Over Christmas, I purchased a Privateer P3 wet palette. I didn’t really need a new wet palette, but I had been using a piece of styrofoam, a damp paper towel and a sheet of waxed paper. It seemed so inelegant.
Surprisingly, the P3 was slightly less than the wet palette at the art supply store, so I picked one up. It’s basically a plastic box with a sponge and some paper to put on top. All wet palettes generally follow this guideline, much like my homemade one.
Now the bad news. The sponge in the P3 palette isn’t really a sponge. It’s the same foam rubber that they use to line blister packs. It’s not particularly absorbent, and water transfer from it horrendously uneven. Even a kitchen sponge would be better.
Even worse is the paper they include with the palette. It feels like baking parchment, which it probably is. That wouldn’t matter, except for the grievous fault that it curls when wet. And not just a little. If it’s damp, it will roll itself tightly in to a roll. If you wet the other side, depending on the outside humidity, it will roll up the other way.
Once it’s soaked, it stays relatively flat. However, relatively flat is not actually flat. It’s still lumpy, which makes it nearly useless for actually mixing paint, which is sort of the point for a palette. As you use it with the lid open, the paper will dry slowly (because the sponge is crap) and the paper will warp and eventually curl.
As an added affront, it’s not even the same aspect ratio as the palette. Why?
If you’re storing your carefully mixed paint overnight, the paper will wick enormous amounts of water in overnight, turning your paint into a pool of useless coloured water.
Some of these problems can be mitigated by using a damp paper towel between the sponge and paper. They’re still there, they’re just not quite as bad.
You can get the same result by buying any old plastic box from anywhere then lining it with a damp paper towel. Or even a cloth if you feel like having something more upscale. It’s unlikely a box will cost you 24 dollars.
If you think I’m exaggerating, here’s a video. Note that I’ve already put a paper towel in. The problem is worse without it. The paper will actually fall out of the palette if it’s not there. The boring second half is there so you can see how badly the paper wrinkles once it settles down somewhat. You’ll also notice that the paper is actually too wet to be a useful wet palette.
The video is only about 45 seconds, so while it is almost as boring as watching paint dry, at least it’s short.http://duchesscamillashorse.servegame.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/MVI_6502.mp4