paint containers

Porcelain Paint Pots

For Chinese-style painting, porcelain is the best material for mixing and storing your paints. It’s white, so you get an accurate preview of your color or shade of grey, and it’s non-porous, so it won’t stain and is easy to clean.

I’ve tried many different shapes and sizes. Most I’ve picked up at second hand stores, which is why I seldom end up with very many alike. What I look for is something deep enough so I can add a lot of water and mix enough for large washes or use on multiple paintings (I usually have many more than one going at the same time). I like them to have somewhat high sides so I can wipe excess moisture from my brush. I also want them stackable, so I can save any unused paint for another day. But, at the same time, I don’t want them to be too tightly sealed when stacked because this might encourage the growth of mold.

The container on the left of the featured image is an ashtray—a much better purpose for it than originally intended. I like it because it has slots in the sides which are convenient for wiping the brush or for resting it on the lip of the container without having it roll away. They stack well, but I wasn’t able to find enough of them at the time to meet my needs—which accounts for the other shapes.

The lidded container on the right is a traditional dish available in any Chinese art supply store. Although they stack well with a lid for the top layer, they’re too small to hold much paint or water. And they’re usually overpriced for what you get. 

Many Chinese artists just use an assortment of porcelain plates and bowls in different sizes. But, since I don’t have much space on my desktop, I’ll keep looking for the perfect stackable pots.

Let me know what you use.

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I welcome your comments, questions, or suggestions.