‘Tis A Gift to… keep it simple

I got to the last few pages of the small sketchbook I carry in my purse, and being frugal (or cheap) I could not just “call it done.” A beautiful autumn day, time to spare, and no sense of direction led me to a well-hidden wetland/swamp behind the local shopping mall.

Watercolorists are frequently asked, “What palette do your use?” This is really a two-part question:

1: what ‘paint holder’

Although I seem to collect both holders and colors, I keep the smallest and simplest of each in my daily handbag. The palette (as you see below) is a child’s eight-well version, holding merely a dot of each color. Being a connoisseur of plastics as well, I am sad to say they just don’t make kid’s art supplies the way they used to. This palette, held together with duct tape, is cherished.


2: what specific paint colors/brands

The colors are the basic 7 used by Ron Ranson, a famous British painter who has inspired me for years. I added one to his set to complete my collection. ‘Ranson’s Seven’ are:  Blues (Payne’s Gray and French Ultramarine), Reds (Light Red and Alizarin Crimson), Yellows (Lemon Yellow and Raw Sienna), and Burnt Umber. I added Burnt Sienna too. All Winsor & Newton Professional Series.


The ‘back story’ for the day itself was that I was thinking about my brother David who was struggling with his final weeks of cancer this time in 2014 (He died Thanksgiving Eve, at a mere 63 years of age.) He was a music enthusiast his whole life, with eclectic passions for The Who, George Gershwin, Neil Young, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and so many more. So this particular afternoon, by the time I parked and settled in, I had Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue playing on the car stereo. As I put the finishing touches on the little painting, I found myself ‘punctuating’ the foliage to the jazzy beat of the music, just like David would use his encircled thumb and index finger to show his staccato approval of a perfectly phrased piece of music. Thank God for his daughter Anne who made this wonderful CD compilation for me. God bless Anne, and his wife Deirdre, and his other daughter Emily who each did their best to love a man who was often quite unlovable. If there is reincarnation, Dave deserves a do-over. In everything except musical taste. He got that one down perfect.


About Bobbie Herron

I sit here in my loft studio, surrounded by watercolor brushes and paints, fountain pens, sketchbooks, journals- wanting more than anything to write and paint at the same time. I am the fourth generation of journal-keeping women, starting in 1862, and I have read their words and between their lines. This blog was inevitable: thoughts on the unsung glory of women whose lives were recorded and transformed through their writing and art.
This entry was posted in Pen and Ink, Sketchbooks, Uncategorized, Watercolor. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to ‘Tis A Gift to… keep it simple

  1. Jean Haley says:



  2. Marty Greene says:

    time goes quickly so I am glad you are capturing these slices of time from your life and sharing them with us. it helps me remember things from my life that I might not have given weight to

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Maggie Butler says:

    What a lovely tribute, Bobbie! And a fascinating insight into the way you produce beauty from your simple tools! More! More!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dana says:

    Such beauty you’ve captured, in your sketchbook and the love for your brother. You are a dear!

    and, btw… I have one of those tiny palettes. A newer version. Once I score some Payne’s Grey I’ll fill it with your Ranson’s seven … or Bobbie’s eight!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mi Paynes Grey su Paynes Grey 🙂 I’ll happily give ya a squeeze!


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