Conserving Artists Paints – 1
If you want to retain unused oil paints on a palette for a while after you've finished your painting, or it's going to be a day or two before you can come back to it, put the palette in a bowl or dish of clean water so it covers the paint. It will stay fresh and moist almost indefinitely like this.
However, make sure your palette is impervious to water ie: plastic, ceramic or the like. A wooden one will absorb water, swell and distort.
When you come to use your paint again, tip off the excess water and carefully use kitchen roll or similar to gently soak up any small puddles that remain.
Conserving Artists Paints – 2
Always roll up paint tubes from the base. You'll waste a lot less paint that way and lessen the risk of the tubes splitting. Squeezing from the middle of the tube not only uses up more paint, but if it splits, it gets all over your hands and everything in the vicinity and also lets air in half-way down the tube. The paint then thickens inside and at best, becomes difficult to work with. This is a particular pain with acrylic paints, since once this paint dries in the tube, that's it, you throw it away.
Conserving Artists Paints – 3
It's stating the obvious I know, but we all make the error of storing paint tubes with the cap being left off, or at best not being properly screwed on. Usually, this is because hardened paint dries around the thread making it impossible to replace the cap securely.
To overcome this, immediately after squeezing paint on to your palette, wipe the threads and caps of watercolor and acrylic tubes with a dampened cloth and oil color tubes with thinners. You can also use a wooden toothpick to clean out dried paint in the thread on the tubes and in the caps.
It doesn't have to be squeaky clean – just so the cap screws on and off easily. This little bit of effort actually saves you time, money and frustration, either searching for pliers to unscrew a reluctant cap and / or a journey to your art shop to get a new tube of paint to replace one that's dried up.
That's always assuming the art shop is open and has the color in stock you need right now ….
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not
necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Irishartist.ie