Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Stay-wet Palette

Well, it's been a while since I posted anything here I know, so here's one of my later paintings. Continuing my foray into acrylics, this one is larger than anything I've done in this medium - 14"x10". The one thing that has given me confidence for a larger size is my discovery of the "stay-wet palette". What I can tell you now, is that this is the best piece of kit that I've bought in ages. No more does the paint dry on the palette before I have chance to get it on the canvas, or the necessity to use 'flow improver' (which I've not found that satisfactory).

The thing works by a process called osmosis, consisting of a plastic tray in which a sheet of water holding paper (like blotting paper) is placed, then thoroughly wet with water, followed by a sheet of semi-permeable paper (like tracing paper) placed on the top. When acrylic paint is put on this palette, it keeps moist for days or weeks - perfect for Mr Slow Painter like me! It comes with a lid to retain moisture between sessions.

The kit is not cheap at £17.00, but my friend, being a somewhat thrifty person, has made his own makeshift affair by purchasing a 'lock and lock' plastic box just big enough to take the paper packs to fit in it. His cost him £3.50 for the box and £4.00 pound odd for the paper pack - quite a saving in all. The only drawback with his home-made one is that it is a little deep to dip your brushes in, which he admits to, but I suppose I can't knock it having not tried it.

The painting is obviously Venice - a quite back water more typical than the usual views you will find on glossy brochures or travel programmes on TV. This took me about a week, with five sessions to complete it. The paint stayed lovely and moist using the new palette, and just needed a little water adding before each session to stop evaporation.

The WIP shows that after the drawing came initial thin washes of colour before going into any detail with the paint.

At our art club last week, I took this painting along for an evaluation by Tim Fisher, a well know local artist, whose comments were fairly favourable, but pointed out one or two things that would improve the work, which I had missed or not thought about, like more emphasis on light source and direction and more fading needed into the distance. His points were duly observed and born in mind for the next one, as I haven't the heart or willpower to go changing things now!


  1. Glad you found something of use to your painting, Frank. This is a lovely Venetian scene, though I can see what your artist meant. Maybe if you put it away for a while you might find you'll want to change those minor things later, That's the beauty of acrylic - you can do that :) xx

    1. Thanks Pat, but I've never gone back to an unfinished for some time painting yet!

  2. Isn't that stay wet palette amazing?! I just got one a few months ago and it totally changed my experience of painting with acrylics from one of frustration to pleasure. Worth it's weight in gold I tell you. Your painting is beautiful Frank, I love the look of the water, it's really well done. :)

  3. Have to agree with you there Crystal - so much more easier.

  4. I think this is a great painting Frank. I think you've achieved a good sense of distance and, in my opinion, there is sufficient fading to accomplish that. The water is outstanding, greatly helped by the light reflection. All in all, a very painting Frank.

  5. Really nice composition. My eye easily moves around the whole painting.