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Monday, March 25, 2013

Product Review: The Palette Garage

I recently received a new product that my readers will find useful – the Palette Garage.  If you're wondering how to save the oil paint in your pochade box and keep it from drying out, this is for you!

The Palette Garage ( is basically a strip of acrylic upon which you lay out your paints in preparation for painting.  Using either the included Velcro buttons or mini-clamps, you attach it to your palette.  (This could be the palette area in a pochade box or an actual, handheld palette.)   When you're done, you remove the Palette Garage and slip it into the acrylic storage tube.  The storage tube has a cap at each end with a small wick; the wicks are dampened with clove oil, and the fumes of the oil keep the paint from drying out.

The Palette Garage comes in several sizes – 12”, 14”, 16” and 18”.  For reviewing, I chose the shortest one – the 12” - since I wanted it to fit on the palette of my Open Box M.

I wasn't able to use the mini-clamps to attach the Palette Garage to my box, so I used the Velcro buttons.  I was a little afraid the adhesive on the buttons wouldn't hold, since my Open Box M palette is well-seasoned with oil.  But after rubbing the palette with a little OMS to clean off the surface oil, the buttons held well.

I use a basic six-color split-primary palette, and although I had plenty of room for my six colors (plus a seventh guest color, Torrit Grey), I didn't have room for the white.  I usually put out a lot of white on my palette.  This isn't a  problem for me, though, as I usually use up most of the white, anyway.  Once I started painting, it was easy to pull paint off the Palette Garage with my brush or knife; it was no different than working with my usual setup.

For cleanup, it was a snap to remove the Palette Garage and place it back in its container.  I cleaned off the leading edge of the acrylic strip so it wouldn't get paint on the inside of the tube.  Also, I had to clean up the paint a bit – I mix with brushes, so the paint always gets a little dirty – but found it tricky to do so.  The acrylic is slippery, so using a knife would remove some of the dirty paint but not all of it.  To get rid of the rest, I had to use a paper towel.  This required a little care, since I easily contaminated one pile of paint with another through my clumsiness.  Next time I'll use a Qtip, which should work much better.

I found the Palette Garage easy to use and it works as promised.  I painted out in the field and then let the paint stay “parked in the garage” over several days.  The paint stayed wet and workable.   However, as a frequent painter – I paint several times a week – I find it no trouble to clean my palette and refresh the paint daily.  I'm not really concerned about wasting paint.  But if I painted only once a week, I would definitely be concerned about my paint drying out.  The Palette Garage is a perfect way to keep paint fresh.

You can find out more about Palette Garage at the website,  Palette Garage is made by the same maker of Best Brella, a product I use all the time out in the field.  For more about Best Brella, visit  (I reviewed it in this blog in 2009.)