Though I was quite sure I’d end up with some shiny new art supplies by this point while in Paris, I didn’t pick up anything yet. In truth, I rather adore the setup I currently have, which is very compact and also currently, extremely messy. I refilled a few colors at the very last minute, which I’m prone to do, and they didn’t have time to dry properly before I tossed everything into my suitcase. Cobalt Turquoise was primary culprit and decided to take a little tour of my paint case, covering half of my Nickel Azo Yellow, but thankfully didn’t entirely spoil it or any of the other colors. I’m also testing out my handheld scanner, which seems to make each image a bit darker, but far closer to the original than my phone. There’s very low light in our apartment here and it would be impossible to get a good photo during my now after midnight and later posts. But, even if my palette is a touch messy, it’s a lovely travel companion to have along with me. And it’s something I can sketch from life, since my time outdoors is always spent with family or friends, so making a sketch is impossible so as not to be terribly rude. Also, it requires every ounce of focus I have to desperately try and make out pieces of the conversations as my French is still woefully inadequate.

My palette, my doodlewashes, and my ability to speak French all share the same bit of clumsiness. I’m just excited to be a part of everything and do what I can as I go along. For my doodlewashes, this gives them a bit of a sketchy energy, which culminates into a bit of a recognizable style. My butchery of the French language isn’t about style, but instead called an “accent” which is roughly the same thing. And my palette hasn’t been wiped down or cleaned in ages, which is probably just called lazy, but it’s typical me, so it fits. I’m not fastidious in my approach to things and prefer to launch into them with glee and fun instead. Some people are quite organized and those folks are likely going into shock while reading this, but everyone has different things that bring them joy. My thing is being a bit reckless, to be sure, but I love not quite knowing what will happen next. There are already so many things in life that come with rules, it’s nice to take a break and savor a life without them.

Tonight, we took Philippe’s mother to see the musical Chicago, which had been translated entirely into French. There was a monitor with English subtitles as well, so the whole culture clash was a bit crazy and super fun! It was wild to hear the French version of some of the silliest bits of dialogue and lyrics from the show. And intriguing to listen to the insanely talented cast attempt to use the same melodic line to cram in all of the necessary French words, or vowels as I like to call them since consonants are so often ignored when spoken. This last bit means that I can read French quite well, but speaking or hearing it is a complete mystery to me still. I constantly ask Philippe to repeat something and then we he does, I frantically say, “spell it!” What I’ve learned is that it’s far easier to remember an entire phrase in French than attempt to make one on my own. So, I’m resigned to being understood only when saying bits of things that rarely apply to the current conversation. The effect, I’m quite sure, makes me sound like a lunatic, but I get charm points for at least trying. Like my approach to art, a perfectionist would be perfectly appalled in these situations, but I just giggle and move on. Returning back to our little Paris apartment to have a bit tea and sit down in a cozy, yet dimly lit space to sketch once again, reunited with my messy travel palette.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Nickel Azo Yellow, Benzimida Orange, Quinacridone Red, Opus (Vivid Pink), Cobalt Turquoise, Cobalt Blue, Terra Cotta, Leaf Green, Indigo, Vermillion, and Aureolin. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Day 16 - Watercolor Travel Palette Illustration - Sketchbook Detail - Doodlewash

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19 thoughts on “My Messy Travel Palette

  1. I can imagine that play was wild! Were the English subtitles just a transcript or had the play been translated to French and then re-translated back to English. Anything can happen when it’s done that way! I love your messy travel palette. I’m one of the messiest people I know, but I prefer to start with a clean palette. Just one of those oddities. I can’t listen to music while I paint either because it screws up my rhythm.

    1. Oh, the translation was the original Broadway version… that’s what made it so odd but fun! 😃💕The chosen words for translation were a bit strange and Philippe confirmed that it was a bit clunky at times. And that’s awesome on your palette! I tend to not only paint with a messy one, but music and or the TV are always on in the background. This is mostly a learned approach because Philippe is always next to me when I make these as I never have a dedicated space to paint at home or abroad. But I rather enjoy it!

  2. Love a messy palette…it’s amazing how far those little puddles of paint go and sometimes that little bitty puddle leftover from the day before is just the right amount and mix of colors. Sounds like you’re having a wonderful time!!!

  3. Your messy palette is perfect. I have found some great colors with them accidentally intermingling. It’s all good and fun!!!
    The show sounds like it was fabulous. So glad you enjoyed it in French. If I were to go to Paris I would have to take a crash course just to be able to get a taxi. Enjoy your stay.

    1. Thanks, June! 😃💕 Yeah, I’m admittedly spoiled by traveling with a spouse who’s an interpreter. hehe Though I did wander around Paris a few years ago now and managed just fine. And so true on the palette… I find the mess is exactly where I discover new color combos! 😉

  4. Your paint pallette is well loved, not messy. I go through spurts of messy clean messy. As I age, I don’t seem to care much. It’s a right of passage after 50, along with a lot of other things. ;p And….do you use a separate mixing pallette all the time?

    1. True! I well-used palette is definitely a well-loved one! 😃💕And yes, I found a metal palette with 12 little wells that I love. I tend to mix a lot of colors (only using 3-5 at once), so it’s a wonderful thing to have! I can’t seem to find the exact one on Amazon, but saw them in a shop in California and both 4 more as backups! hehe

  5. Charlie says, “everyone has different things that bring them joy”

    Wisdom that will endure the ages! It might sound like a simple premise,
    but it is a key to harmony in this world.

    a second quote too fine to overlook:

    Charlie says, “I’m resigned to being understood only when saying bits of things that rarely apply to the current conversation. The effect, I’m quite sure, makes me sound like a lunatic, but I get charm points for at least trying”

    Grand outlook! There is both giggles and wisdom in that statement.

    1. Thank you, Sarah! 😃💕 hehe… glad you liked that last bit. It’s so true. I’m so lost when it comes to French. My brain just doesn’t quite click with it all. But, I’m thrilled to be here and adore my French family. My sister-in-law speaks English along with Philippe so I do have some help along the way.

  6. My paints often look like this too so no judgement here! And what is this handheld scanner you refer to? I always have such trouble photographing on my mobile as I always end up doing my paInting in the evening when the light is terrible! It sometimes has a bad shadow as a result. Enjoy Paris. It’s so much fun there.

    1. Thanks, Eve! Glad I’m not alone on the messy palette! 😃💕As for the scanner, I’m still in the process of testing it on this trip, but so far, it’s rather awesome. I’m always in low light when I post while in Paris, so a photo with my phone looks horrid and doesn’t show up with the bright paper white I adore. The scanner solves this and is much better than a phone, but still isn’t quite as awesome as my desktop scanner, of course. Here’s the link to the one I have –

  7. Wonderful prose! I laufhed, who cares about anyone else?! Having lived in Siena, Italy 35 years ago I felt similarly and eventually decided that if I made believe I was an actor ( which I am not) and pretended to be a real Italian I would sound better. Surprisingly it worked! Lol
    Get into the role and make it yours!

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