Painting With A Little Travel Palette

Travel Watercolor Palette Illustration

Today marks the beginning of our Doodlewash August Art Challenge called “Travel Fun!” I hope everyone enjoyed World Watercolor Month and I sincerely hope you’ll keep right on sketching with me in August! Seriously, why on earth should we stop now? For those unfamiliar with the regular monthly challenges, watercolor and gouache are still the only painting mediums, but all types of drawing mediums are welcome (yep, colored pencils, pens, and even crayons if you like! Your inner child will be so thrilled with that last one!). So, yes, watercolor paint is optional once again, but as many of you know I’ll personally still be using it all of the time. It’s just way too much fun! Here, I’ve shown my current little travel palette with my usual 12 colors (listed in the About The Doodlewash section of the full post), a little collapsible water cup that came in a set from Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff, and my Escoda Versatil Size 6 Travel Brush. If I had only these things, a couple of fountain pens, one with black ink and one with sepia ink, and my sketchbook, then I would have everything I need to make something daily. That’s the honest truth! Though in reality, of course, I have 6 fountain pens, lots of different brushes, and a bag full of various art supplies. The thing is, I only used this tiny set of supplies throughout all 31 days of the World Watercolor Month challenge. I love that I don’t need very much to create something new, and it’s a joy to return to my tiny little studio each and every day!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what really matters. About simplifying life a bit and focusing more on things that truly bring me the most joy. These daily doodlewashes and posts are definitely at the top, so check! As I mentioned previously, I’m not actually traveling this month. In truth, I don’t travel that often, yet I always use a travel set because I don’t have a permanent studio. Many of you already know that I paint on the edge of my kitchen counter and therefore need to have a pop-up studio that only shows up for an hour or less each day. With my limited time, I have to pop it up and dismantle it in a ridiculously short amount of time. So, I’ve adored travel painting supplies from the start! Sure, I had dreams that I would take my little travel set with me to Paris and paint en plein air, but even that goal faced a very different reality. When I’m in Paris, I’m visiting family and friends non-stop, and can only paint in the wee hours of the evening. So, it’s no different, in the end, when I’m there. My new pop-up studio becomes the desk in our little apartment that particular visit or indeed, once again, the edge of a kitchen counter. But, what I’ve accidentally proven in my own art journey is that you don’t need hours of time set aside to create something. If you truly want to DO this, and make a little something each day, it’s always entirely possible.

So, yes, if you make traditional watercolor paintings, which I don’t, then it can take a lot more time and effort. What I hope to inspire in people is to continue to make a little something, anything, in those times in between. Personally, after over 4 years of sketching and painting consecutively each and every day, I’ve yet to even sit down long enough to attempt a proper watercolor painting. I just lack every ounce of the patience required for such a thing. While this is totally embarrassing to admit, I hope that by admitting it, I can give you the freedom to create whatever the heck you can! What I do is what professional artists call “practice.” I simply practice each and every day. What you see posted here are my sketches, my honest little attempts. A captured moment of me trying something I wanted to try that day. I present them as actual art, because I don’t actually know or understand when something becomes what they call art. I’m equally uncertain as to who “they’ actually are and why they get to choose in the first place. It’s the same feeling many people expressed when I started this site and why they couldn’t quite develop the courage to call themselves an artist yet. The reality is, an artist is simply someone who is driven to create something new. That’s all it takes to join the club, and then, yes, there will always be those awesome masters. And, we’ll continue to learn from them and enjoy every step of this journey, even if we’re always just painting with a little travel palette.

Want To Sketch Stuff With Me? Check Out My New Activity Book!

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, Vermilion, 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!
Travel Watercolor Palette Illustration Sketchbook Detail
Recommended9 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
22 Comments
  1. Karen Fortier 4 months ago

    I love your travel kit Charlie! I use mine to do my daily doodles. These doodles are really helping me improve my sketching skills. My art is going in many directions right now as I have the time to really work at it but I still enjoy the time I take to do my doodles!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕That’s awesome to hear! Yay! Yeah… you know I’m a big fan of doodling. Not just because it’s all I ever have time to DO, but because of how much we learn and how quickly we learn it in the process!

