A palette, is a flat surface on which a painter arranges colors prior to mixing them and applying them to the canvas. Somewhat, the same word also used to describe the range of colors used by a particular artist or the range of colors found in a particular painting. A palette is usually made of wood, plastic, ceramic, or other hard, inert, nonporous material, and can vary greatly in size and shape. The most commonly known type of painter’s palette is made of a thin wood board designed to be held in the artist’s hand and rest on the artist’s arm.
Flat wooden palettes in the traditional kidney or rectangular shapes with a thumb hole are intended for use with oil paints. They are made from hardwood, or from the more economical plywood. Before you use a wooden palette with oil paint for the first time, rub linseed oil into the surface of both sides. Allow it to permeate the surface. This will prevent oil from the paint from being absorbed into the surface of the palette and will make It easier to clean. Apply linseed oil periodically and a good wooden palette will last forever. wooden palettes are not recommended for acrylic paint. as hardened acrylic paint can be difficult to remove from the surface.
A relatively recent innovation is the disposable paper palette, which can be used with both oils and acrylics. These come in a block and are made from an impervious parchment-like paper. A thumb hole punched through the block enables it to be held in the same way as a traditional palette; alternatively, it can be placed flat on a surface. Once the work is finished, the used sheet is torn off and thrown away.