I got to the last few pages of the small sketchbook I carry in my purse, and being frugal 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?” But ‘palette’ has two meanings, so it is a two-pronged question.
1: What ‘paint holder‘ do you use?
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 old palette is cherished.
2: What specific paint colors do you use?
The colors I use 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:
2 Blues (Payne’s Gray and French Ultramarine)
2 Reds (Light Red and Alizarin Crimson)
2 Yellows (Lemon Yellow and Raw Sienna)
and Burnt Umber.
I added Burnt Sienna too. All Winsor & Newton Professional Series.
I had been thinking a lot about my brother David who in 2014 had been struggling with his final weeks of cancer (he died Thanksgiving Eve, at 63 years of age.) He was a music enthusiast his whole life, with eclectic passions for artists including The Who, George Gershwin, Neil Young, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and 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 had used his encircled thumb and index finger to show his staccato approval of a perfectly phrased piece of music.
Thank God for my niece Anne who made a wonderful CD compilation of her dad’s favorite music, and sent a special copy to me. God bless Anne, and David’s wife Deirdre, and their 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.