All this time I was waiting for a large porcelain watercolor palette to come, but I then found out that it was out of stock indefinitely, so I wound up getting another one that was almost three times more expensive. I don’t regret it or anything. It’s the kind of thing that I will have for the rest of my life.

I may have mentioned before that I have been looking forward to getting back to work, eventually, and when I do, I want to start working on some larger watercolors. I’ve been on a “break” for a while now, but it hasn’t felt like it. Well, yes and no. I feel like I’ve had a few days here and there, but I do not feel that I’ve had a true rest yet. I am hoping not to schedule anything for a whole week straight, but I don’t know if that’s possible. There is always something going on.

This past week, I had to work on a couple proposals, then I had meetings two days in a row, plus I went to see Melanie Daniel‘s show at Shulamit Gallery on Thursday night, which was stunning!

The Drifting Patch Tree, 2015. By Melanie Daniel.
The Drifting Patch Tree, 2015. By Melanie Daniel.

Yesterday, I woke up at 5:30 to get a little more work done and get to the doctor by 8am, and had to wait there for a couple of hours too. I was able to get a little nap in around noon though (thank God) and finally worked on the next drawing I want to paint in watercolor. Which finally brings me to the next paragraph. Whew.

I actually started it a couple of weeks ago, tracing parts of it from a stock photo of Jerusalem – just to get the basic layout of the mountain range so it would be familiar where the Dome of the Rock is situated at the bottom of the foothills. Then I abstracted the rest in my own little cartoony way. These are the kind of painting “templates” I seem to work from.


My original plan was to go straight for a 22 x 30 inch piece of #300 Arches, but something stopped me. I don’t know what, because I certainly am all geared up to start big. I bought all these new large brushes, and they weren’t cheap.

I already have a variety of good watercolor brushes up to about an inch thick, and I’ve rarely needed to use the largest one since I’ve been working so small. But recently I’ve been all amped up to use giant brushes for big work. So, I bought some.


A couple of 1.5″ Mottler brushes – a real squirrel hair one (Escando) and a synthetic-mix one (a Princeton Neptune) to see how each of them handle the paint. I also got a synthetic-mix dagger, large filbert, and  synthetic round, plus a 1.5 inch “side-winder,” which is what I call the second one in from the left in the picture above because I don’t remember what the proper name for those brushes are really called. I prefer side-winder even if I knew the real name though.

So, like I said, I was ready to break out that 22 x 30 inch piece of Arches, but I guess I got scared to just start off that large, so I made the sketch to fit a 16 x 30 inch #300 Fabriano Artistico paper instead. That’s still not so little, but it’s not so huge either and I probably won’t be using these big brushes but for the sky and some of the hilly areas. I’m also going to make the whole painting a bit smaller than the paper because I want to drip the vertical edges that cut off the composition, and then fade the horizontal edges into the white of the paper on the top and bottom – just about an inch.

See, I’ve got plans.

My plans are to loosen the hell up. The last watercolor I did was this portrait I did for writer, Hosho McCreesh. This is his fiancé, Tina and it’s actually typical of an older style of mine, but it’s not the looseness I want to go for in the landscapes I am about to embark on. They seemed to love the portrait though, or that’s what they told me anyway. 😉 It’s “different,” put it that way.


Mjp talked me into painting this portrait in a similar style to his favorite self portrait of mine that he keeps in our bedroom.


But back to bore you about watercolor palettes and how I came to buy that huge porcelain palette…

I had been shopping for palettes because I wanted to replace what I have been using all these years, which have been these little metal ones (not this plastic one to the left).


The little metal ones are obviously many many years old, but I at least liked how much paint was able to pool up inside of the little rectangles. I also didn’t mind the metal so much for mixing, but what I really love is ceramic and/or porcelain because I also use ceramic bowls for mixing single colors for larger areas. I use them for gouaches too.

So then I bought this plastic one for a few bucks (on the left pictured above), but it tends to bead up when you mix paint. I didn’t care for that, so I haven’t been using it.

Then I looked into the Holbein palettes. They are metal, but are coated with enamel on top and I wondered if it would be the best of both worlds – like maybe it would behave like porcelain, and when the enamel wears away, I’d just be stuck with metal, which would be fine.



But the Holbein palettes are expensive! This one pictured above starts at $78! However, I would’ve invested in one if I knew one thing. Does the enamel that it’s coated with behave the same as the plastic, or does it behave more like ceramic?

So I started to research about this and found that you can’t really bake enamel over metal without the metal melting, so I looked into buying a knock-off for much cheaper because I realized I was probably just paying for the name.


I wound up with this one from a company called Anderson and Sons for under around $15.

The difference is probably not just the name. The difference is probably aluminum to steel, but I feel like now that I wound up getting the giant porcelain palettes, I have both a decent little one (and I can travel around with it if I want) plus a large one that stays put for bigger jobs. I’m happy.

Now I just have to paint pretty pictures.

And speaking of pretty pictures – and landscapes – I recently made a great art purchase from a Utah artist named David King. I actually bought two of his paintings, both small, but both absolutely beautiful:

june field acrylic landscape painting


The one pictured above (Late Autumn Tooele Valley) is an 8 x 10 inch, and the the one above that one (June Field), is even smaller. I couldn’t decide between the two of them, so I wanted both of them and so now they are mine. I got really lucky with these. I am going to frame at least Tooele Valley this weekend. I’m very excited.

There is something so innocent and pure in both of these paintings that is hard for me to describe, but they both inspire me. I also love Utah and have plans to drive up there in the not so distant future with Michael and take a long-needed vacation. It’s so pretty. These paintings will remind me. They will remind me how to paint too, how to keep it loose and authentic, as that’s what I see in these. David is clearly in love with his subject and I picture him outside of himself while he is painting – not in his own head. These are great reminders for me; they are pieces of great inspiration for me. I’m in love with his work.

If you are too, I’d advise you to pick up an original as fast as you can because he seems to constantly be on the fence about selling. Like I said, I am lucky to have these. Sometimes he offers prints. Sometimes he doesn’t. Originals are always better in my opinion, as everyone knows, especially my readers. When he does sell his originals they are priced beyond reasonable (undervalued if you ask me), but grab them while you can. If you can. That’s what I say.

Anyway, I think I should go and get my Saturday started, being it’s 3:30 now! I have to transfer my drawing to my Fabriano paper today so I can actually paint Sunday. Wow, I’m really looking forward to that!

Thanks for reading what might be a little bit of a boring blog post about palettes and brushes.

2 thoughts on “Next

  1. margob1 May 23, 2015 / 4:20 pm

    Even though I’m not painting lately, except with words, I loved reading about palettes, etc.

  2. Kate Riley May 24, 2015 / 10:00 am

    Thanks Carol! I don’t know the first thing about brushes and palettes but I enjoyed reading your blog. It’s really exciting and satisfying. One day I’ll learn how to use them!! Katya

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