Saturday, May 18, 2013

Travel water color kit - Second Generation

Travel water color kit - Second Generation

Some time ago I blogged about how I made my first water color travel kit with a mint tin. The first was a Newman's own because Altoids started embossing the label.  I have really enjoyed the kit and have used it several times a week. 80% of the water color you see on my blog comes from this kit.

At Christmas my wife got me a perfectly sized bag for my travel stuff. I guess it is a baggalini.  She thought it was masculine enough with all of its zippers. I am a 6'5" 260# guy so I am also good with it.  The size is perfect but I catch myself putting too much into it. One of the happy accidents of my first water color kit was making palettes removable so they can be swapped out.  These extras fill the bag up. I also have a few kids kits with high quality water color and gauche swapped out.  Basically I have really filled this bag up. So it is time to make a larger travel tin that holds all of the colors I use for the bag. I will still keep the original for lighter travel.

The well loved original

 The first generation kit closed. Typically I have a rubberband around this and a paper towel.  Although I followed the rules on the appliance paint plus a few extra precautions, the paint is still coming off. This is ok as I love the worn look.

Open kit with 2 trays, the mini water brush (thanks Wet Paint! They now carry these but ordered them for me) and a short double sharpened pencil.

Open kit with everything laid out. Notice the pencil is carved flat on one side so it doesn't roll away.

However, I have accumulated other palettes and tools and it takes up too much room in my bag.

With my portable kit I have room for a small waterbrush and a pencil.  This is perfect all in one for the pocket. However, with my bag I always have room for the larger brush and better pencils and pens so I have decided to make a slightly larger kit based on my complete home "Making Color Sing" Palette. Currently I have the same palette on 3 seperate trays but the kit only carries two. The rest are in my bag and mostly unused. See above.

My home palette on a John Pike tray I am trying to replicate.

I found a perfect tin at a record store ( the electric fetus - old fashion music store with tons of cool stuff that I often find goofy gifts for Marcy - I found this tin doing Mother's Day shopping for her)

They only had a few to choose from. The "Poisen" them seemed cool enough and way more relevant than the other selections.  The size however, is perfect.

For this round I made half pan holes and no place for mixing. I found I just didn't use the spaces in the first round to mix colors with as much as I thought.  I mainly use the lids flat surface.  In this round I used two full sculpey clay packs and used the small left over to make a very thin mixing surface. It is cooling right now and we will see if it stays flat.  Everything is an experiment so we will see!

Progress shots

I roll the clay out using what is handy.

This time it happened to be a Summit beer bottle.  I also found by accident that summit has an embossed logo on the glass. I used this on the back just for fun.

Sizing and cutting the first "slab" to fit while being removable.

First I make impressions with a half pan of water color and then cut all the way through.

My original intention was to leave a mixing portion in the center, but I was unhappy with the number of color choices given my goal is to replicate my home studio palette.  I cut the pans all the way through. On the first round I tried to dig them out and keep a constant backer depth. This was sloppy and inconsistant and caused curling in the cooling process.  See the left over pieces in the top right? This time I am making 2 slabs for more consistency.

Rolling out the bottom slab.

Notice that I put the left over plugs back in and reorganized my holes to get the number I needed. At this point I have pressed the top slab to the bottom slab.

This shows both slabs upside down. 

Trimming the sides to be sure everything fits

I also rolled the Summit label into the back. We will see if that survives the oven process.

  With left over sculpey I am making a very thin paint mixing surface that will fit with the lid closed.  I hope this doesn't buckle. 

One last test fit before the oven

On last test fit of the paint mixing surface and pressed my name in for fun.

 It does close at this point. I  hope nothing buckles in the oven. If it does, a rubberband will save the day.

Ready for the heat

275 for 30 minutes

Time is up!  (yes blogging this while it cooks).

 Everything came off the wax paper just fine

The main tray doesn't really show any bowing at all. I was careful to keep things the same thickness and depth.  The cover tray shows a little curling during curing but still seems really flexible.  I will need a rubber band, but now looking close the lid really doesn't secure itself very tightly even when empty. The rubber band is really handy anyway and I usually keep a paper towel for the water brush anyway.

"Cooked" tray in place.  It comes out easy too! (My first generation did this by accident, but with coaxing) I had counted on a little shrinkage, but not much.

Closed kit, now where are my paint tubes? Let's put this sucker to work!  I may eventually paint the inside white to use as mixing surface, but that is another night!

I hope this was interesting. I certainly enjoyed making it with the thought of sharing.

(I will add the color process on another post as I am sure this one is long enough)

Keep drawing and painting! Scratch that deep itch!

James Nutt

Monday, May 13, 2013

Sketching in Savannah

I had the privilege of a business trip to Savannah. Although packed with meetings I did bring my sketch kit and got a few sketches in.

My week started in Philly and I wound up in Savannah late that evening. Although tired, I knew this was my opportunity to roam by myself.

First night - Sketch one

This is a sketch of a cool underground restaurant. It was mostly dark and there was comedy going on with lots of back light.  I knew the first sketch is never great, but you have to start somewhere. Watercolor in dark seems to be a theme here lately. Maybe because I my free time is in the evening.

Sketch Two
I found a bar with a rooftop patio around 12:30 am.  I was very tired and the first drawing was too large to start with.  I enjoyed it, but was pretty unhappy with the outcome, but as I get more distance I like it more.  I may go back and selectively kick up some of the line work.  Almost all of these are painted in the relative dark meaning I am painting on memory of my palette. I have come to enjoy this because the next day you get to see what happens and it is a bit more spontaneous than if I had full control. Let that be a lesson on looseness!


I could stop on that one so I brought out my Pentel brush pen. I have recently "manually filled" the cartridge it came with using Noodler's Ink Lexington Grey. It hasn't yet overtaken the black, but I am patient.  I really enjoyed this painting and was even happier with the color the next day.  However, it was getting very late by now so I walked back to the hotel.
Second Night - two quick sketches while with clients. 
The meetings went very well and we all roamed the streets that evening. While we stopped I was able to get two sketches. The first is unfinished as we moved on faster than I thought we would and the second was during dinner waiting on the food.  Yet another watercolor at night exercise.
Day Three, for a while the last day, this was my office.


Great trip, great people, great food, I love travel.
Draw to remember, beauty will come
James Nutt

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sketching on Mother's Day

Sketching on Mother's Day with Marcy and Leo at Lake Silverwood.  Medium - moleskine watercolor paper, an old felt pen running out of juice, spilled coffee to keep the pen going, water from my travel brush, and a tiny bit of red and yellow watercolor.

This last one was very quick using a brush pen and a small amount of water color. Probably about 3" by 3"

Beautiful day and a long walk of stick sword fitting "bad guys" around the lake.

James Nutt