You propably all know the traditional wooden palettes that artists use – on one hand they hold their brushes and on the other is a wooden palette resting on the forearm, secured by the thumb through a hole.
There are certain disadvantages with these hand held wooden palettes:
- Color – the wood color is not neutral which in the end means that all your mixed colors will be influenced by this. By trying to compensate for the warm tone of a wooden palette your color judgements propably will not be as exact as they could be. So a neutral palette is the better option.
- Hard to clean – due to the texture of a wooden palette you will have problems cleaning them perfectls. And when your paints have dried on the palette it’s harder to get them off the wood. With a glass palette you can easily use a razor blade and scrape off all the residues.
- One arm occupied – while painting you will often use a Mahlstick to rest your painting hand on it while holding it with the other hand. With a palette holding on the arm you are not able to hold a Mahlstick.
The solution to these disadvantages is a glass palette which rests on a table and has a neutral background. I found such a glass palette for 4.49 Euros (~6 $) at IKEA. It’s the RIBBA picture frame with a dark grey frame. I placed a grey medium value paper behind the glass and it now serves me well in my little atelier. Make sure you buy a picture frame with glass as some of IKEA’s picture frames have transparent plastic which is likely to scratch with use.
Another advantage is that I can place what ever I want behind the glass – if it’s a photo reference or a value scale.
I currently use the STRÖMBY picture frame in 30 x 40 cm under which I placed my self made Munsell swatches.
Here is a selection of other shots: