Palette Cleaning

If a painter uses a palette to hold paint, eventually it probably needs to be cleaned. Since I am an acrylic painter for the most part, I like to use a palette that stays damp so I can keep my paints damp from day to day.

My preference is Masterson’s Sta-Wet Palettes. Their palettes come in various sizes from 8 x 7 inches to 16 x 12 inches. My favorite is Masterson’s Painters Pal which is 12 x 13 inches and I like it because it has the best seal.

Since I like to mix colors on my palette, I do my palette cleaning approximately every month or two depending on how many colors I have used. This week it got cleaned, but I still had a little paint left so I found a sturdy white painter’s cardboard and created a small abstract.

Molding Paste

I protected the cardboard first by putting on a heavy layer of molding paste. I haven’t used molding paste in my paintings for some time. This medium is not particularly absorbent, so the paint can slide around when held at various angles.

After the molding paste dried, I thought of a very loose composition, perhaps representing an abstract landscape, put a little water on the molding paste and then applied the paints. Here is the result. The dark color is a chromatic black made up of odds and ends on my palette.

An Hart Marquis-Oh Happy Day-palette cleaning

Oh Happy Day, acrylic on cardboard, 8 x 6 inches.

Although at this time I don’t use molding paste, I have used it extensively in the past and I like its effects. As mentioned below, I used it basically to add texture, but I have also used it to cover texture in a specific section in a painting that I didn’t like.

According to Golden Paints, molding paste can also be used to create foundations for painting either to create texture over a smoother surface, or to smooth out a textured surface. It dries to a hard, yet flexible, opaque film and blends with colors to tint and extend paint.

3 thoughts on “Palette Cleaning

  1. Linda

    I have the Masterson’s 12×16 palette and it doesn’t stay sealed. There is always one corner that pops up. I am thinking of replacing it with the one you recommended. How do you use the small cups that are in the palette? Thank you for sharing.

    1. Ann Hart Marquis Post author

      Sadly Linda, all of the other sizes beside Painter’s Pal have problem seals. The cups are for a variety of purposes. I have used mine to mix a quantity of paint that I used on a large canvas, mixed a medium with color, mixed color with a little water for washes. They won’t keep anything for a long time, but if you are using the same color or mixture for a week, they should be fine. As an after thought, I have used the largest one in France. I had to stand on it to seal the lid (in the corners), but it worked. Maybe you should try that for the one you have now.

      1. Linda

        Thanks Ann, good suggestions for the cups. I will try standing on my palette first before getting the one you suggested.


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