Keep it simple

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.


About Bobbie Herron

I live surrounded by watercolor brushes and paints, fountain pens, sketchbooks, and journals- often wanting more than anything to write and paint at the same time. If you like what you're reading, feel free to share it with others. If you see something that needs correction, please let me know. Thanks for visiting!
This entry was posted in Musings on Life, My Story, Watercolor and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses 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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