Thursday 7 April 2011

Wet Palette - why and how

If you're painting using acrylics, you'll probably have spotted by now how quickly your carefully thinned and mixed paints dry on a regular artist's palette - either plastic or wooden.
Annoying isn't it?

A wet palette keeps your paints moist for hours or even days. It will require regular cleaning with anti-bac soap to stop bacterial growth, but there's no paint scrubbing to be done. There are plenty of commercially available wet palettes available, but can just as easily make your own.

Here's how to minimise wasted paint:

You'll need:

1 Sealable Container
1 Sponge or Blisterpack Foam Insert
1 sheet of Sta-Wet paper or baking paper/parchment - not waxed paper

Simple ingredients for a wet palette

Cut the sponge and your choice of paper to fit the container. Fit the sponge into the container and pour in some water. You want to soak the sponge, but not flood it. There should be enough water that it only pools when you press with your finger. If it is shiny across the sponge, tip some out.

The paper should fit flat on top of the sponge. If it's too big, the moisture won't make uniform contact across the whole sheet. If you're using Sta-Wet, follow the instructions in the pack, otherwise place the baking paper sheet onto the sponge and soak uniformly. Turn the sheet over to stop the edges curling and flatten it across the sponge.

You're now ready to paint. You might find you need to adjust the level of water in the sponge so there is just the right amount of moisture on the paper. If it's too dry, your paint will dry out quicker; if it's too wet, your paint will run and bleed into the paper.

When you're finished painting, pop the lid on and set it aside until next time.
Of course, you can run multiple palettes at once, and organise your colour schemes as you need.
Don't forget to wash the sponge every now and then, or you'll gather some nasty germs...

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