Paint Palette, also known as Artist's Palette, in the original sense of the word is a rigid, flat, easy-to-clean surface on which a painter arranges and mixes paints.
Paint Palette is a necessary tool for painting unless you splash or pour your paint directly onto the canvas. Seems like everything is clear here, but you'll be surprised, how many different types of the palette are there!
And in this article, I want to explain you all those differences and recommend the best palette for Acrylic Paint.
To classify paint palette, we can use two criterions:
1. The position of the palette during the painting: tabletop palette or the one that you hold in your hand;
2. Materials palette is made from: Plastic, Glass, Paper, Wooden Palette.
1. The Position of Paint Palette
This palette is designed to be held in the artist's hand and rest on the arm, with the curved shape and hole for your thumb. The holding palette comes in right- or left-handed shape.
This palette is resting on the table or secured on the easel or any other working surface.
There is no right or wrong way, which one to use depends on goals and personal preferences. I like tabletop palettes better because I like both of my hand to be free. also, my hand gets tired of holding. So I only use holding palette when I paint standing.
2. Types of Artist Paint Palette by Material:
Plastic Paint Palette
Plastic Paint Palette is a great option for many different mediums, including watercolor, oils, and acrylics. The good quality plastic palette is made from high-impact, durable thick, plastic. It's safe to use and easy to clean. Highly recommended, but please, don't buy very cheap plastic palettes, as they will stain after the first use, and you will just waste your money.
This type of Palette comes in the variety of shapes and sizes, with or without lid, so I wrote a separate article dedicated just to this palette and different types of it - Plastic Palette for Acrylic Painting.
Safety Glass Paint Palette
Regular Glass Palette is a handy and cheap option, however, it is also the most dangerous one. Which is why I do not recommend using regular glass as a palette. On the other hand, Safety Glass Artist's Palette is one of the best options for both oils and acrylics. It's made of tempered glass with additional safety features that make it less likely to break and pose a threat if ever broken.
Safety glass palette is my personal choice when I paint with acrylics. It is nice and smooth, which is great for color mixing and easy on the brush, and after I'm done painting, the paint washes off super easy. This palette is intended to rest on a table surface rather than be held, and I like that it's pretty heavy, so it doesn't shift or move on the table. It's the best if you like to work with large amounts of paint or with painting knife since it has no wells and partitions. I highly recommend this palette - New Wave POSH Glass Artist Palette, although it's expensive, it's a wise investment.
Tip: Retarding medium will help you keep the paint fresh and workable, or you can use a water plant mister to spray water on the paint to keep it wet.
Disposable Paper Palette
Wooden Paint Palette
Oval Wooden Board Palette is the most commonly known and traditional type of artist palettes. This one is good for oils, however, I do not recommend it for acrylics. The reason is that wood is very hard to clean off the acrylic paint. That is why I'm not going to talk too much about it. You can still give it a try if you find one covered with the durable protective layer, which cleans easily and lasts a while.
There are many options to choose from... However, I hope this artist's palette guide has helped you to get the idea of all the diversity. IMHO, safety glass and plastic palettes (peel-off or sta-wet) are the best for acrylic painting.
Tip: if you have no artist's palette around, but you really need something to mix paints on, make it up with whatever you might have on hand - plastic plates, magazines, even mirror.
Tell me, what is your favorite kind?