Painter Rags & Palette Knives

Everyone has some bizarre story about being economical in college.

One of my mild stories is Painter's rags.
You use rags or paper towels to clean up your brushes while in between when you are painting and are about to mix another color or to clean up your palette.

With oil paints I prefer rags because you can use them longer than with paper towels I go through them too quickly, Since I'm mixing oil and paper, the material is thin and it just bleeds through and I make more of a mess than I already do.

Now it is let's be economical time.
Why spend more when you can have the same thing without creating a gigantic hole in your wallet?
Everyone likes discounts.
And the few people who I have met that don't are weird.

 On a side note: One does not clean up their palette with their brushes or don't make a pass with wiping the palette with a rag until the paint is scrapped off with a palette knife or else it smears and you still have to use a palette knife to cleanly remove just a thin layer of paint that is still on your palette unless it is a disposable one. I prefer to use wooden palette it takes work to prepare one but I like the feel of them better than glass, plastic or disposable palettes.

When I got old enough to buy my own stuff with money I earned. I went to the local hardware store. Honestly I almost get as much hyped to go there as much as the art store.

Anyway I was at the hardware store and I was going to buy some painter rags. I looked at this tiny bag like the size of a quarter of a pillow that had cut up jeans and undershirts. For $6.99 I could have something I can find in my closet the only difference is that it was pre-cut for me.

I didn't buy the bag but instead went home and at that time I used to have this large tote of cloth scraps when I was heavy into being a seamstress. I went through the box throwing away things I have never used and had for years. There were random things in that box like a curtain that I had when I was 8 and cloth scraps I used to get at the tailor section in retail stores that I could use as painter's rags.

Here's the fun part.
Now when I run low on painter's rags I either use old bed sheets, curtains or undershirts. Usually when I do that I take my seamstress shears and watch a movie or two until I've cut up everything into reasonable half a paper towel size.

Cool Palette Knife Alternatives

This one lady named Ej at the drawing group. I'm always somehow competitive with her we have a comradery rivalry in a way. I've learned some things after examining her business model and truly hope and will surpass her one day. A couple years back she was scraping paint off her glass palette and she had this cool looking knife. I asked where she got it from and she said contractors use this kind of knife to scrap paint off walls and stuff and you can find this style knife at the hardware store. I was delighted. It gave me an excuse to go to the hardware store.

 These are the ones E had.
 All my palette knives
Compare the wider scrapers to the thinner palettes.
Imagine cleaning your palette with just the thin ones. 

Pile of paint that needs to be stored.

Just wiping smears the Yellow Ochre

Cleared paint from the palette knife 
compared to the rest of the pile.

Once you graze the paint you can 
move it to someplace else.

 So I had a pass with the palette knife
 it is almost as clean as it is gonna get.
The other initial mess I was able to clean the palette with my oil mediums
I'll talk about the mediums I use sometime. Seems like I never do things consecutively anyway.

I went to the Portrait Drawing Group and we painted Gramps today. I got so distracted by the funny stories he was telling that I thought I did progress shots but I completely forgot to do so.  I really have to make sure not to mess it up as I continue painting!


I unfortunately had to leave early, had to be somewhere. After struggling with portraits for about 2 years I'm getting quicker with the process.

One thing Gramps says about bad paintings is the root of the problem is there is a fundamentally bad drawing underneath. Work on your drawing first before adding paints into the mix.


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