A Pop of Color

I love a pop of color. I have a turquoise table in my family room, a bright green handbag. I’m certainly not a pioneer in this. Walking around the mall recently, I noticed color everywhere! It is Spring after all.

The other day, my friend Lisa took me to Charming Charlie, a store I’d never been too. Lisa had a feeling I’d love it. The store is organized by color. I walked in and said, “Oh, it’s beautiful!” I wished I’d taken pictures to show you. This link will give you a small taste of what the store looks like.

On their website, you can shop by color. Not in the – click on a shirt, now sort by color – way. But in the – show me everything you have in turquoise (shirts, necklaces, bags, etc.) – way. This page on their site looks like a painters palette!

Who would have thought that shopping could be so creatively inspiring?! I couldn’t wait to get home and pull out the watercolors.

Ice Cube Watercolor Palette

Ice Cube Tray Palette 2Yesterday, as I set up for my “winter” watercolor I had the best idea. Now, you may not know this but, I recently scrubbed my watercolor palette and set up my paints in the order of the color wheel. Most of the colors were straight from the tube, but I mixed a couple of them. (My palette has sponges that keep the paint from drying out.)

With this setup, I’m ready to paint. I can sit down and paint in my sketchbook without pulling out the tubes and squeezing out paint. The only hiccup is when I need to mix a custom color. I don’t want to dirty my palette! I was able to get away with mixing on a piece of tinfoil, but now I was anticipating mixing several colors. I didn’t want pieces of tinfoil all over the place.

I remembered an ice cube tray, long abandoned, in the back of the corner cabinet, where no one can reach. When I pulled it out, I was excited to see it had 3 rows!

As I rinsed it out, I decided to keep water in the top row. I mixed paint in one of the bottom row cubes. I took some of that paint and put it in the cube above it, and added a little water. Then I cleaned my brush in the top cube – the water cube. I now had, a row of cubes, all the same color, in varying degrees of wetness! Awesome!

I set up rows for the other colors I needed and started painting. It was great. I had 3 options to choose from for each color. It worked like a charm. I’ll use my ice cube palette from now on!

Adding Watercolor to my Sketchbook

I was sketching every other day, until recently. I was getting bored and running out of things to draw. I decided to add watercolor to my sketchbook, but first I had to do a little housekeeping. I did what I’ve wanted to do for a while – scrubbed my watercolor palette. I was starting fresh.

Keeping to the arrangement of the color wheel, I added a dollop of paint to each section. I mixed a few of the colors, that I didn’t have in tubes. It’s been a while since I’ve used watercolor. Some of my tubes would not open. The tubes twisted and paint squirted out from all sides. It was a bit of a mess!


I know the sketchbook paper isn’t ideal for watercolor. It will wrinkle, if it gets too wet. But in my mind, my sketchbook is meant to be quick, no pressure, play around, keep the creative juices flowing, and get my skills “in shape.” So, I’m not worried about the paper.

Once I got started I realized I missed watercolor! There is so much you can do! It is fun to wet sections of the page and let interesting things happen, let colors blend. Or add detail to a dry part of the paper, with a dry brush and paint that is directly from the tube. And in between these two techniques (wet on wet and dry on dry), are tons of other options! There was a time that I painted exclusively in watercolor. Here are a couple of my older paintings.

centralpark dogwoodwatercolor

For my second watercolor sketch, I first drew (in pencil) a few flowers and leaves from the Burpee (plant and seed) catalog. There are beautiful pictures in there! I wet the background area, then added in wet paint and let it run. After the background dried, I painted the flowers and leaves, using a combination of wet painting and finally, dry details. It was fun! And “sketching” in watercolor might lead to ideas for paintings – watercolor or acrylic.