The Whiskey Painters Standard Palette—A Product Review

May 17, 2012

See the post for complete details.

If the above video doesn’t play see The Whiskey Painters Standard Palette on YouTube.

The other day I was in Wet Paint (my local independent art supply store) and they showed me these new travel palette boxes that replace the former ones I’ve been using in this size: 3-3/16 x 2-3/8 inches approximately when closed. 

I LOVE it. As you can see from the video, it is still very compact, but it now has half pans that are easily switched out. It’s very ingenious and well-made. I’m totally in love with it and had to show you as soon as I could so I didn’t even set up lights and a tripod (apologies for the shaky video, but you get to see what is important).

Currently my palette is filled with a selection of M. Graham and Daniel Smith watercolors. But because the little pressure plates are simple to remove I can change my mind in a moment. I can simply take out the pressure plates that lock in the pans, switch out the pans I don’t want to use, put in ones I want to use, lock it up and go. 

Note: If you’re a fan of Schmincke’s Pan Watercolors I tried inserting them in this box. They also fit. (That’s the only brand of factory-made pans I use so I can’t help you with info about other brands.)

With the old box this size made in China, that wasn’t an option. While I have this flexibility with my larger travel palettes sometimes you just don’t want to take a full box. This makes it very simple to have just a few pans of color that you really want.

So if you like to travel light you might want to check this palette box out. I am not commercially connected to the makers or sellers of this palette. I’m just a happy customer. I paid $30 for mine.

If you would like to know the gouache colors I have in my old palette, shown in the video, you can see the palette and a diagram of colors in “Project 640 Tubes: Selecting A Gouache Palette.”

If you would like to see a selection of my watercolor and gouache travel palettes (including the old Chinese box when it was empty) you can go to Travel Palettes for Watercolor and Gouache. The small kids palettes that you see in that image are palettes that I carry with me every day, regardless of where I’m going or for how long. The larger travel palettes are for when I’m going to a specific destination or on a road trip. The old Chinese palette was something I carried for special trips to the zoo, or day destinations, when I wanted more color. Now I have an even better option.  

  1. Reply

    This pallette looks like a good idea! Also a questions for you – where did you get your tiny kids palette? I picked one up at Blick and the whole inside is too flimsy to get the crappy paint out with out distroying it.

  2. Reply

    Suzanne, the little kids palettes are from Richeson. I have always found them at Wet Paint (in St. Paul for you non-Twin Cities folks reading this).

    I’ve always just been able to stick the tip of a no. 11 (or is the thinner one a 16? I don’t have them in front of me) X-Acto blade tip in the side of the pan, right next to the cake of crappy color. I wedge it down and then flip the cake out. (I wear glasses when doing this because once a tip broke off—but I always wear glasses when I’m cutting so I was OK.)

    There seems to be a little bit of glue holding the cakes in, but they flip out easily in this way.

    And you might have seen the post I did where a very old one of these went through the wash by mistake! All my paint rinsed out of the pans because it isn’t air-water-tight, but the little palette is good to go.

    I’ve found the little plastic hinges last and last.

    Hope that helps.

  3. Reply

    Congratulations for your new shiny shiny palette!

    I have similar ones here on my flickr stream, one is the original Winsor&Newton Bijou Box, the other one, without branding, is also made by Fome, an Italian company, that also produces the other boxes you see on this picture. hen browsing my flickr stream you will see how I … customized my palettes to hold more pans since I came to distest the metal bars. Although these are supposed to hold the pans sometimes they just fell out, and, even more disturbung, they reduce the surface area of the pans where I load my brush. That is why I put the holders away and even broke the metal bars out and now my palettes take 15 half pans.

    Beware: Only half pans from Winsor&Newton, which are a tad bit smaller than other pans will fit then!

    I am very hapy with my palettes and can say that others, who followed my (brutal) example, did not regret.

    Last question: How are the pans held in place now? With stripes of Blu-Tack underneath, simple and efficient!

  4. Reply

    I want one. Do I need one? No.

  5. Reply

    Julie, First off I don’t have a link to see the boxes you write about, but you definitely have different boxes from the one I have because
    I do not use Winsor & Newton half pans and the pans I have fit in the box I have.

    I use bulk pans from Daniel Smith and they do not fit in a W&N box, but fit just great in my new little box.

    And I explain in my post that the Schmincke pans work great in this little box that I have as well.

    The little box I have has very solid pressure plates and I don’t think they are going to come out any time soon. I’m sure I’ll have long use out of it.

    And finally, what makes me think we’re talking about different things is that the pressure plates that hold the pans in in the Whiskey palette only cover the plastic pan edge, and do not take up any of the surface area of the paint. So loading my brush is no problem at all.

