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Advice on porcelain palettes


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Hello everyone. Long time lurker, first time poster.


I attended Gen Con this year and saw many teachers there using porcelain palettes. If so many pros like them, they must be good. Unfortunately, I didn't think to ask the teachers where they got theirs or how well they liked them. ::):


Since I'm going to make an order for brushes soon, I'd like to get a new palette, too. Most likely I'll use dickblick.com.


What's your favorite palette? I'm looking at these: Round porcelain palettes. There are several on the page -- I'm looking at the 11-welled one, 03071-1003, and the 12-welled one, 03071-1010.


Anyone have these? Are they fairly heavy? I'm usually careful and don't break things, but I like stuff that will stand up to a little abuse.


Thanks everyone.

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I use the flower palettes like are used in calligraphy work.


These guys have a great selection



These are the one's I use




The pros---super easy to clean---

Cons---you have to clean the palette much more thoroughly than a plastic, as old/dry paint lifts more readily (some painters are lazy when it comes to cleaning--including me). I overcome the problem by having about 20 of 'em that I cycle through...and just clean 'em all at once.


Also, I work with mine tilted at an angle, since the cups are so big. It allows the paint to pool in a smaller area.

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They clean faster by hand than in the dishwasher--oddly enough. The problem with the porcelains isn't the ease of cleaning---it's the frequency at which you need to clean. They're SUPER easy to clean....you just have to do it constantly...unless you have a bunch of palettes, that is.


While on the subject...

Another option is to just keep paper towels or something laying around---as the palette will wipe clean if you do it before the paint is too dry. But still, you have to do it all the time---and not necessarily just when you change colors.


If paint dries in the cup, and you put thin paint over it---the dry paint will lift---suspending grain in the fresh paint. With dry paint in a plastic palette, this isn't always the case.


As far as cleaning paint from a plastic palette----I've found that a paper towel and a little rubbing alcohol work wonders for the "quick wipe". I keep alcohol in a small spritz bottle just for this.


But then rubbing alcohol is a "controlled substance" in some countries---I think the UK being one of 'em.....and it a little harder to get than here in the US.

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I use a porcelain beading tray, like the ones available from Fire Mountain Gems. I bought mine at a bead store for around $5.


They are fairly inexpensive, but I've also got a plastic "petal" style pallet. I'd recommend any pallet you buy have sloping wells. This will force the paint to stay together as your puddle gets smaller. It helps keep the paint fluid. If you have a pallet like the beading tray, it's flat so you paint can dry out faster, since it spreads out.

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I'm very fond of the two that I have.


I have the 12 well one (which is reasonably weighty, but under a pound) as my main one. I haven't tried dropping it so I don't know how much abuse it will take. Fairly inexpensive, so even if I do drop it, replacing isn't that painful.


I have the 7 well flower palette as my traveling palette. Very useful as well. Much lighter and easier to pack than the 12 well one. Easier to clean as well.


If I was going to get just one, I would get the 12 well one if I wasn't going to paint anywhere but my studio and the 7 well one if I were going to paint elsewhere with some frequency.


I find that most of the time, if I place the palette underneath the stream of water (from the faucet) as I clean my brushes, by the time that I'm finishing washing my brushes, the paint on the palette comes off easily. If there is paint in the corners (happens more often with the 12 well one), I can easily clean up with a bit of Winsor & Newton Brush Cleaner and Restorer (which can be reused).



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I used to use plastic palletes, then switched to plain old 4x4 ceramic tiles, got a one of the 11 well ones and one of the 7 well flower palletes from Dick Blick right after R-Con. Like you, I saw the experts like Anne, John Bonnet and Marike using them, and wanted one.



- Better than tiles, the paint stays wet longer. The eleven well one came with a plastic cover to help slow down drying even more.

- don't stain like the plastic pallete, easier to clean

- glazed top and bottom, so they don't have to dry out fully after washing like I did with the tiles (otherwise the tile would release it's moisture onto my wood desk top).

- the wells are better for mixing paints



- Don't clean up as easy as a plain tile - almost, but not quite

- Heavier than plastic palletes

- more expensive than a plain tile.


All in all, I like them. I still use my plain ole tiles when I need a lot of paint that I'm not mixing (IE, terrain projects), and for drybrushing, so i don't have to clean the well palletes as often. The 11 well one I have is easier to clean than the flower pallete, because it doesn't have any sharp corners for paint to collect in.

