My Watercolour Palettes

By: Joseph Casapinta | 5 Jul 2015

Throughout the years that I have been painting in watercolour, I have also collected a number of palettes.  These palettes have been made from ceramic, plastic, brass and enamel.

Irrespective of what type of job or hobby I do or passion I experience, I have always given the importance to my choice of gear, in this case for painting, which I use both in the studio and for outdoor painting. Although cermic palettethis may not be cost effective, yet, the end result is pure satisfaction.

For a start I used both ceramic and plastic palettes.  I would say that a ceramic palette is a fantastic base to mix your colours.  Ceramic allows your mix of colour to bond and not disperse, for which this is a plus over the use of plastic palettes.

travelling palette

Outdoor Kit which consists of an A5 pad and a set of kolinsky travelling brushes.

As for plastic palettes, although these might be cost effective and could be used for both indoor and outdoor painting, yet by time, these may start discolouring and the plastic wells get stained with the amount of colour being mixed.  The only advantage would be that a plastic palette is light. In certain instances, these may leak and colour may spread, so if used for outdoors, don’t forget to always carry some sealed plastic bags.

The collection of Enamel and brass palettes on the next photo.  From bottom left to right:

  • The Schminke Travelling Palette which holds a water reservoir deep well. Standard out of its box can hold 8 cakes with a place for a small brush.  I have changed it to hold another four cakes.
  • My current outdoor palette – The Holbein made in Japan Palette purchased from Heaton Coopers in the UK.  This is one of my favourite palettes I have ever used.  This palette has seen all kind of dings and bashings on my outdoor sessions.  This palette is quite light and closes to a very thin closure.  Has a very good layout for mixing colour and controls colour dispersion well.
  • The third in the list is my studio palette, well known with Spanish watercolourists.  I use this as my studio palette due to the fact that the wells can hold a pull tube of paint.  Slightly on the heavy side, but is a great palette with a centre tray.   This is only available in Spain.  Made in Barcelona by a company called VICENÇ PIERA – email  .

Collection of brass and enamel palettes

  • Then, three other palettes by Winsor & Newton.  The Cotman W&N plastic palette. A well designed and robust palette for a sketching kit.  The metal W&N custom made palette to hold 18 large cakes and 4 small cakes.  This was one of the earliest metal cases I have carried around, although this is on the heavier side of palettes and last but not least the metal W&N bijou palette.  More to me as a collectible.

ON ORDER from The Little Brass Box Company.  I would say the Queen of Palettes.  Don’t ask me why I refer to a palette to a female gender !!  This palette has been designed and referred to originally as the Roberson style palette.  Can be ordered and custom made from The Little Brass Box Company in the UK and also from Craig Young.  This I have on order and will only be available in March 2016 !!!!! …. hopefully a well worthy palette to wait for 🙂

The palette boasts a centre tray holding 16 colours opening to a deep centre mixing tray and side deep wells for great washes.  This is one of the most sought for watercolour palettes.  Closes to a 13.9 x 9x 3.5 cm closure.  A definite palette for all those outdoor passionate watercolourists.


Little brass box