    I’m glad that you have found a way to modify the palettes you have that works for you.

    I’ve cut the metal base plates of my Schmincke square boxes so that they slide over and accommodate one more row of half pans (held in by pressure). Some might think that brutal too—but I think of it as just getting the most out of a palette, and it’s always great.

    I’m sure people would love to see your palettes if you put a link in the comments.

  6. Reply

    Melly, wants vs. needs is always the right question.

    For me, the ability to carry a smaller palette with half pans has a lot of appeal for the type of painting I do. So this was definitely a need for me.

    I can’t take the large square boxes I have from Schmincke in my pack every day, and even stand around with them all the time sketching as they are larger. Those boxes are definitely for special destinations. (A person without a shoulder history who also likes to sit when painting, can employ any number of lovely palettes that I have to walk by every day.)

    As I work to keep the pack as light as possible these “Whiskey Painter” palettes provide that slight increase in weight, but huge increase in amount of color, that make them ideal for how I paint.

    I didn’t think twice about buying this palette. For me it was a definite need.

    I think that whenever artists come across a new tool, however, we need to stop and think about the question of want vs. need. (And every human needs to walk with that question about everything in her or his life in general.) I think conscious choice must always be in the front of our minds.

    For some people this palette will be superflous and for others it will be the palette they use the rest of their lives.

    I’m glad you’re asking that question.

    And I’m really glad I needed this palette, because I just love it.

    • Zom
    • May 17, 2012

    Thank you for the review. I am planning a camping trip in the U.S. and a palette like this would be perfect.

  7. Reply

    The link got lost in html 😉 I meant this foto of my palettes: and further fotos.
    They do hold Schmincke pans if not accomodated the way I described it, but to fit 15 pans you have to use smaller ones like Winsor&Newton’s.
    Overall this is such a beautiful box and so much pleasure to hold and use it!!

  8. Reply

    Hey Roz, just wanted to share these travel palette with you too
    they are my favorites – I have 3 of the 4 sizes and they hold up really good and I’ve tried diferent size pans in them and they always work because you can bend the metal a little to make things work. Thanks for sharing the video -I always love your videos!

  9. Reply

    Sandi, those look like great boxes. I prefer square boxes because they are easier for me to work with when I’m standing up (it’s an idiosyncratic thing), but the small one in the picture you linked is very like a small rectangular Schmincke box I have and take out sometimes. It’s great to have as many sources as possible for these things because they tend to go out of production the day before you lose your favorite palette—and then what do you do?

    Thanks for sharing the link and writing in.

  10. Reply

    Julie, thanks for your link. It’s fun to see all your palettes together. I love having a small box like this, as you say, it is a pleasure to hold.

  11. Reply

    Zom, I think this little Whiskey Painters palette would be perfect for camping! I hope you have a great trip!

    • Cathy Inzer
    • May 23, 2012

    Roz, I ordered this palette from Wet Paint and couldn’t be happier. The enameling is extremely smooth and the box is very well made.
    Since it has space for 12 (with the addition of 4 in the middle) what 12 gouache paints would you recommend? I did go to your travel palette blog but out of the 16 paints what 12 would be the ones you would recommend? Thanks for your time!

  12. Reply

    Cathy, I’m so glad you have the palette and enjoy it. I would fill it with a cool and warm of each primary and work with those for a little bit and then I would add in extra colors as needed. Perhaps you need orange a lot, so you could add that secondary color in and have it instead of mixing it. Or you need an extra blue for skies or to mix greens.

    Whether or not you’re using gouache I would included a white in my initial grouping. You can read my thoughts on which white here

    How you fill out your box is really going to be a matter of how you need to stretch from the initial grouping of colors for what you want to paint. Ask questions about what types of colors you don’t seem to be able to mix from the cool and warm starting points—mix they way you want them to be. Then add a color that will help you do that and work with it for a couple weeks and see if it fills the gap.

    WIth this palette it’s particularly easy to swap out the “extra” colors and try a substitute. Read this post to get more of my thoughts on how personal it is to select your own palette

    I hope you have many years of fun exploring color with your new palette!

  13. Reply

    Cathy, one more link. You can find my 11 color gouache palette here

    My small watercolor palette has the same pigments just in watercolor. You can find the pigment numbers in Schmincke’s listings and then compare them to whatever brand of watercolor you are using to see what they have available for those pigments (go by the numbers not the names as names change between companies).

    And again, my set of colors might not be suitable for your style or eye at all.

    Oh, and I only use Daniel Smith or M.Graham watercolors as they are the only two brands of tube watercolors that I find rewet well. If you’re buying pre-made pans I can recommend Schmincke watercolors.

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