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I'm rather fond of regular old plates. That's what I used for my acrylic canvas painting as well. :devil: About the only time I've found seperate little wells useful is when painting with watercolors so if you do a lot of washes you might find the ones with individual wells useful. Otherwise a plate works fine.

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I use 6"x6" high gloss white cermaic tile I got at Home Depot. Each one is $0.39. I bought a case for like $15 that has 50 in it. Tiles are great because who cares if they break, they are sooo cheap. Of course, because there are no wells, paint can dry quickly, especially in an arid area.


I have a couple welled palettes as well.


I got this one a couple years ago, figuring I would use this as my home palette. I liked the idea of the large central mixing area. Really though, it's just too big. I used it maybe 5 times and now it is sitting on a shelf collecting dust. I might consider it if I ever get a permanent, dedicated painting area again, so I can recess mount it. But not likely. Because if I have the time to build a painting table, the whole top is going to be either glass or ceramic tile.


I got the Yatsumoto 10 well dish which has been my workhorse palette

Although since the baby, that horse is virtually out to pasture. I have travelled quite a bit, even taking it camping with me. It's durable as all hell. This was my first porcelain palette. I found this, and a 6x6 tile is more than sufficient for most things I need. Rodnik mentioned needing to clean them often. This is very true. I'll often go through 6-7 wells with a single color including shading and highlights. So it does mean some semi-regular rinsing, but it takes virtually no time. Of course, there is version, which is significantly cheaper. Not sure the difference other than brand name. Looks like the Yatsumoto one has about a 1/4" difference in width. And now I am mad because that cheap one wasn't available when I got mine :grr:


I've left paint in this palette for 2 weeks. A little hot water and spotless in a matter of minutes.


The round 7 well flower palette is the one I have seen most often used, and I have considered picking up a couple, since they also stack pretty well. Although looking on that page, I'm really liking the 11 and 12 well ones. The 12 well, I can make little pools of water and gunk in the middle divided well.


Really, what is best will be based on how you paint, and what you need in a palette.

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I too like the flower palettes, the one with seven wells that's on the page you posted, yeah that's the one I have. I do have another one that's a bit flatter but I like having the wells that will pool the paint, the flat ones are harder to clean and keep the paint moist longer. It's a very good investment. They are easier to clean and keep clean and you really have to be rough with them for them to break.

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What's your favorite palette? I'm looking at these: Round porcelain palettes. There are several on the page -- I'm looking at the 11-welled one, 03071-1003, and the 12-welled one, 03071-1010.


I have tried the 11 well on that page and the 7-well flower style that others have linked to. (And another I don't think I've seen posted yet.) I love the 11 well. The wells are a little smaller and fully circular, which I think helps both with keeping the paint fluid and easy clean up. I have two of the 11 well and will only use one of my other palettes if both of them get dirty in a session. I've found the flower petal ones most widely available, I think I got my first couple in a local art store. I'll take any of 'em over a plastic palette, though, loads easier for the clean up and paint mixing.


The sizes you've linked to have a nice heft to them, but they're neither so weighty nor so large that they're inconvenient to use. I don't think they're super fragile, either. I've broken a small piece off one, but I caught it against the counter so I think that was more sort of fracturing it by hitting it just the right place rather than just pure impact. I'm clumsy and I've only had that one incident, so I think that speaks well to their durability. ;->

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VV that only cost you a looney? That's great. Very economical.


So, do they call them looney stores up there? ::P: Couldn't resist . . . ok back on topic . . .


My advice is to go to a local art store and see what they have in person. If they have one of the palettes you are looking at on dick blick you will be able to really tell by seeing it in person whether it's worth the buy. Everyone has different preferences. I personally like the flower one because it is limited in how many wells it has. It more or less forces me to stick to highlighting and shading one maybe two colors at a time. That means I get sections of minis done now and then move on to the next section that is a different color.

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Meg -


There is a chain up here called 'The Looney Bin'...


Dollorama is the king though - that is where I get my palettes from...


On topic - I usualy put my Gunk in the center pallette - and use the surrounding wells for the colours I am working with - and the large flat areas in between for mixing shades and testing consistency.


Nice rounded wells - lots of flat spaces - cleans up easily - cheaper than dirt... Personally - I am willing to trade the number of wells for the flat spaces. I'll post a picture of a 'used' pallette so you can see how messy I get.

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