Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Artists' Essentials: Palette & Scraper

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My own palette and "scraper".

If you use tube paints -- be they watercolors, acrylic, or oils -- investing in a palette is a great idea. Palettes are used for mixing colors upon, and they are MUCH better than those mixing trays with several tiny compartments. I had one of those, and believe me, it was a nightmare to clean. Apparently they keep colors moist longer, but personally I would much rather re-moisten paint rather than deal with cleaning out several small wells after the fact...but that's just me :) But that being said, palettes are a great deal easier to clean, as they are just a flat surface. This also makes them easy to store. The palette I currently have is made of plastic -- a very durable, reusable material. I'm not a fan of disposable palettes, as they create unnecessary waste. Buy reuseable! :)

In addition to a palette, you'll also want to have on hand a scraper. These are nifty for, well, scraping off dried smears and globs of colors from your palette after you're done working. It makes it much easier to clean than just using, say, a napkin or sponge. Palette scrapers are cheap, so you should definitely invest in one. Too frugal to do so? No problem. You can easily use something you already have -- my "palette scraper" is actually an oil painting spatula. You can even use a plastic knife for this job. Scrapers make cleaning your palette much easier and faster. And really, who wants to spend a lot of time cleaning up?

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