23 for Galway and Manchester

There’s nothing like a new palette that’s filled with colour but never touched by a brush. So pristine. So much possibility contained within. So many choices. It’s like a box of candy. You don’t know which one to pick first.

I always carry too many art supplies with me when I travel, so with the aim of travelling light — especially after recently losing (and then finding) my luggage — I have a new palette that will go with me to Galway and Manchester. This one is much smaller than my usual plein air Alvin Heritage Palette. The closed size is only 3″ x 5.75″ and yet I have managed to get 23 colours in there. This replaces a travel palette that I used so much when I first started sketching that most of it rusted away.

Of course I’ve filled it with plenty of yellows, blues and greens for painting the Irish landscape, as well as lots of rusts and reds for my industrial workshop location in Manchester. I’m not leaving just yet but have filled the wells a few days early, in the hopes that they will dry before I get on the plane.

Except for two half pans, the colours are all filled from tube paint. They may be hard to make out from the photo so here they are from left to right.
Top row: Cobalt Teal, Cerulean Blue, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Phthalo Blue, Indanthrene Blue, Mineral Violet and Permanent Alizarin Crimson.
Middle row: Burnt Sienna, Raw Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Umber, Pyrol Orange, Organic Vermilion, Quinacridone Rose.
Bottom Row: Naples Yellow, Hansa Yellow Medium, New Gamboge, Quinacridone Gold, Leaf Green, Sap Green, Phthalo Green, Shadow Green (first time trying this deep green).

Ironically my workshop at the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Manchester is called “Bare Bones: Exploring limited palettes in watercolour“. That might lead you to believe that I use a tiny palette with only three or four colours in it, but the workshop is more about achieving unity in your sketches through limited use of colour. I may be packing light but I don’t think I could ever travel without a full range of pigments.


48 Comments on “23 for Galway and Manchester”

  1. Lise G. says:

    hello Shari … may you tell me where have you bought this kind of palette? … without painting … with empty
    pan … thanks … it’s a pleasure to fellow you … sun in my day … Lise

    • HI Lise. I bought this at Avenue des Arts in Westmount. They have lots of different sizes and this one is made by FOME, and it’s from Italy. Very solid and lovely to hold.

    • Judy Sopher says:

      I have changed my palette colors often after your Craftsy classes and your blog. Now you are tempting me again with new ideas. The problem I have had with this type of palette is the shape of the mixing areas as paint tends to puddle in the centers. Let us know how this works for you. I envy you your trip. Have a great time.

      • Hi Judy,
        I do change colours in my palette often, depending on the season, the travels, etc. I have used this type of palette before so I know what this is like. I like the deep wells so I can make a large puddles of wash. And I like the sturdy metal construction too.


      • Judy Sopher says:

        Would love another class-and see how you use this palette.I have two like that-big and little-but gave up on them. More important -another class on your painting overseas.(wishful thinking?) My husband and I want to see those places but only if we could be beamed over.

        And there is nothing more tempting than a freshly filled clean palette. Thus-the pictures in a catalogue.

  2. Vivian says:

    Oh boy! I love the fresh and untouched palette. The potential just vibrates! And I feel very lucky to get to take your “minimalist palette “workshop in Manchester!! (I am also a fan of your online classes)

    • Hi Vivian,
      That’s so exciting. We will get to meet very soon. I’m really looking forward to the symposium for my yearly dose of creative inspiration.
      See you soon!

  3. Judith F says:

    Hi Shari,
    Love your paintings and palette colors. Question: what is the brand, manufacturer of the empty palette? Thanks.

    • Hi Judith,
      The empty palette is made by FOME, and if you look online you’ll see that you can get it in different sizes, depending on how many pans you want to add.
      I picked the middle size one because I wanted something really compact.

      • Cindy says:

        HI Shari….love your work…very inspiring! I live in the U.S. and I cannot purchase this Fome palatte here. Can you post a link to the “middle size” you have pictured? Thanks…Cindy

      • Hi Cindy,
        Jerry’s Artarama has the small size and the large size but not the middle size. When I go through Google images to try and find it, the only image that comes up is the one I posted yesterday!

  4. Nancy says:

    Hi Shari…is there a reason you don’t fill your pans ? Do you bring along tubes or will that be enough paint for your travels ? Thanks..love your blog!

