Friday, August 24, 2012


I recently made a small watercolor box to take outside with my sketchbook during lunch. I made it out of an  older Altoids tin with a smooth top; newer ones have the name embossed on the lid. I had a bunch of tubes of Winsor & Newton watercolors at home, otherwise I would have just bought a set.  I used a section of a mini ice cube tray for the wells, chopping it off a with a Dremel tool. It's an extremely tight fit, and probably wouldn't need any glue to hold it in;  I glued it in anyway. I sprayed the lid with white appliance epoxy paint.

Altoids Tin Watercolor Box

It's a nice accompaniment for the cigar box pochade I made last year for small oil sketches. The box cost $1.00 at a local cigar shop and the palette and brush holder were made from scraps of 1/8" plywood that I had in the garage. I glued some 1/4 round molding to the palette so it snaps onto the side of the box without any screws. The brush holder is held on by a small thumbscrew with a plastic knob, and a box lid support keeps the box open if it gets windy. A 6x8" panel is held in place by a piece of spring steel from a picture frame, even when the lid is closed. A 1/4-20 nut in a small block of wood connects it to a tripod. I painted the inside of the box, and added a piece of glass for my dabs of paint. I found a small US Army map pouch at a surplus store that fits the box perfectly. It also holds a mini tripod that I got at the local Big Lots store, but that one is a bit flimsy, so I use a regular one most of the time.

Cigar Box Pochade mounted on a tripod.

This is the box I used for my pochade.

U.S. Army map pouch

Bottom of Palette

Everything but a full size tripod fits in the bag. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012


It was 100° on Saturday, but it felt a lot cooler in the shade because of a nice breeze. I drove up to Pflugerville, north of Austin, to where this old cotton gin sits next to the First Methodist Church.

Pflugerville Cotton Gin 9x12"

 When I was finished and had a bite to eat, I found I still had enough energy to try another one right away. I pointed my truck northeast and let it take me wherever it wanted to go. I ended up in Cele, Texas, which isn't a wide spot in the road, but is in fact a bend in the road. I pulled over and set up to do this quick sketch.

Cele TX barn 8x10"

Often, I will do a screen grab of the map or the compass of my iphone when I'm painting, so I can remember exactly where I ended up. This one was at 30°26'25" N, 97°31'16"W