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Wet palettes and washes


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So, I'm finally making time to paint again. Or, well, I've at least managed to clear a space for painting in order to try and make time in a week when my work schedule goes back to normal a bit. But I've got a question, which I meant to ask back in February when I did LTPKs 1&2, but forgot to.

 

How the heck am I supposed to do washes/glazes/any heavily thinned painting using a wet pallete? I bought one because I didn't want to deal with paints drying on the pallete in the middle of painting, and it works great for that if I'm using paint that's lightly thinned, but once I start trying to mix up a wash it just runs everywhere on the pallete and gets into everything. Is it because I'm using the wet pallete paper that came with the wet pallete that I bought? Should I switch to just plain parchment paper for my pallete paper?

 

Also, do they make any kind of welled wet pallete? I'm going to guess no, but I haven't look around that hard. I would think something like that would be great for washes, but if anything I can always just use a dry pallete for mixing washes and a wet pallete for everything else.

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I use regular parchment paper on top of paper towels on a plastic plate. As long as I don't mix too close to the edges I haven't had any runaway paint. You might want to get a welled palette for making glazes and washes, as you don't have to worry about them drying (as fast). I know when I was watching the Jen Haley video, she was mixing her glazes in a welled palette (not a wet one).

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I use a couple of tin tart cups for washes and the like, I imagine any small contained space would work the same. With glazes you might be able to get away with mixing them on the wet pallet, but for washes i always add other things besides water.

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Don't. Just use some $1 pallet from Wal-Mart or something as washes and glazes will get too runny for the wet pallet. Since they have so much water in them they won't dry out fast and you can always add water back in if needed. We have lots of tools available to us so there's no reason to try and shoe horn a wet pallet into doing the job of a welled pallet.

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I use the little plastic blisters that NyQuil capsules come in for mixing washes. Just happened to be painting while fighting a cold and found they work great. And since they were getting thrown out anyway I feel no guilt for tossing them instead of cleaning them.

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My recommendation would be to get one of the $1 circular welled palettes previously mentioned. The plastic from blister packs, old medicine cups and anything of that nature also works. Washes are just too liquid to play nice on a wet palette.

 

There is no welled wet palette to my knowledge. However, I have been getting great results with what I call a reverse wet palette. I use porcelain welled palettes. If I want to keep colours I've mixed for a little while, I dampen sponges and place them on top of the palette. If you do this over a more lengthy period of time, you'll need to check on and redampen the sponges once or twice a day. You can also do it with some folded up paper towel, but you'll need to remoisten that more frequently. I recently had paint mixes keep for over three days using this method. It actually works better for me than a regular wet palette since I do paint mixes a lot, and the larger the pool of paint on a wet palette, the faster it dries out. (For me, anyway.)

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I use baking/parchment paper and I have been able to mix washes on my DIY wet palette, dilutions of up to about 80% water and like trystangst said as long as I keep away from the edge & not tip the set-up I have no problem. I think the commercial wet palette paper is designed for thicker paints. I have tried it before, RMS straight from the pot is OK but as soon as I add a drop of my thinner mix the paint is just absorbed by the paper.

 

When I have to mix more than a few washes I use a variation of what Wren suggested (which I'm going to try BTW). I have several versions of my DIY wet palette and when I have to use a welled palette for my washes I keep it in one of my extra wet palettes. So the set-up is a water-tight container, a damp sponge with the welled palette on top of the sponge. With the cover on I can prevent the washes from drying for several days. I've also used this for other water soluble mixtures like varnishes & PVA glue mixtures.

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I've been able to find MANY postings via Google on making your own wet palette or reviews of one you can purchase. But I am finding very little in the way of tutorials on using on effectively (beyond the obvious ability it has to keep your paint fresh longer). So if anyone has any links to how-to tutorials for using a wet palette once you have one I would appreciate it!

 

I've been doing the LTPKs from Reaper myself. I have been using a simple plastic palette to mix my paints and am getting frustrated with how fast the paints dry as well as how hard it is to mix your paints for layering. So it sounds like a wet palette would be a perfect solution. So I guess I have a few questions given I can't seem to find answers elsewhere:

 

1) If you need to thin out your paint a lot, do you still add water to it when on the wet palette? Or would you still do your washes or very thinned paints on a normal palette?

