' Tara Donovan - Animator: Paint boxes a-plenty

Paint boxes a-plenty

September 10, 2013

I don't use watercolours much since I started digital painting but it's often the quickest, easiest way to create color artwork outdoors. I remember getting a Winsor & Newton enameled paint set as a teenager. 
Winsor & Newton set - not mine but the same model
It was a really sturdy set that I took to England and Germany in my 20's. It's a bit heavy, though, so I made myself a little cheapo set out of a kid's paint set that I could just pop in my pocket for an afternoon at High Park or the Tiergarten. I still use this set to this day for weekend getaways. I keep filling up the tray with tube paints. I have a couple of sawed-off paintbrushes and some pencil extenders, a scrap of cloth. Over the years I acquired another little plastic case into which it all fits and use as a water container. I usually carry drinking water in a bottle everywhere I go so I don't include a tiny bottle in my kit like some do.
My old faithful traveling set from the '90's.

The holder allows a half-sized paint brush to be more comfortable
 for painting. The tape makes the brush thick enough for the holder.
Much to my happy surprise my son became interested in field sketching with me. We usually just shared a paint set but then he asked me to make him one for himself. So I did, using a mint tin and a hollowed-out paint set from the dollar store. Then his friend asked me to make one for him too. In no time I had made a few of these little sets.
Tiny watercolor sets for quick field sketching. 

Cotman's space-age Field Plus set
Around that time my son seemed to outgrow his set so we ended up giving him a very cool Cotman Field Plus set which I'm very jealous of and borrow quite often. Its best feature is the tons of mixing room on the various pull-out pallettes.

Russell Stutler's enviable
 hand-crafted paint set.
I've seen tons of ideas on the internet about making these sets - some great ideas out there that I might try in the future. This guy Russell Stutler makes his own beautifully-crafted wooden watercolor sets that I would LOVE to know how to make.  Watercolors are so fantastic for quick outdoor sketches. I think the best sets are the ones so small and light you don't hesitate to bring with you everywhere.