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The pan holder base that is removeable from the box. Notice that there is more space from the edge of one of the holders to the edge of the base than on the left. By sawing off the edge on the left I increased the distance on the right, allowing me to friction fit additional pans in that channel when the base was positioned in the box. The pans were held between the edge of the metal strip and the box edge on the left (when the base was in place). Because of the rounded corners in the box this allowed 5 additional pans to fit. So three rows of seven half pans and one row of five half pans mean I could fit 26 half pans into this box.

Fitting More Pans in a Square Metal Palette from Schmincke

As the Minnesota State Fair approaches of course I’ve been testing pigments and making choices on what gear I’ll be taking to the Fair for sketching. Today I’m posting about adapting my favorite metal palette box to contain more pans of paint—because sometimes you need more pans. I’ve been a fan of the Schmincke metal […]


Great Low-Cost Paint Palettes for Watercolor and Gouache

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Pans vs. Tubes? Part Two

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Pans vs. Tubes? Part One

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More on Schmincke Pan Watercolors


Above: Another "chart" I made when testing Schmincke pan watercolors in December 2007. I'm mixing new selections with colors already on my palette. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

I thought it might be helpful for people to see the other types of tests I put watercolors through when making a selection for my palette, so I have included in this post two additional "charts." I put charts in quotation marks because I am not trying to make a formal, tidy, structured chart for the most part when I do these tests, I'm just interested in blending colors together and seeing what happens. A lot of artists I know take a much more orderly approach to these types of tests and put them into columns and boxes and apply a lot of order. While I love order probably more than the next person I'm happy to just get in there and mix. I think each artist has to do what is most useful to him. (My colored pencil charts are extremely orderly!)


Project 640 Tubes: Selecting a Gouache Palette



Above: Chicken (sketch is Ziller Glossy Black Ink with dip pen on background painted with Indian Yellow FW Acrylic Ink; gouache)

This post is part two in the series: Project 640 Tubes

Readers will recall that I promised to suggest colors for a gouache palette when I started Project 640 Tubes.

(Note that for purposes of this discussion by "color" I mean the pigment in the paint, which I might refer interchangeably to by pigment number or by tube name because it's clear I'm discussing a particular brand. If you elect to buy a different brand of gouache than what I recommend you need to make sure you're getting the right pigment. The name on the tube can be the same across brands, but what the companies put in the tube in terms of pigments can be very different indeed. I recommend you only buy Schmincke and M. Graham Gouache, read the first Project 640 Tubes post for why.)

Insomnia: It Can Be Productive


Sometimes you just can't sleep. Maybe you did something you regret, maybe you were a bully as a child, or an avenging angel—you still get bad karma, that's what makes this a wonderful and complex world. Or maybe it's as simple as eating 4 freshly baked chocolate chip cookies right at bedtime. There are a million reasons you might not be sleeping, but that doesn't mean you can't do something fun and exhilarating, hey, you aren't sleeping anyway.

My Travel Palette

Travel Palettes for Watercolor and Gouache


I like to paint out in the field and around town. To do this I like to carry my paints with me at all times. I also like to travel light. The above photo shows a selection of travel palettes with which I work.

The two smallest palettes in the center of the image are kid's palettes (note the U.S. Quarter positioned next to the palettes for size comparison). The one on the left contains watercolors, the one on the right contains gouache. I take out the pellets of kid paint and use my own favorite brands of paint. I had a shoulder problem several years ago and even my other travel palettes were too much for me to hold at the same time I paint (I typically stand and hold journal and paints in one hand and work with the other). These small palettes are filled with 11 colors each. Because they are so small they are in my fanny pack at all times. I can paint with watercolor or gouache depending on my mood.

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