Road Trip!

Last week we were off to Death Valley with a group of friends! Painting! Hiking! More painting!

It’s a long trip to DV.  Eleven hours for us, stopping often to drain our radiators, stretch creaky backs, eat, and just generally look around. I can paint a little on the road (the fiddler does the driving), but the scenery moves too fast for an even partially realized landscape. There’s only enough time for quick color sketches.




Quick color sketches in watercolor on Aquabee Super Deluxe Sketch Book paper. This paper is not sized as well as it used to be so the colors don’t sit as nicely on the paper as they do on Arches 300 lb. hot press. But for quick studies in the car, it’s enough.

I also filled in some pages of color blocks in my color journal.


My color journal is a Daler & Rowney Cachet watercolor journal. Again, it’s adequate, but the paint is not as vibrant or well behaved on this paper. When I’ve filled up this journal, I think I will make one bound with binder rings of my favorite Arches hot  press.

My tiny pocket palette has a mysterious collection of pigments; I don’t remember what I was thinking when I poured the paint but there are decidedly too many oranges in this palette. Most of my mixtures from the pocket palette end up being built around Mayan blue and transparent orange, with Hooker’s green and a yellow (lemon or aureolin) as secondary colors.

Anyone who likes to paint on the road really should take a look at the book A Pocketful of Watercolors: Philip Enquist. It’s a little book full of little watercolor sketches that shows just how evocative such simplicity can be.