Left: Sketch of Martin Shaw, the actor who plays "George Gently." True to most of my 2014 Hiatus posts, this image has absolutely nothing to do with today's topic. I just like it and wanted to put it up. I used a Pentel Colorbrush with it's watersoluble dye-based ink (though I didn't use any water) on yellow Fabriano Tiziano. I just really enjoyed moving the brush tip around on this paper to capture the contours. Oh, I'm through with all the currently available episodes again, and hoping there's another season—but at least there wasn't a horrific cliffhanger. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
I get asked about cleaning my watercolor (or gouache) palette all the time. And people are genuinely horrified when they see the abandon with which I grab colors and mix them and dive into pristine pans of color with paint on my brush.
Oh, well. I suppose I should wear a shirt that says, "Look Away."
As I entered the second year of my blog I wrote "Journaling Superstitions #11: You Must Keep Your Watercolor Palette Clean," on November 2, 2009.
If you are struggling to keep your watercolor (or gouache) pans looking like the day you put them in place in the palette, you might want to go and read that post.
I give you tips there on cleaning your pans if that's really important to you.
If you're keeping your palette clean but still doing a lot of painting that's great. Just don't get hung up on this "issue." It's OK for things to get messy. Creativity is messy. It's a good thing. You haven't broken anything. The main thing is to find your own balance, that point at which your "rituals" support greater production. Have fun.