All you need, sort of

This week my sketching kit is quite minimal and in yesterday’s post I promised a photo of my beach setup.

Today I remembered to snap an image before I sketched because I wanted a clean palette, instead of the muddy one I end up with at the end of the day.

In my knapsack you’ll find:
* two little water containers (one is a small Nalgene bottle, the other is an emptied pill bottle from the drugstore)
* a mini spray bottle for wetting my pigments
* a good quality travel brush (if it has a good point and holds lots of wash then one is all you need). This one is made by Da Vinci
* a black pen, waterproof, in this cases a Pitt pen
* a mechanical pencil (this one is from Muji)
* a travel palette (this one is made by Fome and I’ve adapted it to hold 23 colours) When closed it is about the size of my iPhone.
* a good quality sketchbook of your choice (this is a Handbook Watercolour Journal, 9″ x 12″)

There are two essential items I forgot to include in the photo but they were in my bag: a bulldog clip (or two) to hold the pages in case of wind, and a few paper towels to clean the palette or wipe up spills.

With all of the above, I can sketch anywhere, as long as I can find a place to sit.
Today we went to Captiva Island where I had the luxury of a chair to sit on and some great models on the beach.

38 Comments on “All you need, sort of”

  1. ksbeth says:

    how wonderful. sounds like a perfect day

  2. great stuff; love your work(have your book and craftsy courses too!). Just want to confirm that the sketch book in photo is 9×12? …seems smaller in scale with brush and palette??

    • Hi Bruce. Thanks for writing. Good catch about the size. I just checked and the portrait format that I’m using ( which is the biggest size) is a more like 8 1/4 x 10 1/2. It’s a perfect size and weight for what I like to do although I have filled up many square format books by the same manufacturer.

  3. Susan B says:

    Love you style and am enjoying your “City” class on Please explain your system of using your 2 little containers of water. My problem when I go out is that my water container gets so dirty so quickly…… so I bring a Large container of water that’s heavy. I just don’t understand how you (and many other Urban Sketchers) can function with so little water. I’m obviously missing something…. help !!!

    • Hi Susan. Thanks for writing. Here’s the trick with the water: every time you want to pick up a new colour, swish your brush around in the dirty water first. That will rinse off the dirty pigment. Then rinse it again in the clean water. That way the dirty water stays dirty and the clean stays clean and you always have a clean container of water.

  4. Sue McKee says:

    You are amazing. And thank you for so much information and instruction. Sue McKee

  5. Carole Duncan-Higham says:

    Hello Shari…Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful sketches and drawings. Like all your other followers I always look forward to seeing what you have painted and I especially enjoy seeing the sights of Montreal through your eyes. The snow scenes are magical to me as I live in the tropical parts of Australia and it’s all sun and surf and steamy days this time of year…well…most of the year actually!. I totally agree with Susan in her comment above about the small containers of water and how is it possible to keep it clean! I too would appreciate any help to overcome this issue.
    Wishing you a restful and peaceful and creative holiday.
    Blessings from Carole.

    • Hi Carole! Thanks so much for writing. Always a thrill to hear from people on the other side of the world. Here’s the trick with the water: every time you want to pick up a new colour, swish your brush around in the dirty water first. That will rinse off the dirty pigment. Then rinse it again in the clean water. That way the dirty water stays dirty and the clean stays clean and you always have a clean container of water.

      • Carole Duncan-Higham says:

        Thank you so much Shari.
        Guess I have to be very mindful with the use of the 2 different waters until it becomes a natural habit. Might take a while!
        Thank you again for taking the time to answer our questions. Your thoughtfulness is very much appreciated.

      • Carole, it does take some getting used to if you want to keep the water clean but you’ll get the hang of it.

  6. Hi Shari,
    Just wanted to say a great big thank you for all the things that you share with us throughout the year. Always willing to explain in detail techniques, materials and your thoughts.
    Enjoy your holiday in the sunshine and all the best for the new year, to you and your family!

  7. Bernadette says:

    Love the beach sketch…so simply stated and beautifully done.

  8. Judy Sopher says:

    Wonderful beach scene. Been a long time since I have seen a beach.

    I have questions: What size brush? Also, what number pen? My favorite now is a Micron 5. This may be a dumb one but if you can just photograph your work and post it, why use a scanner?And last –how many hours to fly to Florida from Montreal. Must be a long flight .

  9. judy fine says:

    Hello Shari, I loved your craftsy courses and learned a lot from you! It was so funny to see the lighthouse picture the last post, as I was used to seeing your winter scenes. Loved the Sanibel-Captiva paintings. This is where I live, your pictures continue to inspire me each time. Enjoy this especially warm and mild winter in paradise.

    • Hi Judy, thanks so much for writing! So glad you liked the classes. I’m having so much painting in Sanibel but in a couple of weeks I’ll be back in the snow. But in the meantime I will enjoy every minute that I’m here.

  10. Monique says:

    I have ALL that:) Yet nothing I paint looks like what you paint:(
    Loving your beach scenes!I find when I scan..everything is off..:(
    LOve your people and their poses..
    So glad to NOT see a ghetto blaster.

  11. TonyU says:

    For some who works wonders with triads twenty-three colours seems a lot for travelling light … but you are on holiday and half pans weigh hardly anything at all! 😀

  12. Julana says:

    I am green with jealousy.😐And not over your painting skills.😃

  13. Linda says:

    Shari, your beach scenes are spot on! They are so colorful and I feel like I am there. I love how you capture each person and what they are doing. I can’t stop smiling 👍 Thank you for all the information you send our way.

  14. joantav says:

    Thanks for the photo. Looks like you have it all…and the perfect location to go sketching.

  15. Felicia says:

    If you have time between enjoying the sunshine and painting would love to know specifically what colors are in your palette? Drink in the sunshine and enjoy!

      • Susan B says:

        Here are the colors that you listed in your blog. What brands are these Shari?

        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).

      • Susan, I am travelling and don’t have all these tubes with me. I’ll try to answer your question when I return. Cheers, Shari

      • Susan B says:

        Thank you Shari !! Absolutely no rush…. enjoy your vacation !! I use primarily Winsor & Newton and Daniel Smith with a few M. Graham thrown in. However….. of all of the watercolorists and Urban Sketchers that I have followed, I love your use of colors best. So clean… so pure… so lively……

      • Felicia says:

        Shari, Thanks so much for taking time away from your vacation to send me this link! Enjoy the warmth. It’s 7 below zero here today and I think that will be our high. We head to Florida on Wednesday and I’m looking forward to the sun shining warmly.

  16. Love what you see in front of you that you capture so magically on the page.

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