Wednesday, 11 July 2012


My palette in my palette box. I close the box (sealed with insulation tape) whenever I have to stop painting and the paint stays wet a little longer - ready for the next painting session. I have tried many palette setups and this is the latest one. The Masterson palette box is a favourite as well but it doesn’t seal as well as a wooden box. I often use disposable palettes but am now trying a glass one. I am not one for cleaning my palette very often (as I continually paint on and off throughout the day and evening depending on the demands of family life) but I imagine I’ll have to clean this glass one at some stage! I would like to try a traditional wooden kidney palette one day but again, am not sure the cleaning issue will make it suitable for me. I’ve seen palettes that you can put vertically, next to your painting which seems a great idea (the closer it is to your painting the easier it is to judge what colour or tone to choose/mix). At the moment the glass palette in wooden box is what I’m working with. And am painting a triple childrens portrait.


  1. Hi, Sophie. I add clove oil to my paints to keep my painting wet longer. It's nice because the paint on the palette stays wet for a very long time, too. However, I recently decided to do some painting without the clove oil (need a faster drying time). I am informed that if you put some clove oil on a cotton ball and set it in your palette box, then close it up, that the clove oil vapor will keep the paints from drying out without significant increases in drying time on the canvas. Something to try. Nice smell, too.

    Happy painting, Candace.

  2. Thanks Candace. I’ve heard a lot of Americans mention this clove oil - I wonder why nobody talks about it in the UK. Will have a look in the pharmacist next time I”m there. Thanks!!

  3. When I inherited my father's paint box it had a small bottle of clove oil in it...this was from his art school days in the early fifties! And, thirty years later, it was still good (once I managed to pry open the bottle!) I wouldn't use it, personally, as I suspect it makes drying rates unpredictable and therefore dangerous from a conservation standpoint. I really don't think anyone in the know recommends it anymore.
    When I worked for an art conservator we used plastic paper palettes...we'd cover the palettes snugly with plastic wrap (cling film to you UK folks) and then pop the palettes into a dedicated refrigerator (no food was kept in there...LOL!) The paint kept amazingly fresh this way, sometimes for weeks on end. When you pulled the plastic wrap off it would peel off any outer layer of drying paint from the individual daubs.
    Personally, I now use a Masterson Box with a disposable palette pad inside it. Not ideal but it works pretty well!

  4. Thanks Nancy, that’s the first doubt I hear about clove oil. Places like wetcanvas recommend it too. I’ve got the mastersons box but found a wooden box seals better. disposable palettes are cool - I like them - am now trying glass; always good to experiment. I’d love some sort of parallel palette as well, sometimes I prop up my palette against my painting (on an unpainted or dry bit) to have it right next to the area I’m painting.


Hi, Please leave any comments here. Thanks, Sophie.


Blog moved to website

Please visit my blog on my website to read my latest posts. Thank you!