How to store watercolor paints if you paint often. This is not for someone who wants to store their watercolor paints long-term. You’ll have to find another article on that.
I’m not that guy since I’m always painting.
I want to keep this short. And I also want to write for a narrow audience. If you’re like me – you’re always painting, then this article is for you.
I draw every single day. Even on vacation, I’m drawing.
When I’m back, I’m still drawing, but even more. Then of course painting every single chance I get.
In the palette
How I store watercolor paints in the palette is very simple. When they’re wet, dust falls in them. You obviously need them uncovered when you paint. But as soon as you finish painting, cover them up with whatever you have available. I practice drawing so much that I have a lot of extra drawing practice papers laying around. That’s what I’m covering my palettes with (as shown).
Most of your plastic palettes and many of your metal palettes already have covers. I use only porcelain palettes. I cover them with paper.
Your main enemies are dust, dirt, and hairs. Once those get in the palette, you might as well wash off a layer. Or if it’s not worth saving, then wash off all the paint from your palette and try again. And watercolor paints aren’t exactly cheap. Plus, it’s just morally wrong to waste, even if you can afford to.
I’ve used the same mixes for literally weeks. I’ve never had any problems doing this. But then again, I’m painting every chance I get.
I only have two models – Allie, and Roxy. Allie’s the blonde and Roxy’s the brunette. Their skin colors are almost exactly the same. So even if I’m alternating painting them, I’m still using the same skin color mix. I’ll use it for weeks and it won’t be a problem.
I also keep a mix of Roxy’s hair color. I get her hair color by mixing 50/50 Perylene Red with Hooker’s Green. Since I don’t like to do things multiple times, I make a decent sized mix and leave it in the palette until I run out.
You really can keep your paints in a palette for a long time, assuming you’re painting often. Just keep your palette covered when you’re not painting.
What about pets?
We have a dog. You may have dogs or cats. Both have fur. And for some odd reason, their hairs always end up in your paint. So definitely keep those palettes covered. I guess that’s one advantage of having a pet snake.
We don’t have one of those because I don’t know anything about snakes. The one time I drew a snake, I just grabbed some random pictures of snakes and combined them. It’s a weird hybrid snake that doesn’t exist anywhere in this world. I do fantasy pinups anyways, so my animals don’t have to exactly exist.
Of course keep the paints away from your pets. Some pets love to get into things. My dog luckily knows not to touch my watercolor stuff. She’s very smart and just knows. She also instinctively knows when we’re playing a board game not to step on the board or even the pieces, even though we play on the floor.
But what about mold?
What about it? Like I said, this article is if you’re painting all the time. Mold takes awhile to develop. You’re not going to get mold if you’re painting daily and washing out your palettes every once in awhile.
That may be different if you’re in a tropical country. If so, please comment below with your mold experience. I’m all ears, and you’ll be doing other readers a favor. Where I live, it’s dry enough that if you’re painting often enough, you never have to worry about mold.
I keep my tubes away from sunlight. I keep them in a plastic container in my room. We never let the temperature go above 78 degrees in the summer and never let it go below 60 in the winter. My paints seem to last forever that way.
Just make sure you remember to seal them after pouring out some of your paint into your palette. You don’t want to leave them open. Unused paints will sometimes dry out. If they do, you have to add water to the palette and mix it up well. It’s a lot of extra work.
And that’s it. You should have no problem storing your paints as long as you keep the tubes closed and your palette covered. (And you actually paint and not leave them untouched for forever).