Part one discussed the many plastic palettes on offer, indeed many were omitted, but suffice to say a huge range costs from as little as 50p upwards to near £30 ($42), the majority under £20 ($28). They are freely available from art shops and the large mail order specialists. I also covered the cheaper empty metal palettes, again freely available via mail order, with the largest and dearest upwards of £30 ($42). What you pick is a matter of personal choice depending upon cost and how you paint. Obviously large flat or round brushes and large washes call for a large pallette, or deep enamel pans of various sorts.Plein air painting needs a smaller more convenient palette, although Mel Stabin uses his John Pike palette for all his painting, including plein air. See his setup in his Watson Guptill book `Watercolor, Simple, Fast and Focussed'.
Of these sorts my preference is the John Pike for studio work, although I use my Craig Young Paintbox and even the Sketcher's box, for virtually all my paintings, studio or plein air. I also like the Zoltan Szabo palette, albeit it is flimsy being vacuum formed. Other than that I would opt for a large empty metal box and fill it with half and full pans.
My Craig Young Palettes. Two in British Racing Green the other brass.
The same palettes open. The Palette Box is yet to be christened.
Craig Young palettes are very expensive. That is a given so either many artists cannot afford to pay so much or prefer to have a cheaper option. I don't disagree with that as buying them is something of an indulgence, although many top professional artists have one or other and many serious amateurs. Charles Reid, who previously used a Holbein now has at least four from Craig Young and personally requested he make the Sketcher's box. Judi Whitton has a Sketcher's Box with 20 wells instead of sixteen and I have a small four well extension to clip onto mine. Craig is open to special requests.
The discussion about Craig's boxes on Wetcanvas tilted towards buying one or other of the better quality `heavy duty' boxes, used by Winsor and Newton, complete with either half or full pans of paint. These boxes come at a high price, especially if you already have most of the colours. They are a great Xmas or birthday present! The question was asked were they available empty and soon information was flowing from posters giving the options. Some `professional' boxes are listed by the suppliers highlighted in Part one but tend to be isolated examples. What are the alternatives? There are two main ones, either from Holbein or made by the Italian metal working specialists Fome www.fome.it/.
In the UK Heaton Cooper http://www.heatoncooper.co.uk/ list 12 empty metal palettes, four from Holbein (250/350/500/1000) and four from an unidentified manufacturer (possibly Fome) that are `hand enamelled'. The remaining four are logo'd Scminke and are the lightweight sort. They are all very well illustrated on the website with plenty of information. Prices of the hand-enamelled models range from £18.45 (approx. $26) to £54.95 (approx.$75) with three having 12 half pan wells and one full pans. Heaton Cooper tend to be expensive and charge carriage extra. The other source is Jacksons http://www.jacksonsart.co.uk/ who have just added Holbein to their range, so new that they are not in the most recent catalogue. Search the website for `holbein palettes'. Prices are cheaper than Heaton Cooper and no carriage charges are applied if your total order exceeds £39 UK or £100 Europe. Other destinations ring for a quote. There may well be other sources but these are the only ones I know about as things stand. If further information comes to hand I'll post it.
In the USA one source of a heavy duty palette has been identified as Natural Pigments www.naturalpigments.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_id=624-2096. This is a heavy duty box with 12 wells that sells at $57. According to Robert Armas, who has ordered one and is waiting delivery (delayed), the name Rublev, which appears on many of the products on the site, is involved and he suspects it could be Russian in origin rather then the Italian Fome. Actually it is listed as a Fome. I have not looked at any of the other major USA mail order specialists yet but I'd be surprised if names like Dick Blick, Jerry's, Cheap Joe's and Art Express had nothing similar to offer.
A final word. Look at this website http://www.greenandstone.com/. This old company are in Chelsea, London and sell, amongst other things, antique palettes. I'm not suggesting you buy one but have a look if you are interested . Not a Binning Munro nor a Roberson in sight however!