I started work yesterday on a new painting that I hope to finish by the weekend for my latest challenge with Pablo. Due to the upheaval in my personal life, I haven't been getting much studio time in lately and my palette has been sitting untouched for longer than I'd like to admit. However, some years ago I discovered a great way to store my palette, so when I opened it up this afternoon, it was in perfect condition and ready to use. Here's the scoop:
I wouldn't dream of discarding paint after each painting session -- it's too expensive -- and this method of storage keeps it fresh and workable. I fill the wells in the palette at least half full or even a little more, then spray the paint lightly with distilled water and stir each one (with a toothpick) to spread it out in the well. I cover the palette (cover not shown here) when I'm not actively painting and I spray the paints with distilled water if they start drying out while I'm painting, and also before I cover my palette and put it away at the end of a painting session. When I pull it out to paint the next time, I stir any of the paints that appear to have separated, but generally don't have to spend much time on that.
The secret to this success is a Masterson Artist Palette Seal. Before I found this solution for paint storage, I used to keep my palette in a large plastic zipper bag. It was helpful, but a bit bulky since the bag was much larger than the palette. Still, by providing an extra barrier, it helped keep the paint moist.
I prefer my old Creative Mark palette over all the others I've tried, so I modified the Masterson box by slicing off the posts, as you can see in the small inset photo. With that adjustment, you can store any palette up to 12" x 16" x 1" in the Masterson box. (Although the working area of most watercolor palettes is 12" x 16," the edges of some palettes make them just a bit too large for the storage box. Measure your palette carefully if you're thinking of trying this setup.)
If you have a favorite way of keeping your palette ready to go, please share that in the comments.