If you are a painter the most essential tool you’ll need is a palette! There are a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials to choose from. When choosing the right palette it will depend on the type of paint you use, how large your surface area is and of course your personal handling style. There are 8 different types of palettes: safety glass, plexiglass, real glass, white plastic, clear acrylic plastic, disposable palette paper, “Stay-Wet” palettes, traditional wooden. I’m reviewing two types of palettes I personally use and love. I do not recommend using most of the palettes on the market. If real glass shatters it’s highly dangerous. Plexi & plastics are very difficult to clean if the paint dries (so what’s the point in using them). Traditional wood is so “old-school” because tempered glass is far superior. Stay-Wet palettes sound cool but I have not worked with it.
I work with acrylic paint, A LOT of varnish on larger scale canvases. I prefer a large tempered clear glass palette, because the larger the palette I don’t have to wash the palette in the middle of working because I have a lot of surface area. I love glass because it is the smoothest surface and it’s versatile for any type of paint you use. I like clear glass and use a white surface table opposed to having a white laminate on the back of the glass. When you have the white or grey peels they don’t last after 25 washings they start to peel off and that annoys me. I use the 16” x 20” bc I don’t like to have to stop and wash the palette mid session and because I rest it on the table beside me the size is great for mixing colors.
Pros: The best thing about this artist palette is that it is glass, yet if it breaks, it will not shatter everywhere and cause injury. These artist palettes are nice and smooth, easy on brushes, and super-easy to clean.
Cons: If you purchase the one that has a white or grey vinyl backing, it tends to peel off after 20 washes. I’d suggest getting clear glass and using the white cardboard that it is packaged with under it on the table if you like a white background.
When I paint live (on-site out of the studio) I use disposable palettes because I typically don’t have sink/water resources that I need. I recommend buying the larger pad (12” x16”) with the thumbhole. Good for acrylic or oil paints. The larger pad has more surface area and creates less waste.
Pros: There are several types of disposable artist palettes on the market. Basically, they are sheets of specially treated heavy white paper that usually come in the form of a pad. Great for live painting events.
Cons: not a very eco-friendly option.