 

2) What technique do you use to "mix" colors? In my plastic palette I was using a brush, but seemed to me that I didn't want to do this with my excellent Winsor Newton brush that I paint with. But yet when I tried to mix with an old brush, it seemed to absorb much of the paint. If I tried to use anything else (a flat tooth pick for example), it didn't seem to mix very well. How are people mixing colors on the wet palette?

 

3) When you have to "mix" a larger ratio of one color over another, do you just place pools of each color near each other and simply pull more of the higher ratio color between them? Or is it really just a matter of blending the two until you see the color you are looking for? What about mixing more than 2 colors?

 

Thanks for looking, just trying to improve my technique, tools and work area waiting for my bones. I'm not an "army" painter. I normally just like to pick out a couple figures I like or that fit the games I play in and paint them. I don't expect to become a contest winner or entrant, but just want to paint good quality table top minis.

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For me, lately, this is what I've been doing. It's an evolving process.

 

Thinned mixes (washes, glazes) get done in a welled palette which I can cover with a lid. Everything else gets done on the wet palette. I'll work back and forth using both during the same painting session.

 

I always mix with a janky old brush - I'll wick as much as I can back onto the palette, whichever one I'm using. And then, since I keep a paint log*, I'll do a smear of the color on the card with the mixing brush. Double duty. Anything else, alas, gets rinsed off.

 

On the wet Palette, I've started putting a drop of water on the palette apart from the paint puddles. If what's on the palette isn't quite thin enough, I can dip my brush in the water, then in the paint, and gradually get the paint to the consistency I want. Not a lot of vigorous mixing with the fancy brush here.

 

I also pretty much do exactly what you described for colors in ratios other than 1:1 on the wet palette. Unless I'm doing a known recipe in smallish quantity of drops (1:1, 2:1), I'll make a couple of pools, and pull from one into the other as needed until I get what I want. Usually that means I'll get one pool of the desired color, and another pool of a similar-ish color that I might be able to use in another painting step. Sometimes I'll pull from both pools into a middle, and work from the blend on the palette to get all of the colors I need (depends on how much paint that is, and how large of an area I'm painting...If I'm not going to need to reproduce this color, and I only need a small amount, I can usually get most of what I need from a "color gradient" made by blending the colors on the palette. I'm usually not mixing more than 2 colors this way; I've got a pretty wide selection of paints to choose from, and can always glaze or layer in additional colors later. Makes it easier for me to reproduce mixes. If I don't know ahead of time what I'm mixing, I'll eyeball it until it looks right, then make a note of the ratio in the paint log.

 

*Paint log - an awesome tool that I recommend doing. I keep track of the colors that I'm using so that I can use it again later, if I like. I've got a big stack of old business cards from an old job I use for this, and then they get stored in one of those business card folios which have slots for the individual cards, kind of like a photo album. It was a freebie from a Staples order, so this setup was free and easy for me to use - a notebook will work just as nicely, but this takes up less table space (and since I'm in a two-painter house, we both store recipes in the folio -- which is nice when we're teaming up to paint a project with a lot of models which need to look like part of the same group).

 

I'll paint a swatch of the color on the card, and then write out the recipe beside it. Another note on the card lets me know what part of which model I used it on (complex models which go through a lot of layers may have several cards - I may devote an entire card to a custom skin recipe, or cloak, etc.). It's really great for remembering your awesome recipe for red hair when you want to replicate it 2 years later.

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Nissiana, I really like the paint log idea. I'd use my tablet for that, but then I'd lose the ability to keep a swatch of the color available. Sounds like a can just reuse a bunch of notecards I have along with their storage unit.

 

A further clarification, on the wet palette when you are mixing, do you mix with the "good" brush that you paint with? I understand in the well palette you use an old brush. But not sure what you did with your wet palette. I also have a wide variety of colors, so hopefully I can avoid needing to mix more than two! Just that the LTPKs had you mixing 3 colors some times (but are limited in color selection of course).

 

And much thanks for the information and feedback of course.

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