oil Painting

Now that you know all about wooden palettes and why they are great for oil painting, let’s look at how to prepare them for use.

This is especially useful for new wooden palettes, as they need to be treated before you start using them for painting. It may take some time, but it is well worth it in the end because of the smooth surface and great texture that it will have.

  • Step One: Boil linseed oil

Some wooden palettes bought in art stores are untreated or come from raw wood. The palette’s surface will absorb oil paint and mix colours unevenly if you start using it directly.

On the other hand, some wooden palettes are often pre-treated with a layer of linseed oil. If this is the case, you can skip this step.

  •  Step Two: Sand the surface

While waiting for the linseed oil to boil, start sanding the surface of the palette with sandpaper. This will help remove any bumps or irregularities and make the surface smoother. Moreover, sanding the palette can open up the wood grain, which will help the oil better absorb.

  • Step Three: Wipe the boiled linseed oil

After the linseed oil has boiled, take it off the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Then, use a rag to wipe the palette’s surface until it is completely covered in oil. Make sure to use a dry rag for this step, as any excess water will prevent the oil from absorbing into the wood.

  • Step Four: Let the palette dry

Once you have applied the boiled linseed oil, let the oil sit and dry for at least half to one hour on the palette’s surface. This will help seal the oil and protect the surface of the wood. After that, use a clean and dry rag to wipe off any excess oil on the surface.

  • Step Five: Let it dry overnight

Now, let the palette dry overnight to absorb the oil into the wood fully. Repeat the whole process three times to ensure that the surface is well treated. Three coats might take three days, but the surface will be very smooth and ready for oil painting. The dried linseed oil will help prevent the paint from seeping into the wood and give a nice patina over time.

Now that your wooden palette is well-prepared, you can confidently start using it for oil painting. The surface will be smooth and have a great texture, perfect for mixing colours and creating beautiful paintings.

Final Words

Wood is the preferred surface for palettes in oil painting because of its natural characteristics. Wooden palettes are lightweight, durable, and have a good grip. They are also relatively cheap and easy to find.

The fascinating property of wooden palettes are the ability to be reconditioned regularly, and it will just get smoother over time. Wooden palettes had been the standard in oil painting for centuries, and it is still a great option today. So, if you are looking for a good palette surface for oil painting, go with wooden palettes.