Now that we have discussed what types of paints to use, let’s talk storage, and organization.

Several Words on Palettes:

The Pallet for Acrylic Paints:

The majority of art supply stores will have the little, white, plastic palettes in the painting section. These are fine if you do not plan of traveling with your gouache paints. Even if they have the little clear plastic lids that go with them, these easily and often spill the wet paint. If you’re working at home and never travel to a Scriptorium, these are fine to use.

These pallets are great for acrylic paints. The acrylics do not bond with the plastic and can easily be washed out.

White Plastic Pallet

The Pallet for Gouache Paints:

If you have access to a large art supply store, or a sewing/fabric store, back in the “notions” section, there are little, square, clear plastic bobbin cases, with lids. These make WONDERFUL gouache palettes! If you travel with your paints, these hold more paint, more securely, and will spill less. You still must set them on a flat surface, but they chances of them spilling are greatly reduced!

The lids on these pallets will not fit super tightly. They are not air tight, and when working with gouache and watercolor paints, that is what you want. You want the paints to be able to dry out between uses (if you don’t paint all day, everyday). The gouache and watercolor paints are easily reconstituted with a bit of clean water.

I love to mix paints! As a little girl, I used to mix the “clay dough” together just to see how many colors I would get. Then I would place them carefully next to each other, covering the card table or piano bench, as if they were little pancakes of paint on a palette. When my Mom asked what I was making, I simply answered, “Colors.”

In my little bobbin boxes, I have premixed my paints. In the center row, I have the original color from the tube, which is my middle tone. On one side I have the original color mixed with white, in a light, and really light (almost white), which are my highlights. On the other side, I have the original color mixed with its color compliment from the color wheel for the shadows. (Yes, there will be an HHH for the Color Wheel coming soon.)

Yellow Gouache Pallet

Yes, I do have loads of paint colors. I have several reds, several yellows, several blues, and so on. I have all of my reds in one pallet, all of my yellows in another, all of my blues in yet another, and so on. Yes, I know this seems a little extreme, but trust me, it’s totally worth it!

My Gouache Pallets

Having the paints super organized and premixed does a couple of things for me.

  1. It’s a huge time saver! Instead of having to mix paints for each and every scroll or other art project every time, I already have my paints mixed. I have my 2 lights, my middle tone, and my 2 darks ready to go. You would be amazed at how fast I can paint a scroll (especially draperies and flowers) with premixed and ready to go paints!
  2. It looks totally cool! I mean really! Every time I show up to a Scriptorium with my hyper-organized pallets, inevitably someone calls me crazy, or “hyphenated”. The one thing they all say by the end of the night, “I wish I had organized my pallets that way!”

The Pallet for Watercolor Paints:

Since I only use one or two colors of watercolor paint for very specific illuminating, I use styrofoam bowls for these paint colors. I like working with the very wet, transparent paints in the bowls because it give me a lot of room to swirl the brush around in. It also affords a lot of room for the additional water needed to get the paints that transparent in the first place. I do not use paper or wax coated paper bowls because they can disintegrate with the amount of time the wet solution is sitting in the bowl. Wasted paint pains me! to see it run out of the bottom of the bowl, across the work surface, and onto the floor without stopping is just not something I want to repeat.

Well, folks, that’s all for this week, next week we’ll be talking about using your gouache paints effectively.

Hopefully Helpful,