the perfect shape

pallette_4

pallette_5

is there one? i marvel at the beautiful shape of the artist’s palette. (a word i always misspell.) my collection consists of about a dozen of these wooden palettes. they must be old and have been used, but maintained. why these shapes? how do they fit to the hand? is the finger hole just right? some are quite large, over 24 inches. i missed out on an ebay offering of an extremely large one. 32 inches. imagine. i can’t. i visited an artist’s studio this past year and there was no palette. just a sheet of glass with wonderful colors but no palette gaining patina. (another word i love.)

many years ago i had the opportunity to define this word to someone for which the definition had no meaning. my wife and i traveled to asia for our honeymoon. we had the pleasure of visiting the aman resorts. we visited four of these in a two-week trip. we arrived at amanjiwo for our last stop and our breath was taken away. mine surely was. the architecture was amazing. each day at these resorts you could schedule an excursion. one of ours was a visit to the local market. an amazing experience. it was full of ‘60s vespas, exposed meat and strange smells. i loved it. we walked the market and our guide translated to help us buy large blocks of incense and to bargain for some old weights. the guide assumed we wanted to continue shopping and took us to the closest thing they had to a mall. a large white, prefab building with decorative arts. we looked out the jeep window and said no thanks. i think his feelings were hurt and i tried to explain why we weren’t interested. i told him we liked things with patina. he looked blankly at me. he did not understand patina. now i had a task to explain patina.

when we returned to the resort, the guide stopped in a particular place where the resort is framed perfectly. it is magnificent. the stone—a white stone which has oxidized from the air—is amazing. i realized that the brochure has photos of the building right when it was finished, before there was any oxidation. as soon as we got out of the jeep i asked for a brochure. i caught up with our guide who had already said his goodbyes. walking with him up the hill, i showed him the brochure and asked him to look at the building. “patina,” i told him. yes. a light went on, he got it. yes, indeed. i was so proud of myself. the next day after a morning hike he offered to take us to a place with patina. a store, that is. sure enough, it is an antique shop of sorts and i found some wonderful 19th-century glass. sadly, i gave one piece away and i broke the other. however i have this memory and hopefully it will never fade.

is there one? i marvel at the beautiful shape of the artist’s palette. (a
word i always misspell.) my collection consists of about a dozen of these
wooden palettes. they must be old and have been used, but maintained. why
these shapes? how do they fit to the hand? is the finger hole just right?
some are quite large, over 24 inches. i missed out on an ebay offering of
an extremely large one. 32 inches. imagine. i can’t. i visited an artist’s studio this
past year and there was no palette. just a sheet of glass with wonderful colors
but no palette gaining patina. (another word i love.)
many years ago i had the opportunity to define this word to someone for
which the definition had no meaning. my wife and i traveled to asia for
our honeymoon. we had the pleasure of visiting the aman resorts. we visited
four of these in a two-week trip. we arrived at amanjiwo for our last stop
and our breath was taken away. mine surely was. the architecture was
amazing. each day at these resorts you could schedule an excursion.
one of ours was a visit to the local market. an amazing experience. it was
full of ‘60s vespas, exposed meat and strange smells. i loved it. we walked
the market and our guide translated to help us buy large blocks of incense
and to bargain for some old weights. the guide assumed we wanted
to continue shopping and took us to the closest thing they had to a mall. a
large white, prefab building with decorative arts. we looked out the jeep
window and said no thanks. i think his feelings were hurt and i tried to
explain why we weren’t interested. i told him we liked things with patina.
he looked blankly at me. he did not understand patina. now i had a task to
explain patina.
when we returned to the resort, the guide stopped in a particular place where
the resort is framed perfectly. it is magnificent. the stone—a white
stone which has oxidized from the air—is amazing. i realized that the
brochure has photos of the building right when it was finished, before there
was any oxidation. as soon as we got out of the jeep i asked for a brochure. i
caught up with our guide who had already said his goodbyes. walking with him
up the hill, i showed him the brochure and asked him to look at the building.
“patina,” i told him. yes. a light went on, he got it. yes, indeed. i was so proud of
myself. the next day after a morning hike he offered to take us to a place
with patina. a store, that is. sure enough, it is an antique shop of sorts
and i found some wonderful 19th-century glass. sadly, i gave one piece
away and i broke the other. however i have this memory and hopefully it
will never fade.

pallette_7

pallette_8

pallette_2

pallette_1



5 Comments Leave us a comment

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  1. Wonderful collection. I have the same fascination for other wooden ‘tools’. Smoking pipes, hockey sticks but also more common stuff like wooden kitchen spoons. Stuff that is designed more by proven workability than by an aesthetic view.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Peter De Roy — 31/08/2009 LINK TO THIS COMMENT


  2. These days, if I paint, it’s usually in acrylics, and it’s on disposable wax palette paper. Unlike oil a drip linseed oil and drop of thinner won’t get dried acrylic going again so there’s seldom any point to keeping a palette.

    I think we’re moving into a world where palettes are becoming redundant (most artists I know don’t physically paint with enough frequency to warrant one).

    I wonder if the old masters’ palettes are up for grabs? If I ever get wealthy enough I’d love to hang them in my study as inspiration to the creative process. ‘Between the mind and the canvas, this is where the images formed’

    Thanks for this,
    Richard

    Comment by Richard Tseng — 31/08/2009 LINK TO THIS COMMENT


  3. Thank you, jp

    (sorry to reply to your messsage through here but my mail keeps bouncing on a spam filter)

    Your blog does not show too many posts but every one of them is wonderful.
    I have amassblog on rss, so I will see the books passing by.
    I show less precious stuff, but it is what triggers my imagination.
    Things that stay with me for a longer while are accepted as part of my world.
    It is what it is.

    I was particularly intrigued by the cut up typespecimens of Paul Rand

    Peter

    Comment by Peter De Roy — 01/09/2009 LINK TO THIS COMMENT


  4. Arp found resonance with this family of shapes…
    Bézier curves?
    do you have any old wooden french curves J.P?

    Comment by David Neale — 03/09/2009 LINK TO THIS COMMENT


  5. [...] (via amassblog) [...]

    Pingback by why wouldn't you? — 02/02/2010 LINK TO THIS COMMENT

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