My Little Palette

My Little Palette by Charlie O'Shields

Guest Doodlewasher, Carol Jurcsak, asked me if I would sketch and share my current palette. Since this tiny little stainless steel box I use has become one of my favorite things in the world (after Philippe and Phineas of course!), I figured it definitely deserved to be doodlewashed and have a place in my Cabinet of Curiosities.

This travel palette was part of my Cheap Joe’s travel watercolor set which now also holds my new Escoda Versatil travel brushes, Moleskine, Platinum Carbon Fountain Pen and Micron Pens (now 2 sepia instead of 3 black), tube of Titanium White Gouache, and light-weight metal mixing palette (I didn’t like the way water beads up on plastic palettes and this one works great!). That’s my entire Doodlewash Studio and it all fits in a little bag that’s just 6 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ x 2″.

All of my paints are now M. Graham tube watercolor paints and with the little mod I made to the travel palette, I have a total of 18 colors. Starting at the top left in the doodlewash of my actual palette above, here they are:

FIRST ROW: Azo Yellow, Gamboge, Nickel Quinacridone Gold, Azo Orange, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Pyrrol Red

SECOND ROW: Dioxazine Purple, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Teal, Cobalt Blue, Sap Green, Phthlocyanine Green

THIRD ROW: Azo Green, Burnt Sienna, Nuetral Tint, Raw Umber, Quinacridone Rust, Peyrelene Maroon

There’s a little white sponge, but I’ve never used it, preferring paper towels instead (these, along with WATER, of course, the primary and most important ingredient to make a doodlewash!) I also have to admit to stealing Permanent Green Pale from Philippe’s palette on occasion, but this is my current primary palette!

I love that everything is so small and compact. I’ve been like this ever since I was a child, when I would collect little things and put them in little bags or boxes. My grandparents used to take me fishing as a kid and even though the fishing part was supposed to be the main event, I was more enamored with my tackle box.

I loved going to a bait & tackle shop to pick out lures (shop names were always simple three-letter names like Flo’s or Don’s except the obvious overachiever who would double down and call his Jim Bob’s) . I always wanted to choose them by color and how they might look in my little box, much to my grandfather’s dismay.

Since we were trout fishing, he wanted me to select the lures made to look like flies. “But they’re so ugly!” I whined, imagining how they would mess up the composition of my trays. “That’s the point!” he said, “they look like fish food!”

When I pointed out the colorful worms and asked for those instead he said, “we’re not fishing for bass, trouts like flies better.” These trout were going to ruin everything! I pouted a bit and took the ugly flies, but I still didn’t catch anything that day, so I was pretty sure the trout agreed with me.

The next day we were more successful and my grandmother tried to show me how to gut and clean a fish. “I can’t,” I said, “It’s staring at me.” She just looked at me for a moment, sighed, and then took the knife, and popped out its eye. I nearly fainted. Clearly I wasn’t meant to be a fisherman, which was sad, because I was really going to miss that beautifully organized little tackle box.

So today, I finally have my new tackle box! This one suits me better. As much as I loved spending time with my grandparents, I’m pretty sure they always knew I was better suited to be a painter. They’re both gone now, but each time I reach for my new tackle I always think of them. I think they’d be happy to know that I still enjoy the outdoors, even if I’m now happily choosing colors just because I like them, and carefully drawing animals instead of gutting them.

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!
Published in Art Supply Reviews, By Charlie
56 Comments
  1. The paint looks so real!

  2. artandmoondreams 2 years ago

    Oh Charlie….Love your painting, great reflection and enjoyed seeing what you travel with. As for your story, I laughed till my eyes watered. Delightful. It also reminded me of my own fishing trips with my father. His tackle box with all its mysterious bits and bobs held my interest while fishing did not,( being more of a ‘release’ kind of kid). Thank you for the laughs, and visit to yesteryear.

    • Author

      Awww…I’m so happy I brought back those memories, Haunani! Tackle boxes were also more cool than the fishing! Hehe…and glad you liked my little doodlewash friend! ❤️😃

  3. Shirley DiMercurio 2 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your palette. I enjoyed reading this article.

  4. Jodi 2 years ago

    This painting knocks my socks off! Wow Charlie – the reflection, the detail! Thanks for sharing your color palette – AND another colorful story! 🙂

  5. Teresa Robeson 2 years ago

    Your story cracked me up (again!)! I know what you mean about the tackle box though! I think that the little organizer boxes and chests are the reasons why I make jewelry…not because I actually like making jewelry. 😀

    Okay, fess up: did you photoshop some of your paints in because like Megan said, the paints look real! Love it!

