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Palette (painting)

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An artist's palette

A palette (/ˈpælɪt/) is a surface on which a painter arranges and mixes paints.[1][2] A palette is made of materials such as wood, paper, glass, ceramic or plastic, and can vary greatly in size and shape.[2][3] Watercolor palettes are generally made of plastic or porcelain in a rectangular or wheel format, and have built in wells and mixing areas for colors.[4] For acrylic painting, "stay wet" palettes exist, which prevent the paints from drying out and becoming inert.[3]

A classical palette is most often oval, but can also be rectangular, and is tapered to ensure optimal distribution of weight. It has a thumbhole and insert for brushes, and is designed to be held in the non-dominant hand while the other is used to mix and paint.[1] However, some well-known artists have used more unconventional palettes; for instance, Picasso used a sheet of newspaper.[2]

Palettes are also a universal symbol of painting and art in general, alongside paintbrushes, for example in the symbol of Microsoft Paint.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Scott, Katie; Williams, Hannah (January 2024). Artists' Things: Rediscovering Lost Property from Eighteenth-Century France. Getty Publications. p. 374. ISBN 978-1-60606-863-2.
  2. ^ a b c Parramón, José María (1993). How to paint in oils. Watson-Guptill Publications. ISBN 978-0-8230-3277-8. Retrieved 1 February 2024.
  3. ^ a b Glover, David Lloyd (15 August 2014). Color Mixing in Acrylic. Walter Foster Publishing. ISBN 978-1600583889.
  4. ^ Jelbert, Wendy; Sidaway, Ian (29 April 2005). Watercolour Painting: Practical Techniques and Projects for Beginners. Southwater. ISBN 978-1844761517.

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