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.