A palette is a portable surface on which an artist mixes colours whilst painting. Palettes come in a wide range of materials, shapes and sizes depending on personal preference and the type of paint being used. The most common and recognisable palette for Oil Painting is the kidney palette which is a thin, rounded wooden board which rests on the artists arm with a hole for the thumb to allow the palette to be held in place. Kidney Palettes can also be used for Acrylic Paint although there are specific ‘stay wet’ palettes that are lidded and contain a sheet of glacine sitting on a soaked sponge that helps to keep the Acrylic moist and workable for longer. For Watercolour and Gouache, a smaller white palette is preferred. Various shapes are available in both porcelain and plastic.
Palette is also the name given to the selection of colours that an Artist may choose to paint with as in ‘he painted with a limited palette’ or ‘he painted with a palette of red, blue, white and green’.