This year the member's show at the FAA is a 10x10 format on a birch wood panel. They come unprimed and I was curious how the paint would behave if I left it unprimed so I bought an 8x8 and tested it out first. I'm slightly surprised by the results. I've painted on unprimed Masonite before and didn't mind it, but it has a slightly slick surface. The birch wood is smooth but is a trifle more difficult to paint on, well, the way I paint it is. It felt like I was scrubbing in some parts and I kept hearing my friend John Preston's words going through my head, "it's called painting not brushing". It did take quite a bit more brushing to get the paint on the panel and off the brush but it's doable. The one thing I noticed and actually thought might be helpful for plein air painting is that the paint seemed to soak in fairly fast and I was able to go back over with paint and not pull paint from the previous layer. This could come in handy during a quick paint competition after more practice on this unprimed surface, of course.
Since this one was purely practice I decided to go with a weird palette. I picked up tubes of paint out of the "never gets used" pile. It's a box of paint I keep around for those "I'll try that someday" sort of thing and it never gets used. I had several tubes of the Jack Richeson Shiva paint that I won in a plein air competition. I remember trying it once before and thought it was too oily. Lucky me, the too oily worked perfect on the unprimed panel. The colours I used were, titanium white, ultramarine blue, prussian blue, phthalo green, sap green, dioxazine purple, yellow ochre, indian red, burnt sienna and burnt umber. Out of all of those the white, ultramarine blue and burnt umber are the only ones I use on a regular basis so it was fun to see what I could do with the rest.
I think this was a good practice run, the only thing I'm worried about is what my brushes will look like after I wash them.