Nina Weiss

Choosing Palettes and Setting Out Colors

Nina Weiss
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Duration:   16  mins

What are some things to think about when choosing a palette? Palettes are used to lay the colors out, but also as a surface on which to mix colors. Having enough surface area to mix colors is important when mixing on the palette instead of the canvas. The color of your palette is also important to be able to know what color it is that you are mixing. Nina prefers a white palette to mix on, but some artists prefer a middle-gray color.

Wood palettes are common to come across, but perhaps not the best choice because they can be very difficult to clean. Plastic is hard to clean, especially with acrylic paint, so probably not the best option. Coated masonite is a good option and is easy to hold while painting. Paper pad palettes are also an option where you end up throwing away the paint when you’re done. Freezer paper is a low-cost alternative to the paper pads.

Enameled trays are a great option because they are large and easy to clean, though you may not want to hold them while painting because they can become heavy. Tempered glass is also a great option as a palette because it can be customized to have a very large mixing area, and it is easy to clean with a scraper. You will not be able to hold it while you paint, as they are very heavy, so you will need a tabletop to rest it on.

Laying out your paint in an orderly manner around the perimeter of the palette is important so that you have plenty of area on the palette to mix. Nina prefers to lay out her paint from light to dark and uses a limited palette using warm- and cool-temperature primary colors—white, yellow, red, and blue. Then you can use your brush to mix your paint in the clean area in the middle of your palette.

So, there are several options available when you’re choosing your palette, but Nina looks for palettes with easy cleanup, white surfaces, and plenty of mixing area.

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