An Artist’s Palette
The kidney or oval shaped palette made of wood, is one of the most recognized symbol for art or artist internationally. A coloring palette is essentially a tablet or a thin slab of wood, glass, acrylic and other materials used by painters or artists to hold and to mix colors. There is a great variety of color palettes that may be used by an artist and the selection depends largely on the requirement of the work.
Some of the key aspects that need to be considered while choosing the appropriate palette for any artists are as follows:
• Keep in mind the extent of mobility you might need and whether the palette would need to be held in hands.
• Would you prefer a stationary palette on your desktop or work-top? It is wise to choose the biggest possible palette that may be used comfortably in the studio/workshop.
• Turpentine and Plastic cannot be used together. Keep in mind the compatibility of materials that you may be using.
• The color of the palette itself is important and plays an important part in creating and judging the real colors that are achieved by mixing.
There is a variety of palettes available in the market, following are some of the most popular ones. It is imperative to research each kind before finalizing.
Glass Palette: these are made to be used resting on a flat surface, not held in hand. These palettes are ideal when large areas of color need to be mixed. It is an extremely smooth surface, great for brushes, and is a non-porous surface. It is a low maintenance palette that requires least effort in cleaning it. The glass palette is made from a high strength, break resistant safety tempered glass. This heavy duty and versatile palette is recommended for most artists and is suitable for all kinds of painters, print makers, rolling print inks, and so much more. However, these palettes are unsuitable for travel and other mobility. These palettes are best cleaned with a heavy duty razor blade glass surface scraper.
Clear Acrylic Palette: ideal for artists who require portability, the acrylic palettes are durable, tough and suitable for mixing the thicker media. These are non-staining and scratch resistant. Generally the shape of a clear acrylic palette is like that of a traditional artists’ palette. The plexiglass palettes are however shaped in rectangular shape and are tablet like. Due to their portability and mobility, these palettes are great for working in studio, field or in class. It is designed in the best possible manner that enables true color evaluation. These palettes are comparatively a little difficult to clean and are unsuitable for working with large quantity of paints.
Disposable Artist Palettes: the use and throw aspect of the disposable palettes makes cleaning up quick and easy. All you have to do is tear off and dispose the top layer to uncover a fresh palette for next use. Appropriate for acrylic colors, casein, and oil paints, the disposable palette pads are available in a variety of sizes, available as a bunch. In the same line, parchment palettes may also be used. The biggest advantage of these palettes is their portability and easy clean up.
Stay-Wet Artist Palette: these palettes are perfect for works that employ quick drying color mediums like acrylic paints or other water based mediums. These palettes save paint, money, and time while preserving the freshness of the medium while they are on the open palette or in between two painting sessions when the palette is covered and closed. These palette have a special sponge insert and a unique permeable palette paper, the combination of which provides the acrylic paints with a source of moisture. The sponge insert needs to be moistened and inserted under the palette paper, when the lid is open, the paint will receive moisture from underneath, when it is covered and stored, a suitably moist environment is maintained within to increase the longevity of the paint. These palettes are especially beneficial for artists who work with mediums that harden quickly as it saves a considerable quantity of the material by keeping it workable. However, once the paint or medium hardens, it is especially difficult to clean up.
Wooden Palette: the oldest kind of palette is the traditional wooden palette. This however, is used rarely these days. Since the prime trait of this palette is to hold it in hand as the artist works on the piece, the weight of the palette is extremely important as is the finishing of the thumbhole to ensure comfort and ensure no injury to the skin. The biggest pros of this palette is its light weight and easy availability. The challenge however is in cleaning it once the paint has dried.
Glazed Porcelain & Enamel Palettes: porcelain with its perfect white balanced color helps mix the colors in the best possible way enabling a perfect visual assessment before application on the canvas or any other surface. The natural weight of the material is great for studio work as it doesn’t shift or slide around to cause any instability in case of an accidental jerk. Additionally due to the smooth surface, it is very easy to clean up. It is this smooth surface that also enables a great ease in mixing colors, especially watercolors. These palettes, however, in addition to being heavy are breakable and on the expensive side.
Plastic Palettes & Mixing Trays: these palettes are super light and easy to carry around. Generally these are shaped like a traditional palette these plastic palettes are white in color and have a series of convex mixing wells. These palettes are extremely easy to handle, are economical, and portable. The challenges here are that these palettes are small, quite difficult to clean once the paint dries and is not versatile.