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New Watercolor Palette!

2018-03-23

I've been sketching so much outside lately that I needed a new watercolor palette. I'm very excited about this one since it has a few new features for me.

Schmincke Horadam Aquarell Empty Pan Paint Set for 12 Full-Pans or 24 Half-Pans and my paint layout.





Years ago, when I primarily painted outside while traveling around to art shows, I used a full studio palette, built by my husband. It had small Nalgenes for individual paint containers so it never leaked. However, because it was a prototype, it was wood and relatively heavy. Awesomely rugged palette, but not really built for backpacking in.

I've been using the Winsor and Newton little Cotman pocket palette for about 10 years. It's ideal for backpacking. It does leak since I only use tube paints, but that is easily manageable by having a plastic case to hold it, which fits brushes too. Also, I always leave it open to dry a little since M. Graham pigments rewet beautifully.

Disclaimer: Jennifer Branch Gallery is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertisting fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. I receive a small rebate for your entire order (starting at 4%) if you choose to purchase through Amazon. Most items can be bought multiple places and I highly recommend local art stores if you have one! Any other recomendation links I receive no compensation for.
These referrals help me support this website, and I thank you for any purchase you make through them. I will never recommend a product I have not used frequently and believe is the best tool for the purpose!

I still highly recommend Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colour Sketchers Pocket Box as the perfect starter or backpacking palette. I've given one to just about every friend or family member I have who even vaguely mentioned they might want to try painting. It's inexpensive and sturdy. Mine has lasted 10 years of pretty hard use. Not bad for a $10 investment!





I usually bring at least a journal and a watercolor block. That way, I can alternate while the other is drying since I like doing about 3 washes on each sketch.

This trip, I was particularly inspired by the palmetto palms - as usual. The wonderful shadows, basketweave effect on the trunks, and the bright light patches broken up by the fronds make for fantastic sketching.

In my studio, I usually reserve whites with a combination of wax crayon and masking. Plein aire, I don't use masking since it takes too long and gets too messy. Instead, I use wax and some marvelous water-soluble wax pastel crayons by Caran d'Ache. I have white pastels to mimic the white paper and a light gold to give golden highlights. They're a bit tempting to over use, but since they are water-soluble, over-enthusiasm can be dimmed, at least!

Disclaimer: Jennifer Branch Gallery is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. I receive a small rebate for your entire order (starting at 4%) if you choose to purchase through Amazon. Most items can be bought multiple places and I highly recommend local art stores if you have one! Any other recommendation links I receive no compensation for.
These referrals help me support this website, and I thank you for any purchase you make through them. I will never recommend a product I have not used frequently and believe is the best tool for the purpose!

I camped with my 2 boys this trip. I usually like camping since I'm staying in the middle of what I'm painting. Three of these sketches were done next to my tent, so I didn't even have to go anywhere. That makes for a very productive week!

I rarely travel somewhere I don't want to be outside during the day, so camping is perfect. Plus, s'mores!

Staying next to the scenery is one of the biggest luxuries an artist can have.

Besides being easy to start painting, you see your subjects in several different lights. By the end of the week, you have a much better idea of how you want to present them.

Marsh Sketch

I was really concentrating on the water in this sketch. This sketch is more about learning how to paint that muddy water / sky reflections effect than a pretty sketch.

Sometimes I'll paint to remember a gorgeous scene. Other times, I'm just learning how to paint one aspect of the scene and composition and pretty goes out the window.

I can't tell you how many times I've sketched salt marshes and how many times I've tried to get the water movement, mud churning, sky reflections where it really looked alive. Each time I come a little closer, but it's a huge challenge - and great fun!

Palmettos Sketch in my journal

This was my last sketch of the trip. It started out great, but was finished in a big hurry when my bug spray wore off and the gnats attacked!










I'm always in search of the perfect art supplies. I love trying new things to hopefully improve my painting.

I think sketching is always the place to experiment with new tools and materials, as well as take chances with the actual painting. Sometimes, you'll absolutely love the new - and sometimes you'll hate it. But there is no way to improve without experimenting like crazy!

I hope showing you my sketching palette layout gave you some ideas on how to lay out your own sketching palette. Your watercolor paint choices will be different than mine, of course. Every artist has paints that speak to them - and those they hate working with.

Go with your instincts, but don't be afraid to experiment!

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About Jennifer Branch


Disclaimer: Jennifer Branch Gallery is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Most items can be bought multiple places. PaintingWatercolor.com is supported by affiliate and advertising links.

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