    • Author

      Thanks Teresa! ❤️😃Haha…nope! No photoshop…I don’t have the patience. But I did have to use some of the other colors to make the colors look the way they look to me in my palette. It’s really just the white gouache, I think. It’s awesome…and why I’ll never be a only the white of the paper purist! Lol 😊And so happy you liked the doodlewash and the story! 😃😃

  6. Jill Kuhn 2 years ago

    Oh, Charlie! Thank you for the chuckle!!! 😃 Love the part where your grandma cut out the fish’s eye! I wasn’t much for gutting fish either but I did like catching and eating them as a child! I don’t fish now but I still have my tackle box! Hehe! And when I was beading, I beaded around a fishing lure for a necklace which I’m sure would make a fisherman shake his head. 🐠 I enjoyed seeing the your palette and your colors you use! 🎨 And FABULOUS Doodlewash! 🌟🌟🌟

    • Author

      Awww…so happy you liked the story! And see? Those little compartments are so magical!! I think a fishing lure necklace sounds great…assuming you removed the hook. 😳hehe And thanks on the doodlewash! ❤️😃

  7. thepaperbaker 2 years ago

    That is so cool how you made the reflection!!! Fun Doodlewash 🙂

    • Author

      Thanks Nicole!! ❤️😃It sort of freaked me out at first, but then I just went for it and painted what I saw. Glad you think it worked!! 😊

  8. Kari 2 years ago

    You are a joy! And though I don’t share your love tackle boxes, I understand why that would would appeal to you. I love little containers. I love to sort things and resort things. 😊

    Your palette is so yummy! I really want some quin gold.. Amazing doodlewash, by the way.. ❤️

    • Author

      Thank you so much Kari!! ❤️😃 Yeah…little containers are just great. I use them more for hoarding little things as I tend to stink at actual organization. And glad you like the doodlewash! And you NEED Quin Gold!!! Get it! Get it!! 👍🏻😃

  9. VE 2 years ago

    I’m in love with your painting now <3

  10. Jacob 2 years ago

    I too was all “hold the phone, are they real paints?” …they look great! And awesome reflections all round, though I would have been mortified if my grandmother flicked the eye of a fish out in front of me… no stomach for that kind of thing!

    • Author

      Neither do I. “Nearly fainted” was actually an understatement in order to seem more butch. It was horrifying. But glad you liked my doodlewash!! 😃hehe

  11. Snehal Kank 2 years ago

    Nice!!!! Awesome sketch! Awesome description 👍🏼👍🏼

  12. Myriam (Myr's Bytes) 2 years ago

    I’m curious about the white gouache. Is there not a white watercolor?

    Your painting of your painting paints is wonderful :-). I really like the way you handle watercolors. I remember you mentioning a Craftsy course by Shari Blaukopf. Is this where you learned most of your technique or have you picked up a few things from other places as well?

    • Author

      Gouache is semi-opaque or fully opaque so you can actually add white highlights. Watercolor white is sometimes used to lighten colors but is still transparent, but I prefer to use more water or let the paper do the adding of white for washes. I use gouache at the end. And Shari’s course is the first one I’ve ever tried back when I started! It’s awesome!!! And was my initial inspiration to paint!! But I’ve picked up many tricks along the way from other videos and from many of the fabulous Guest Doodlewashers I host here! 😃

      • Myriam (Myr's Bytes) 2 years ago

        Thanks for explaining the white gouache. Makes sense :-). I’ve been following Shari’s blog for a few weeks. I’m originally from Montreal and my parents still live there. I love the way she captures the architecture. It reminds me of walking around in those neighborhoods. I think I will check out her course.

      • Author

        You definitely should! I very highly recommend it. She’s an excellent instructor and breaks things down really well. And well…she’s just an amazing talent! 😉 I’m a huge fan! 👍🏻

  13. Myriam (Myr's Bytes) 2 years ago

    Well, when you put it that way, how can I resist? :-). Thanks for the recommendation.

  14. Carmel Campbell 2 years ago

    Great story and sketch. I enjoy learning about other artist’s palettes. There is no better way than to sketch it. I have one, maybe two M. Graham in my supplies. A very nice brand.

