For today’s art blog post, I am going to talk about the palettes I use, and which ones I like best. Several months ago, I talked about the watercolors I use, so today the palettes. The different types of watercolor paint do somewhat determine what palette, so I might go into that a little bit, but if you want to know which types of watercolors I like best, you can read about those preferences here.

I use 2 different types of palettes, based upon the material they’re made of, with a large variety of shapes in the two material types. I started off with a plastic palette, the one most commonly available at art stores as well as big box stores like Wal-Mart. This palette is plastic. It is light weight, and there is ample room for a large variety of paint colors and space for mixing. I don’t generally use this palette anymore unless I am in need of more space for colors for a specific project, or if I have two projects going at once, I like to maintain one palette for each so that I don’t get the colors mixed up. I dislike the plastic palette because, as you can see, the paint stains the plastic. Sometimes this makes it difficult to determine whether or not the color you have mixed is the true color. Testing on a piece of scrap paper before painting it on the picture is critical with this palette. The plastic palette is the one on the left in the image below.

My preferred palette for painting at home is the one on the right. This is a ceramic palette, set up very similar to the plastic one. The biggest difference between the two is that the ceramic one cleans completely. Every time I clean out my palette, I have a fresh white surface to begin with. This also means that all the colors are true to their color in the palette. I still use scratch paper to test the colors intensity, but I know what color I have by looking at it in the palette. I have also run the ceramic palette through the dishwasher. The plastic one is thin enough that I worry it might warp in the heat. Both palettes come in a variety of shapes and sizes. If you choose a plastic palette, one tip would be to scratch the mixing surface with some steel wool or fine sandpaper. Otherwise, when mixing, the paint sticks to your brush better than it does to the palette which makes mixing frustrating.

I found these little round ceramic palette dishes online and decided to try them. They are stackable and come in a set of 5 dishes and a lid that could also be used as an individual paint dish, however the lid does have a domed top, so it doesn’t sit flat like the rest of the pans. These pans are about 3 1/4 inch in diameter. I like these for colors that I will be using across several painting. I can put some in the pan, use what I need, stack it out of the way and pull it out for the next painting. I also like them for one- or two-color paintings where I don’t need my bigger full palette. These also wash clean and white. I have never run them through the dishwasher, but I imagine that you could.

These last palettes are travel palettes. I don’t often use the pan sets at home, but they are super convenient when I go places. They are often with me in the car when I go with my kids to their various activities where I know I will be waiting for a while. The two on the outside are plastic, the one in the middle is metal. I dislike the water brushes that are included in the plastic ones, and really like that I can put regular paint brushes in the metal one. But I like the different colors in the pans that I may not normally buy, the one on the right in particular, are all a metalic type paint and have sheen to them even when they dry. I would not have gone out and bought tubes of all those colors, but I have used all the colors in several paintings while waiting for boys and it’s a fun change. The metal palette in the middle is different from the ones on the outside as it doesn’t use the watercolor pans. I use the tube paints in the pans instead. It came with enough empty pans to fill the palette, so I have a lot of options.

I hope you enjoyed this review, and that it helps you when you choose your own palettes to paint with.

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