Back in Stavanger…. busy busy busy

Well it’s the second last day of my 30 day sketch challenge and inspired by the wonderful Arches paper I used yesterday (and I’m totally converted to it) I got hold of a smaller block (10 x 25 cm) of finer paper: for the technically minded Cold pressed 300 g/m2 – 140lb.

I thought it couldn’t get any better than the rough paper I used yesterday but this is something else! Again, it’s a block and is secured around all four sides and this limits (but doesn’t fully remove) buckling when wet. I laid down a wash and there was a slight surface change but nothing too distressing. I had started this sketch using a Khadi papers block but it buckled so badly I abandoned the sketch. Disappointing really, I had high hopes for that paper, it looks like it can handle wet medium… never mind! Another lesson learned.

Last night I took a very quick stroll with Tanzie the labradoodle and it was a beautiful evening, the sun wasn’t quite at the horizon but was peeking out behind the trees and the sky was a lovely peach colour. I reached for my iPhone and took a photo, like most of my iPhone photos it was virtually useless to me but it had the basic composition so I got to work. I wet the Arches paper and laid some cadmium orange and Naples yellow on it, I was painting with my original Schmincke tin because it has a few extra colours I fancied using (Cadmium orange for example) as I got to the horizon I added a small amount of carmine and then cerulean blue in the foreground.

As you can see there was only a tiny amount of buckled surface so I played ball with Tanzie, got a refill on my tea and then it was dry enough to add more paint. I’d give a little word of caution to those of us who are used to the Moleskine watercolour sketchbook, although I can’t deny the Arches paper is in a different class, the Arches paper takes a little longer to dry but to my untrained eye looks ready for the next layer and I’ve had a few ‘wet-into-wet’ surprises.

Using cerulean blue, quinacridone gold, caput mortuum, neutral tint and touches of burnt umber I made a variety of greens and formed a wet into wet row of trees and allowed some of the peachy sky to peek through.

I was starting to feel good about the wet into wet treeline and the way the colours in the trees and sky complimented each other. I had to wait impatiently to get my next wash down, it’s a good job tanzie was curled up at my feet with her tennis ball in her mouth ready to pass a bit of time playing catch.

Once the paper had dried I added darker washes of wet into wet, lots of cerulean blue and burnt sienna an a colour I had never thought of using a month ago… neutral tint!

Why I love my Schmincke Horadam Watercolour travel set


In the interest of fairness I must mention that I have not tried out every other brand of watercolour available although I’ve used Sennelier, Rembrandt, Old Holland, Daniel Smith, W&N Artists and W&N Cotman paints. They are all really good quality but the main reason I like the Schmincke Horadam paint is the colours are strongly pigmented, not grainy and I can top a pan up from a tube and it will dry relatively rapidly and not run in the tin as I transport it (which isn’t the case for my sennelier paint 🙁 .. )also, some paints I’ve had in tubes have lots of gum arabic coming out before there’s any sign of colour….

For outdoor sketching I really needed something compact and light. I’d already got a tin made by Schmincke and loved the paint quality but found the tin really too heavy and not quite small enough to consider popping into a pocket, this was because there was a porcelain palette inside. It’s a great tin and I’ve squeezed six extra colours out into the spaces the tin provided but I needed to rethink this. 

For years I’d got a Winsor and Newton Cotman box, It’s perfect in terms of size and weight and although I’m definitely no connoisseur I found the paint quality a bit grainy although I couldn’t fault it in any other way and it was excellent value and did the job for me on more than one occasion. I still needed to rethink it….

I browsed, as I often do, the Jacksons Art supplies website and found a possible answer to my needs.. and boy did it fulfils the job!

Okay so here it is, It comes with 8 colours and I squeezed in another row of four to bring it up to twelve colours. The original eight were: Lemon yellow, Cadmium Red Light, Permanent Carmine, Ultramarine Finest, Prussian Blue, Permanent Green Olive, Yellow Ochre and Warm Sepia. I added Naples Yellow, Caput Mortuum, Neutral Tint and Cobalt Blue. Schmincke also provide a cards made from watercolour paper, split into boxes to record the colours you are using to make resupply easier.

The whole thing, when closed measures a minuscule 8 x 6 cm!! Smaller than the palm of my hand and I didn’t have a problem with the weight, not that I checked it but I seriously doubt they could produce it any lighter unless they made it from plastic? The lid has two sections and is shallow enough to get a bulldog clip around and this allows it to be fixed to a sketchbook and frees up a hand when working.

There is also a finger ring on the base of the tin but I haven’t used it yet.



As you can see it clips onto a sketchbook easily (the one pictured is the Moleskine Watercolour sketchbook).

So, if you want good quality paint, in a great little portable tin…. go for this one! I’d recommend topping it up with some colours of your personal choice and if you can’t cope working from two small mixing areas you may need to pack a lightweight palette. I thought I’d need to but this never happened…. adapt and overcome!! Love this little paint tin 🙂