Palette Tour: Travel Palettes (Part 1: Discovery )

Palette Tour: Travel Palettes (Part 1: Discovery )

Palette Tour: Travel Palettes (Part 1: Discovery )

Why yes, I do name my watercolour palettes! And yes, my travel palettes are named after space shuttles.   In the next couple of palette tour posts I'll give you a peak into my travel palettes.

Discovery Discovery Travel Palette:  A Bijou box from filled with an assortment of  "extra" paints

The first travel palette I'd like to introduce you to is Discovery.  My Discovery palette is a small, bijou-style box from Cornellison's.

I mentioned this palette box in my gift guide post a couple months ago.  I love this little palette because it is very small but packs a large punch.  Despite it's small size, it holds 12 half pans from any brand.

The "from any brand" feature is important.  Previously I was using the ubiquitous plastic Cotman watercolour palette. The Cotman palette is functional, but only holds Winsor Newton half pans.  Winsor Newton pans are slightly smaller and have a different shape than others. As a result I couldn't fit many of the pans I had from other brands.

My Discovery palette box fits and securely holds any brand of half pans.  The pans are held in place using v-shaped metal inserts.

Discovery Palette Painting Watercolour sketch of my Discovery Palette with current paint list

I filled my Discovery palette with an assortment of "extra" paints that don't have a home in my studio palettes.  These are in all different kinds of half pans.

I bought some of these paints from handmade paintmakers just for fun.  Others are beautiful paints that don't have great lightfastness ratings.  I don't use non-lightfast pigments in my finished paintings.  They are no problem for sketchbooks!  Some are pigments that I have multiple versions of from different brands. A few of these paints are relics from a Winsor Newton palette I bought years ago.  These are pigments and mixes which I never reached for and removed from my studio palette.

I won't post links to the specific paints in this set.  This collection will cycle between paints frequently.  I do not have a particular attachment to many of these paints.

\Belgian Nursery Cactus Festival Urban Sketch Urban Sketch of Belgian Nursery Cactus Festival - Created using only paints from my Discovery Palette.n the studio I am often very focused on creating precise colour mixes, and depend heavily on extensive glazing of transparent pigments, I use my travel palettes as a way to explore and play with pigments and mixes that aren't what I would usually reach for, and to quickly add colour to urban sketches and field studies.[/caption]

In the studio, I work in lots of layers using transparent glazes.  In my sketchbooks, however, I love watching granulation and bleed effects happen on the page. When I sketch, I work in fewer, less precise layers to quickly capture larger scenes.

Many paints are frustrating in the studio but perfect for sketching with.   In the studio, I find limited uses for heavily granulating Manganese Blue and Hematite, or sparkly amethyst.  However, when I am sketching I am less concerned with achieving a specific controlled look.  When sketching, I am delighted by green leaves with textured teal spots on them, or shadows that sparkle.

Using a constantly changing selection of paints, each with unique and surprising behaviours, also helps me.  By using unusual materials, I stretch out of my comfort zone and grow as an artist.

I painted the sketch on the left during an urban sketchers outing.  I used only colours included in my Discovery palette.  It was very tempting to bring other paints to capture the subtle texture of the cacti.  However, by experimenting and getting created, I was to create varied and interesting yet realistic greens using the unfamiliar pigments.  I am very proud of my result!

Of course, I can't resist painting out colour charts and swatches whenever the opportunity arises.  I painted the colour chart below using the 12 colours currently in my discovery palette.

I  have almost used up a couple of the paints in this palette!  Once I've used up the last of the paint, I will paint another colour chart!Discovery001

Back to blog