I think I've tried them all at some point. None of them have stuck.  Ive never gone back to using any of these except the last one (which I'm not sure is an actual palette). Now this post may sound a little rant-like but bear with me! 

1. Glass palettes 

Artist's love these and I really don't get it! They are easy to clean and you can change the backing to make it perfectly 'clean'. But since I work with large formats (usually) and on the floor, I need it to be more portable and convenient than a glass palette can be! They are too heavy and unwieldy for me to keep moving around or even rest of my painting. 

2. Wax Paper or Tear Away Palettes

You know, they come in a pack and you basically rip off the pallete and throw it away. Ok, I used these for a while cause I had so many, but once again they didn't stick. They work well for just paint but when I mix in mediums and thinners, they tend to run over the edge or merge. Which leads to disaster as I tend to put my canvas on the dry section of my painting!

3. Wooden and Plastic Palletes  

Every artist started with one of those plastic palletes! The ones with the little wells and thumb hole. And of course, the more traditional wooden ones. I really love these for one reason: they keep a piece of each painting. But eventually this turns into a con! I've had palletes that became so caked in paint that they were entirely unusable. And I'd rather not keep spending money on palletes  


4. But finally! I found the right one! It's cardboard. Literally cut up pieces of packaging. I know it sounds ridiculous but not only is it cheap it works so well. You can cut out the size you want, shape it to hold more fluid mediums and in the end if you love the colors you can keep it! (That's what I did with the one below) And best of all, its cheap and you're recycling your trash.   


(5) Ok this one, I added as an afterthought! There comes a time when you're too lazy to grab another bit of card or maybe you're in the moment and don't want to pause to cut up boxes. I started just using my tarp for simple techniques. Like below, it works really well for pallet knives and those plastic wipers (sorry, I don't know what they're called!)  


Sorry about the rant, but hope it helped anyway! If you guys know any other types of pallets, let me know! 


Cleaning your Tools

Cleaning your tools is important if you want to keep using them in a few years! And art tools especially become unusable very quickly! So I've put together a few tips for you:  

Palette Knives

Palette Knives

Metal Palette knives have to be cleaned immediately or they immediately become encrusted with paint and effect mediums. I use a rag, which wipes everything off and leaves your pallet knife as good as new! But I keep some encrusted knives as they create some interesting textures. If its a thin layer of just paint then it can be cleaned off some rubbing alcohol. The plastics knives (left) are the cheapest and I usually buy them to use with effect mediums. They almost never return to original, at the very least getting stained (and then tinting paint it touches). 



I'm sure you've been told this a billion times before, but I'm going to say it again. When you're not using the paintbrush while painting; keep it wet and wash it ASAP! Don't leave it standing in your pot of water as that will bend or damage the tip. When washing them, hold it pointing down in the stream of water and gently clean it until the water runs clear. 

Rubber brushes

Rubber brushes

These are probably the most paint caked tools I own. They're rubber 'brushes' that have chiseled tips. Though they're meant for texture I also use them to clean paint or make sure I get all the paint out of the cup (with fluidart). I even use them to clean my palettes.  


Any suggestions?  Comment below! 


Admitting to Defeat...

This post may have a gloomy title but, I promise it won't be that bad! I'm trying to record my failures here so I can learn from them. So here's the development of my latest piece that really didn't work (but let me know what I could have done better!): 

Testing the Pallete

Putting the colors and textures together before you begin your piece is always a good idea. Thats what I did here. I even attempted to add streaks to the blocks of color but I quickly realised that did not fit with the rest of solid colors. 

Practice Piece 

I then practiced the technique required. I used a palette knife that I cleaned before every stroke. This allowed me to realize that mixing colors would make the palette more interesting. But the lightest yellow would allow the background to show through.  

The Unfinished Final

This is the final piece that I eventually gave up on. I genuinely loved the color pallet and therefore background but the original plan included the 'swirls' overlayed. However, as I started to build it up it began to darken the background colors and become more of an eyesore. Perhaps if I had enlarged the design it may have worked together better. All in all, not my best work but I am still genuinely proud. The color pallet is one I will use again and I tried to bring life to my idea! So I thought I would write this post to make sure your failures don't go in the trash or in the back of your closet. Learn from them!



Art is a Language is an online portfolio as well as store for Shivani Sarjan’s artwork; focusing on sharing development, processes and final works as well as how an amateur artist may accomplish these.