Lighten up!

Though I work outdoors using a portable set of watercolors all the time, I realize that many people work almost exclusively indoors from photographs and a much larger set up. People often ask me how to get started working outside. Figuring out how to lighten the load is key; and once done, it opens all sorts of great possibilities for painting.

Sunset-Rocks, Maine

Immersed in drawing the tide pools of Maine’s rocky coast.

In preparation for my upcoming workshop, Arts and Birding, in Maine, I have been making a few small watercolor boxes for people to try. Here are a variety I’ve put together or revamped using standard half and full pans:
watercolor boxes
Clockwise from left:
Windsor and Newton Cotman box, small mint tins in various stages of transformation (inside spray painted white and outside spray painted red), Prang watercolor tin revamped with full and half pans (this is my current box).

Do it yourself:
I ordered the plastic pans online for about .69 cents.They’re held in place with Scotch restickable strips for mounting. Figure about $10 to configure a box of 12, plus paint. I use Windsor and Newton and Daniel Smith tube paints to fill them. To really travel light, I bring just a waterproof pen, a waterbrush, and a couple of paper towels or a bandana to clean the tray and wipe the brush between colors.

Let’s go!

11 Comments on “Lighten up!

  1. Next year would you post your workshops, especially the Maine one, ahead of time so perhaps some of us could sign up? Sad I missed it~ it’s a long trip but I would have just loved to join you!

    • Hi Sharon- Sorry you missed it. I have had it posted in the Workshops section of my site since last fall. I’ll update it with new dates for next year as soon as they are confirmed.

    • As long as you have a base, you can always leave things behind and pack what you want for day trips. I like options, but sometimes I’m more productive without too many choices.

  2. Great to see the kits completed Jean. Can’t wait to build one myself!

    • It was fun to make them and I suspect there will be folks at Hog Is who haven’t tried watercolor who might want to give them a try.

  3. A wonderful post with lots of ideas.
    And once again I am drooling over your workshop and wishing I could be there. Maybe that ‘someday’ will really happen. I think I will join you in spirit and go sketching on your days.

    • What a great idea Teri! Imagine if we gave ourselves that license more often!? Take some hikes, watch birds, sketch, paint, and eat good food. (It would be great if you could attend the workshop– I’ll post next year’s dates when they are firm.)

  4. Thank you for showing us your art supplies and the tip of watercolor set DIY. Your artworks are awesome!

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