Artist Studio Behind the Scenes – Palettes

In this Artist Studio Behind The Scenes post I’ll show you my palettes. I’m a bit of a kit junky so my art materials and equipment spend can get a bit out of hand.  I have four different types of palette and  I use them all a little differently.

Artist studio Behind the Scenes - Lightweight palette holds many colours
Lightweight palette holds many colours

This was my first palette. It was great for a beginner as I could get all the colours I needed onto one palette. Although I still use it in my studio, I am gradually moving towards using palettes with bigger reservoirs for the paints. The mixing areas on this palette are great though, and it’s fabulous for when I fly anywhere with my painting kit. Its flat, light and can be popped into a plastic back and laid at the bottom of my suitcase. This is the one that will be travelling with me later this week.

Artist studio Behind the Scenes. Big and chunky -  great for mixing loads of paint
Big and chunky – great for mixing loads of paint

I bought this palette after seeing it in use at a Jean Haines workshop. This is Jean’s preferred palette and it’s great for mixing up big pools of colour. Jean’s painting style is dynamic and quick so that really works for her. I love this palette, but the limited number of colour reservoirs mean that I can’t use it as a permanent one-and-only palette (because I am also a colour fanatic).

Artist studio Behind the Scenes. Pair of plastic palettes. Small and easy to pack.
Pair of plastic palettes. Small and easy to pack.

These two little palettes were given to me as a gift by someone who worked for our company a couple of years ago. They are also great for travelling – lightweight and small, and they stack very neatly. I use them in a very specific way. The one on the left I use for mixing up a colour I don’t particularly want as part of my permanent palette when I’m working on a specific painting. And the one on the right is my gouache palette. You can see the little dot of white gouache in the centre. I don’t want to risk tainting the transparency of my colours by putting gouache into one of my watercolour palettes so this one is great for the small bits I use from time to time.

Artist studio Behind the Scenes. Innovation. Sealed palette with lid to keep paints from drying out.
Innovation. Sealed palette with lid to keep paints from drying out.

This is my newest palette. I saw this type of palette for the first time when I was on Georgia Mansur‘s workshop. She uses a similar one for her long life acrylics. Then the fabulous Mita Higton lent me hers to try out and I was hooked. This palette has mixing trays galore so you can go nuts on mixing colours. It also has reservoirs for 21 colours and best of all, it has a sealed lid so the paints stay wet. All the parts are removable so it’s really easy to clean when you feel the urge to un-dirty your palette. The down-side?  It’s just too heavy to take on an airplane unless you leave some of your clothes behind.

You may be able to see that the centre block of paint reservoirs is slightly raised. That’s because underneath it is a piece of flat household sponge cut to fit that space. The sponge is damp and has a dose of disinfectant  on it. It doesn’t make contact with any of the paint, but once sealed, it’s presence is enough to stop the moisture inside the sealed palette from causing problems with the paint.

Artist Studio Behind the Scenes – What’s in a Name?

I’ve changed the post series name from ‘What’s in my Studio’ to ‘Artist Studio Behind the Scenes’ because I want this to be a series written to give ideas to other artist as well as insights to people who don’t paint, but are interested in finding out a bit more about the process.

So what’s the favourite palette is in your artist studio?

3 thoughts on “Artist Studio Behind the Scenes – Palettes

  1. Loved this blog Vandy, I have a pile of palettes too, the only trouble I have with these little square wells is when I wash them out, the water splashes everywhere and the paint clings to the corners! lol I love the daisy wheel palettes, as I have the ones where one is slightly larger and acts as a lid to the other one!

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