    • Author

      Thanks so much Carmel! Glad you liked this post! 😃😃 I love my M Graham paint. This tin isn’t airtight at all, so having paints that don’t dry out quickly and can be magically brought back to life with a small drop of water is a dream! 😃

  15. Sharon Mann 2 years ago

    Lovely painting and story. I like the reflection of the paint in the tin lid. We artists just loved our small containers.

  16. Stephanie 2 years ago

    I laughed out loud when I read about your grandma and the fish eye! It’s so nice to read about all the lovely (lol eyeball) memories attached to your palette. In a way, I like to think that you’re creating new art with something that’s very much infused with your being. Art really is a great medium for expression isn’t it! 😀 (ps. I’m in love with that little watercolor set from Joe’s..time to up my hint dropping game 😉 )

    • Author

      Hehe! Thanks Stephanie!! So glad you liked this post! 😃❤️ And thanks for the kind words. And you definitely need this little Cheap Joe’s set…it actually really is cheap for what you get! Hehe Get that hint dropping going!!!!

  17. amaryllislog 2 years ago

    Dang, this is a show stopper Mr. Doodler! And a fantastic and hilarious story to go along with the brilliant paint box. I love the endless excitement of a box…what could I do with a box! Sometime I just keep a box because you never know!

  18. Rebecca 2 years ago

    This is a visual feast! Brilliant shine inside the lid and 3D on the paints. A really super picture. 🙂

  19. Jill Holmes 2 years ago

    I truly love watercolor sketches of just about ANY single or set of art supplies! I guess that officially make me an art supply junkie–which I was already quite aware of being and admit to being without shame! Heehee! Very nice! Love the reflection!

    • Author

      Absolutely nothing wrong with being an art supply junkie!! Haha! That’s awesome! 👍🏻 And thanks!! 😃😃😃

  20. memadtwo 2 years ago

    I’m especially enamored with the reflection. And you’re absolutely right, things should be beautiful as well as being useful. (K)

    • Author

      Awww thanks Kerfe! 😃 I was so worried about the reflection so I put off doodlewashing this one!! 😊😊Glad you liked it!! Yay!

  21. Gosh, what a great job you did with this painting, Charlie! And you’ve inspired me to make my own little travel palette. My first palette ever purchased is a Cotman travel palette, which I really like, but I’d like to use my tube paints to create my own little travel kit, kind of like the one you have here. I was thinking of an Altoids tin? And I was going to buy some empty individual half pans and go from there. Maybe if they don’t fit just right, I could custom-cut a little sponge so they don’t all jiggle around. I think the Altoids tin has rounded edges though, so not sure this will work but I figure it’s at least worth a try. Thx for the inspiration, bro!

    • Author

      Thanks Sis!! 💕💕I saw the Altoids tins and yeah, they work but the rounded edges lose some space. Also they’re slightly thicker than the one I have. I highly recommend the one I got…it’s only $12.99 at Cheap Joes and you can “mod” it with Whiskey Painter empty half pans to add 6 more slots! It’s not as airtight as some I think, but it’s super compact. And if you’re using M. Graham it doesn’t matter as much. 😉

      • Of course, M. Graham 😀 … The one at Cheap Joe’s is on backorder, but I may wind up going that route….by the time I order the individual pans and that, I may as well pay the $13 and get the palette into the bargain! Thanks for your help, Charlie!

      • Author

        No problem!! If you get it, let me know what you think! 😃👍🏻

      • Thinking about you and P, Charlie, with the recent Paris attack. I hope your friends and family there are well. Sending prayers. 💛

      • Author

        Thanks my friend! ❤️❤️Everyone we know is fine and safe. Though there’s irony in the fact I had just posted World Kindness Day. Not sure the reminder would ever work with people like that though. 😔

      • You’re so right. Glad to hear everyone you both care about is ok. I’m doing artwork for peace tonight. Take care, my friend. 💜

  22. […] on mental travel palettes, and here for a Grace Art converted travel carry, and here for Charlie’s travel palette. How to make your own palette out of various tins here.  A […]

  23. […] with paint.  This is the palette that Charlie uses.  He loves it, and it is also the palette he painted, and used on the World Watercolor Group swag. He fitted more pans in the bottom row.  Click the […]

  24. […] uses the Cheap Joe’s travel palette, here and here are his posts on […]

  25. […]  Metal watercolor paint palette boxes that are made for travel.  One example is what Charlie uses. In future posts, I will explore many of these options. This is an ongoing series of watercolor […]

  26. […] Charlie’s My Little Palette post for his travel palette set-up and the list of M. Graham paints that he […]

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