Writing these reviews is a bit like a public consumer confessional. But I look for help all the time from folks who kindly share what they know, and what they use. I hope this information is useful to you. It is a wonderfully connected time that we live in. This is a nice one product post, with a little something fun at the end. Here we go!
One palette to rule them all- the Robax Palette! Made by Robax Engineering in Florida, USA.
This might be the most insane thing that I’ve purchased. Not only because of its price, but the size and how much it holds. But the thing is brilliant! Here it is just after arrival, via FedEx Ground shipping.
It’s a magnificent thing, with 85 wells in the main palette with a large removable mixing area, the area under that can also be used for mixing. You can mix your butt off in this thing- seriously. A 41 well removable center insert is available, it’s like a flying saucer that can leave the mother ship on its own painting mission. That is 126 wells, it spins and is 15 inches in diameter. Well, well, well, surely the need for another palette should never come again!
I paint out of 8 or so different palettes, I keep them by brand, and sometimes have 3 open at a time, with not enough room for them all on my small work area. It’s true, I have a ridiculous amount of watercolor. Even though I usually use only use three or four colors per painting, I don’t like to stop and mix for the colors I want. It’s a hobby, I have a limited amount of time, and I don’t want to spend it mixing. I should also never buy another tube of paint ever again 😉 . Many people gain a lot of knowledge from mixing for colors, and enjoy it- I have absolute respect for this. I love seeing other people’s mixes when they are experimenting and swatching them.
Both the large main palette and the the removable 41 well palette come with their own lids, and those can also be used as mixing areas. So if the 41 well insert was inside of the main palette, the large palette lid would cover them both. Tons of mixing areas- the giant main lid, under the 41 well insert, and in that inserts lid, plus it came with a middle mixing insert. If you are into lots of mixing space and large mixing space- this thing’s got it.
With shipping, I paid $145 for the 85 well palette, the carousel that makes it spin, mixing insert, the 41 well insert and 100 pans. I let it sit around a while deciding if I was going to keep it. I let it sit around even longer to review it. It felt, and still feels extravagant, but also like a brilliant item.
On their site, there are downloadable swatch templates for the palette. I have some 90lb Arches full sheet watercolor paper to trim to size and print them out onto. I plan to cut this to fit into the underside of the lid, so that I can prop it up against the wall and use it as a guide. Even with this, I think things will still get confusing. In one of their example photos, someone used tiny labels to stick on the palette, I like that a lot. If I can find small labels like that, I would like to go that route. The removable pan liners can be purchased for it, or the well spots can be filled directly. It also fits standard half pans.
These pictures show how large the pan liners are in comparison to half and full pans. They hold more than a regular full pan. The black paint cake came from a prefilled half pan of Sennelier, it gets lost in the Robax pans. Takes a little bit of pushing to secure the pans into the spots, they are very snug in there. I will label the Robax pans with a Sharpie pen, once I fill them.
Now the question is, set it up by brand or by color? My anal retentive side wants to do it by brand, but attempt to somehow line up the colors. Like ring one- Daniel Smith, ring two Holbein, ring three M. Graham, or something like that. Honestly, this thing has intimidated the heck out of me, so it’s taking me a while to wrap my mind around filling it. Commitment issues- another reason why I got the pan liners, that way I can move them around if one sequencing idea doesn’t work out. I can also leave some blank spots for future changes/additions. I like that the middle 41 well part can be lifted out. I’m thinking of putting my most used colors in that, since it has its own lid and is portable.
This photo is from their site. The 85 well is the lower right palette. Look how huge the pan wells are on the other three palettes. Here is a link to Google images of some different examples of the various palettes and how people filled them.
The 85 well palette with mixing insert and lid is $48. Package with palette, set of four mixing inserts and carousel- $88. Package with palette, mixing insert, carousel and 100 well liners- $108. As far the carousel options go, there are 85, 64, 42, and 12 well options. Then there are non-carousel palettes, smaller options, and other inserts that can be used with the larger palettes or stand alone. You get the idea- lots of stuff, lots of options. Click here to check it all out. If you are into colored pencils, they also have pencil trays- scroll all the way down to the bottom for these.
The Robax is the palette pictured in Guest Doodlewasher Jane Davenport’s feature post.
To offer up a super cheap alternative idea- I submit these 90 cube mini ice trays for $6 on Amazon for consideration. Probably even less expensive at the dollar store. That’s 180 spots to put paint. No mixing area, no lid, and a tiny area to get a brush into. For a moment I thought about this option, but in the end I thought it would be tough to get a brush into, and that it would get confusing and frustrating- plus no lid. I have a Mission Gold palette that has small and close wells, and I don’t like that very much. Sometimes I have to count spaces to figure out what paint I’m using and using a larger brush is a problem.
Welcome to my living room. Here are before and after shots of my desk to try and give you an example of how much space the palette takes up. I had to rearrange some things and I’m right handed, so I put it on the right.
Now we come to the fun part. Let’s play a little game. The winner gets the prize package below- an ArtBin Sketch Pouch, ArtBin Slim Line watercolor travel palette with 18 pans to fill with your own paints, two full size tubes of Mission Gold watercolor in Green Gold and Permanent Red, a Cheap Joe’s Golden Fleece Synthetic Travel Round– Size 10, a Blackwing pencil, and an awesome sketchbook from Christine Bennett Design (@christinebennettdesign). Christine gifted me a few sketchbooks, they are too sweet not to share. Disclaimer- this is not a giveaway sponsored by, or associated with any of the product companies mentioned.
I spy with my little eye…in the second desk photo, on the desk there is a small non-distinct glass jar with a black lid, no label on it or anything. What liquid is in that jar? The first person to guess correctly in the comments, wins the prize. To get a better look, the picture should enlarge if you click on it. A clue- I mentioned this liquid in my last post, look to the left on the desk. I will make a comment when there is a winner, so you know once someone won. There is a winner- the liquid in the jar is household bleach. See comments below, if you are curious.
Supply posts are every other Saturday. Thank you very much for following my supply adventures. You and your artistic expression are an important gift to all of us. Thank you for enriching my world with what you share. I wish you joy, growth, enthusiasm, and fulfillment in your artistic journey.
I can be found on Instagram- @jessicaseacrest, where all my creative outlets are entertained, and sometimes telling signs of what will be reviewed next can be found.
All previous review posts can be found under “Reviews” on the menu or click here. Doodlewash has a Facebook group called World Watercolor Group. Huge variety of folks from all over, and a wide variety of painting styles and skill levels. The group is large and growing every day! We have a lot of fun over there, and there are many kind and helpful people in the group. There are also monthly themed daily painting prompts for those interested. If you haven’t already, please join in and share your watercolor creations!
Hi I’m the Doodlewash Supply Blogger and offer reviews of various types of art supplies, watercolors, and helpful tips. I approach artistic expression with a light-hearted point of view. I love to see, and support others opening up to, and embracing their creative process with any medium or creative expression. Follow me on Instagram!