Jul 20, 2011

How to store water mixable oils

How do you store the paints on your palette between painting sessions? When I used regular oil paints I used the method of putting them in a dish and submerging them in water. Obviously that doesn't work with water soluble oils.

Nowadays, I use plastic storage containers as my "palettes" and just seal the lid and toss them in the freezer. Since I like turkey sandwiches, I usually have a few of these floating around to recycle for my painting needs:

Of course, if you don't like turkey sandwiches (why don't you like turkey sandwiches???!), you can always buy containers like these:

It may seem tacky and cheap, but it actually works fairly well. Since I now only paint with 3 primaries and white I don't need a lot of palette space. But, if I do need more space, I can use a few separate containers, one for my blues and greens, another for reds and oranges, etc.

By actually putting paints on, and painting from, these containers, it saves a lot of time and headache not having to transfer them from a regular palette each time I clean up for the day. These small, light-weight containers are also very handy for traveling and doing plein air work.

By the way, you're not actually freezing the paint by putting it in the freezer (but the cold temperature slows down the evaporation rate, preserving the paint's moisture). The oil in the paint does not freeze at the temperature of the average household freezer. It needs to be several degrees colder than that to freeze. So, since the paint doesn't actually freeze, it doesn't hurt it and you don't have to wait for it to thaw. It's ready to paint with right out of the freezer. Here's an article that talks more about it if you want to know more about it:

Freezing Oil Paint

How do you usually store your paints? And what are some of the crazy ways you've tried that may, or may not have, worked?

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