  5. TR Duncan says:

    YOU have no IDEA how much I LOVE this! Thank you so much… next time we need to get you to Oudewater to teach for a few days.

  6. M. L. Kappa says:

    I have a question too: why do you prefer tubes to half pans? I only use tubes at home, without the paint drying, so I’m curious…

    • Marina, I do have another palette of half pans made by Winsor Newton and they are fine but I REALLY like fresh paint from the tube because of its intensity. With half pans you always have to add some water but with fresh paint you can use little dibs and dabs of pure paint. Plus it is a lot more economical to fill the pans yourself, if you are using good quality paint.

  7. Anne says:

    Shadow green is perfect for using with the mosses and lichens and stone in western Ireland! Wish I were going…

  8. Barbara Beynon says:

    Thanks for sharing your latest travel palette. I’m looking forward to Manchester. I really like shadow green, too.

  9. Judith Cozon says:

    tempting us are you!!!!!

  10. Tonyu says:

    Arrived in Ireland today – but with just my usual nine colours! Guess I’ll just have to mend and make do. Look forward to seeing you in Galway. Safe travels.

  11. monique says:

    I love this too..:) I need to get to that store..since Sennelier is a tad far now;)

  12. Cindy says:

    Shari, can you post a link to that watercolor palette. I live in the U.S. and I am having difficulty finding it. Thanks for sharing !! Cindy

  13. TR Duncan says:

    also the shadow green by Holbein ( if that isn’t what you have in the pan version) is exquisite… I think it would work nicely with your palette.

  14. Russell says:

    Hi Shari. Nice little palette. I’m surprised though that you put color into it before the flight. I did that only once myself, and put it in my checked luggage to avoid any airport security issues and the explanations about paint vs. explosives (they get weird about that stuff at LAX), and then I never did it again. Yep, you guessed it, I arrived with multicolored pants and several shirts that are now considered abstract art (and I did pack it in a plastic bag which did explode with the pressure). Anyway, safe trip and good painting.

    • Hi Russell, I knew I would have enough time for these to dry before getting on the plane. That way I can start using them right away when I get there. If I fill them when I get there I will have the same problem with runny colours and no time to let the pans dry. I have travelled often with my palette and never had a problem at the airport so hopefully it will be the same this time. Thanks for the good wishes!

  15. Julana ys says:

    I just finally broke down and got the Alvin Heritage palette becase you and Brenda Swenson use it. :-/. :-). Have a great trip!

  16. Ooh, it looks so perfectly clean…but that won’t last for long. Thanks for sharing your color choices with us. Will this last you for the trip or are you bringing along extra color in tubes? I will have to start deciding what colors I need for my trip to Venice next month.

    • That’s funny Joan. Having seen me paint, you know how dirty my palette is. It will only look like this for a short time…
      I will have to bring along extra colour in tubes as well. I’ll be gone for three weeks so this is definitely not enough, especially of some of the colours I use often like burnt sienna.
      Have a wonderful time in Venice. One of my all time favourite cities for sure.

  17. debbietslp says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Shari! I had just purchased the same palette a few weeks ago on Amazon. Love your color choices. I’ll be joining you in Galway and going on to Manchester as well- can’t wait! The tip about filling the pans only part way is very helpful— next time I’ll do that. Right now all my pans are topped off.

  18. Helen says:

    What is the name and brand of this travel pallet?
    Have a great trip!

  19. Helen says:

    Never mind – I see you have already answered my question

  20. chrissaterrell says:

    Love your post! Did you hapen to mention the name brand of your new tiny pallet? Thanks!!

  21. sue Fenyvesi says:

    Hi, is this paint palette in your carryon, or do you have to check it?

  22. Lisa Daniels says:

    Hi Shari- I was wondering do you have any recommendations what site may sell the metal pan palates? Lisa Daniels

    • Hi Lisa,
      My art supply store here in Montreal carries these but they are hard to find online. They are made by FOME and I have seen them online but only bigger or smaller, not the same size as mine. Here they are at Jerry’s: http://www.jerrysartarama.com/empty-half-pan-box

      Hope you are well!

      • Cindy says:

        Hi Shari… I bought this same one (FOME 16 half pans) from L. Cornelissen & Son online from England. They have it listed on their website with their “brand name” as their own, but the model number matches FOME. They shipped quickly. Very happy 🙂

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