  2. Sandra Strait 4 months ago

    I think many people feel they can’t be an artist unless they have a certain amount of education or experience; they can’t be an artist unless their art is professional. People often sing for the joy of it even if they can’t carry a tune. Get them around a karoake machine and people enjoy their efforts and in that moment they are artists. I think all art should be viewed that way and shared for the sheer joy and exuberance of DOing it!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Yay to that, Sandra! 😃💕 I totally agree! We are all just joining in song together… doesn’t matter if we sing off key in moments… we’re all still artists!

  3. Lisa 4 months ago

    Here it is, August already. I hate the summer going so fast. Especially since we had so much rain and cold early on. I finally have some tomatoes getting ripe, and the sweet corn will be filling the markets soon, so there’s that. I picked green beans today, and discovered three little frogs in my front pond. I’d like to know how they get here. We aren’t that close to the river. My weeds are really putting on show this year. Lol

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Yes, August is upon us once again! 😃💕Soon it will be autumn already! Life moves too quickly these days. And apparently frogs as well… hehe… no idea how they get there! Lol

  4. Sharon Nolfi 4 months ago

    Fantastic painting of your travel set! Considering art supplies, less is usually more. The important part is using them!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 Yes! hehe… it’s not the art supplies themselves, but what we DO with them that matters most!

  5. ~M 4 months ago

    I have one of these and I love it!

  6. mlaiuppa 4 months ago

    I have this little palette. It was one of the first I purchased and is still a favorite of mine. I like how I can switch out the half pans rather than have to wait for a color to be used up before replacing it. I no longer carry a brush, cup and water. I carry a waterbrush and one pen. They all fit in a harddrive case with some cut to size paper and a few paper towels. In a pinch, I can take it all out and fit it in a pocket of my travel purse to make it even more portable. I find I can get through a day with just the water in the brush. Restock the paper towels and refill the brush and I’m set for the next day. This is for really bare bones travel sketching. But for leisurely all the time and plenty of space sketching this little palette is still my go-to. I think I have three of them. One with my Daniel Smith, one with some artisan paints from Etsy and one empty that I can refill with color palettes other artists use to try them out. I have an assortment of sketchbooks too but find I always come back to making my own by cutting up Arches cold press. For a real brush you can’t beat that Escoda Versatil and the #6 has always been my favorite size. When I use a real travel brush instead of the water brush, that is the one I grab.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Awesome! Sounds like you have a beautiful kit! 😃💕 Yeah, I never made friends with a waterbrush even though I tried several times. Thankfully… water is fairly easy to come by, so I also end up back with my Escoda brush! hehe

  7. vickiross 4 months ago

    Of course, I am curious about the palette itself. Like I need another! I have a custom Charles Reid edition brass one from England to the tiny business card size one from the same Cheap Joes kit (you had one so I had to have one)! Still haven’t fill the little one because I don’t like the fixed color holes. And every palette in between!

    You are an inspiration, my friend!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks so much, Vicki! 😃💕 Hehe… yeah, I adore this palette… it’s very small, but not TOO small in that it fits normal half pans. It’s also a total mess and I need to refresh it with new half pans soon. hehe But it’s so fun to have a tiny studio!

  8. Mary Roff 4 months ago

    Wonderful little palette and that collapsible cup! Wonderful definition of “artist”!!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks, Mary! 😃💕 Or should I say, artist! hehe Yes! We are ALL artists. Every member of this site! At least here, I’ve still no idea what the rest of world means when they talk about art. It’s too confusing. I say DO! Make! Inspire!!

  9. LoriCtoo 4 months ago

    I love your definition of an artist….”someone so is driven to create something new.” That needs to be your moto. I am definitely going to share that with my class in September! I always love your paint palette sketches and why I own one! I have secretly started collecting vintage painting things for when my son, some day moves out (lol he’s 20). I will redecorate my craft room. It will be a painting studio with lovely vintage painting supplies as the decor. At least that is what is in my head. I am off to a better start than I thought because I keep coming across stuff I have bought over the past few years. Hahaha! Good luck to day with the changeover. Fingers crossed for a smooth transition!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks, Lori! 😃💕Yay to your craft room… that’s sounds like the perfect decor! And well… the changeover didn’t happen… it failed the moment I tried to activate the new plugin. Teams of developers are now looking into things, but thankfully, nothing was broken in the experiment! hehe

      • LoriCtoo 4 months ago

        Oh Oh!

  10. zannnie 4 months ago

    I also like painting…

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