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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 […]


Minnesota State Fair Prep—Part 4: “Travel” Essentials for Sketchers



Above: This photo from a talk I gave about sketching at the Minnesota State Fair, shows MORE stuff than what you'll actually need. Read below for the break down. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

This is part four of the Minnesota State Fair Prep Series, started August 12, 2009.

What you carry with you when you go to the Minnesota State Fair can either help or hinder your fun. The goal is to travel as light as possible. Since I go primarily to sketch animals I have sketching tools and paper to deal with (more on these items in a minute). But there are other essentials that will ensure you have a good trip to the Fair.


Aqua Brique from Cretacolor

Left: Painting of a pelican made using using Cretacolor Aqua Briques on gesso-coated paper. This image is cropped from an 11 x 14 inch image. As often happens with my paintings I don't like the full image. I'm interested in something closer. The height here is about 11 inches. I prepared watercolor paper with two coats of gesso, allowing my brush strokes to show (this creates interesting texture when paint is applied later) and then sketched (with light graphite) a pelican taxidermy specimen that was hanging from the ceiling of the Mississippi Wildlife Refuge building. (That's not really fun for the neck.) Color was added with strokes of the Aqua Briques which were blended with a large synthetic watercolor brush and water and sometime my thumb (see yellow portion at top left of bird's head). Click the image to view an enlargement.

In the summer of 2006 I picked up a 10-color can of a new product: Cretacolor Aqua Briques. I enjoy experimentation, especially when I can report back to students and friends and maybe help them find a tool they can really enjoy. But I am also always looking for a way to get the texture I want in  my paintings.

For several years I wrote product reviews on a Yahoo list that I had for friends and past students. I stopped keeping this list when I started blogging in 2008. Since that time a number of new students in my classes, as well as readers of my blog, have asked me about Aqua Briques.

This interest and the fact that there many artists who like to draw and paint led me to think readers of this blog would enjoy hearing about my field tests of a tool that functions both ways. What follows is a revised version of my original review.

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