Travel Palette Tour

Palette, Windsor and Newton, Colour, Watercolour

I am never without my tiny travel paint kit and I thought I would take some time to share a bit more about my paint selection.

Customizing your palettes can be one of the most important things you do as an artist. The colours you choose are the foundation for your paintings and they create your own unique signature as an artist.

My palette is a plastic Windsor and Newton Palette that was originally filled with 12 Cotman brand student pans. It is a great starter palette for first time painters as it is durable and portable and contains a good variety of colours. I have since replaced the student grade colours with a selection of my favourite paints by a variety of different manufacturers, but I still enjoy this portable, plastic palette.

The colours here are very different from what I use in a normal studio painting. They were selected for on site sketching and include a number of “convenience” colours and colours found in nature and urban scenes. I tend to use mostly QOR paints as I love their vibrancy.


M. Graham – Azo Yellow (Aureolin): A nice, transparent yellow. This brand stays moister than my other colours. For that reason it may not be an excellent travel paint. It is a good “standard” yellow to have in your palette.

Qor – New Gamboge: This is an earthy, warm yellow that I love using. Qor’s new gamboge is also lightfast.

Qor – Quinacridone Magenta: This is one of my all time favourite colours. Qor is vibrant and this cool pink creates lovely mixes from soft purples to fiery oranges. I love the boldness of this colour.

Holbein – Pthalo Blue(Red Shade): This is a deep and lovely blue. Staining and Bold. It makes lovely deep greens.

Qor – Cobalt: This subtle blue is the perfect “in between” blue for me. However, as soon as this colour is used up in my palette, I will likely replace it with something more orangey or red like a Transparent Pyrole Orange. Having another blue in my palette is a bit redundant.

Qor – French Cerulean Blue: This is a perfect sky blue and when mixed with a bit of burnt sienna makes a lovely “concrete grey.” No other mixes of blues can really create that perfect summer sky like this one. It is slightly granular and soft. When this pan is used up, I will likely move back to another brand as I find QORs slightly darker than other brands.

Qor -Naples Yellow – This is a unique choice. I love the subtleness of this yellow and I love using it completely on its own. It is slightly opaque and granular.

Daniel Smith – MoonGlow – This is a unique and stunning paint. When it dries, it granulates into a pale pink and deep grey that has a glowing quality. It is a true fan favourite and I love adding it to my sketches.

Qor – Sap Green – This is my favourite convenience colour for painting natural greens. It is an earthy green and can be used straight out of the pan for leaves and foliage.

Windsor & Newton – Dioxazine Purple: When used alone, it is a bold, bad-ass purple. Mixed with other colours it can make a nice rich dark.

Qor – Burnt Sienna: Mixed with any blues, this makes an easy grey. I also like the warmth of the QOR brand. Burnt Sienna can vary a lot depending on the brand from dull brown to orangey brown.

Qor – Indigo: I use this deep blue or almost “navy” to create my darkest darks. When mixed with Burnt sienna I can get an almost black.


If you want to learn more about Watercolour Paints, Colours and Pigments and how to create your own personal palette, I’m teaching a workshop at Uptown Gallery in Waterloo on February 28, 2019.

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