Dress Rehearsal for Highlands Travel

T-minus two weeks and counting. Time to get serious about the sketching kit I will take along. Seriously playful, that is.


For the fun of it, I decided to have a try at practicing the style of watercolor I did years ago, no ink, no drawing, just painting.  For inspiration I looked through an issue of  “the artist “(subtitled “the practical magazine for artists by artists since 1931”).
the artist magazine Summer 2016

It is a UK publication  (click here for subscription info)  and I love everything I read in it. Even the articles about using oil paint, pastels, or other media have nuggets of wisdom on every page. I’m currently reading an issue from Summer 2016 and studying an article written by John Somerscales. This shot is of the article and the preliminary stage of my little painting-  hopefully it will get better without getting overworked.

the artist magazine 1st wash

Palette Quandary Resolved!

As I worked along, I realized I had finally solved the problem I’d had with the metal 18-color palette shown here. I love this little palette, but in the past I never felt like I had quite enough room to mix and test out the colors I was creating, or to mix a pool of color for a large wash like a sky. I didn’t want to have to carry a bigger palette either. Voila! A cheap add-on of a small plastic mixing tray (shown above) and problem solved. Rubber-banded together it travels easily in my little kit.

Can Choosing The Paper Size Be As Simple?

My writing journal for the trip is 6″ x 8″, and already contains notes about the itinerary, points of interest, and historical tidbits. I will use it daily on the trip as well, filling it with stories, doodles, and gluing in a ticket or token here and there. The paper is heavy enough for writing, dry sketching, and adding a tiny bit of watercolor, but only if I am very careful to not flood the paper enough to make it buckle or weep through to the next page. Because of that one drawback, I wanted to carry watercolor paper as well, but I didn’t want to have an entire second sketchbook going either. What to do?

Problem Solved

I have kept a journal/datebook from as far back as I can recall, and recently I have begun recycling the covers. At the end of each year as a ritual I suppose, I reread my journal, ripping out and saving the pages that contain memorable passages or insights, then I usually throw out the rest of the journal. But this book was different. From 2007, I just loved the cover too much, and the elastic closure. So I ripped out the guts, thinking, “This will come in handy for something someday.”  Someday was 11 years later.

5x7 wc paper holder 1

Closed folder that was a datebook eleven years ago.

Inside this small 5″x 7″ folder, I now have individual loose sheets of various brands of watercolor paper: Arches 140#, handmade Indian paper, and Strathmore postcards.

All I have to do is pull out the paper I feel like using each day, close up the elastic so the rest of the sheets are secure, and use white putty/Blu-Tack on the back to hold the piece of watercolor paper in place. Works like a charm! And it also rubber-bands perfectly to the slightly larger writing journal I have started.

So this is where I ended up. A bit overworked, but that’s okay. It felt so good to be able to enjoy every minute, no fighting with my tools at all.

the artist magazine final closeup

So, are you running for your sketchbook yet? Onward!




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 1- Nuts: Graphic Styles, Travel Adventures, Urban Sketching (On-Site Creativity), Watercolor. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Dress Rehearsal for Highlands Travel

  1. Maggie Butler says:

    At heart you are also an inventor!!!


  2. Melanie Fisk says:

    You never cease to amaze me!


  3. Kerry Bird says:

    Bobbie, your art always draws me into the scene ! I hope you have a safe and pleasant adventure.


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