Monday, February 23, 2009

Beading problems with New Watercolor Palettes

QUESTION: Hi Susie, There must be a 'trick' to preparing the wells in my watercolor palette. I'm new to watercoloring and I've bought three different palettes and each one causes the paint to 'bead' up into a tiny little puddle that almost disappears before I start. What do I need to do to keep this from happening? Some tell me to clean the wells with Comet. It didn't help at all. MJ

SUSIE'S REPLY: Welcome to watercolor MJ! You have so much fun ahead of you!
Beading is definitely a common problem with new plastic palettes especially in the center of the palette where the all mixing takes place. They are so slick and smooth that the wet watercolor just beads up instead of making a nice puddle for you to work with.
What do you need to do to keep this from happening? The solution is simple.....just paint! It is an annoyance at first, especially when you are new to watercolor anyway, but I promise the more you mix and blend and use your palette the faster the mixing area will get "seasoned" and the beading will stop.
As for the wells, I always fill the wells with an generous amount of paint. I like to work with dry paint so I actually fill the wells and allow the paint to dry before I paint with it. Even if you prefer to use fresh paint, a generous squeeze of paint is better than a tiny dab. The lid will help the paint stay moist for quite a while, and if it does dry out you can rejuvenate it with a fresh dab of paint or a damp brush.
I don't recommend using a scouring powder on the plastic surface of your watercolor palette. They just scratch it and cause the surface to stain easier.
Another tip for watercolor palettes is to always use a damp paper towel or rag to wipe up your paint puddles. If you wipe them with a dry towel or rag you run the risk of pushing the paint into the plastic surface and staining your palette. All plastic palettes will be a little stained as you use them, but not enough to cause any problems.

I hope that helps! Have fun!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When I get a new palette I gently rub circles on the smooth plastic with the rough side of a dish sponge. It removes that slick surface and you can mix perfect puddles on the top of your palette right away, rather than "breaking it in."