Well, where do I begin? If you recall, at last correspondence I was leaving for a painting cruise (sponsored by the Decorative Artists of Jacksonville, FL). I was really looking forward to it, but worried about the mystery swim trunks my husband bought at the last minute. I know you are wondering about that situation. All of the ladies on the cruise were also wondering about that situation! Ha!

They whispered queries into my ear about the ‘great reveal’, so to speak.

You’re expecting a photo? The picture I had in my own mind of what might be in that bag was…well, ummm…let’s just skip ahead…

As it happens, the swim trunks did not appear until day 3 when we docked in Key West. They were tasteful, modest and stylish. Phew. I was off the hook!


As it also happens, we were on a Carnival Cruise, where the fun never ends and waiters dance for you after dinner. You can see what’s coming, can’t you? Those of you who were there are already snickering. I swear that no wine whatsoever was consumed at our table in the meal prior to this event.

The lights go down…the waiters come out into the isles and begin to dance something they called, the “LOW-LOW…how LOW can you go”. When Milos, our waiter, beckoned my husband to join the line of waiters in the aisle, did I think he would go?

Was I surprised when he got on his feet spurred on by hoots and hollers of ladies at the surrounding tables? Was I shocked when he got down LOW?

Not nearly as shocked as when he actually got back up again from the Low-Low. And doubly surprised when a lady from one of the tables stuck a dollar in his pants!

Saved from the swim trunks, only to be foiled by after dinner activities.

All in all it was good fun and a lot of laughing. Thanks so much, Sandi Adams and group for inviting me. (I think you’re a dollar short, aren’t you)?


This month we are talking about how to get ready for a ‘journey’ workshop—a painting holiday! What do you take? Is there a lot of expense and preparation involved? More importantly, what skills do you need to be part of such a group?

Every artist has their own idea about what to take, plein air or not. Here is mine: travel LIGHT, pack the SMALLEST and the least of everything. It is not fun to haul around a bunch of stuff.

I WILL GIVE YOU AN ENTIRE LIST OF EVERYTHING AT THE END, SO THAT YOU CAN TUCK IT AWAY INTO YOUR SKETCHBOOK. You know, the one you’re saving for your painting holiday? If you dream it, it can happen!

The first thing on the list is a PALETTE:


I’ve been asked many times how I set up my watercolor palette. So, here you go…here’s how I do it.

First, I’ve begun to use my travel palette (that I take overseas to workshops) all of the time. It’s so much lighter and easier to pack! If you are looking for a good studio palette I can recommend the Flo (or Premier) Palette.

TT020414-3Pictured on the left are two choices. I have both of them, filled with the same colors. They are both plastic.

The bottom one is small enough to fit into my specially designed plein air travel bag. It is ironically named “folding plastic palette” item number #13461 from Jerry’s Artarama. Around $5.00.

The top palette is the Mijello bullet-proof glass palette. I’m trying this one out for the first time in Italy later this month.

Both palettes have many wells for paint colors. Although I can mix many colors from just a few, I really enjoy having special “different” colors on my palette. They are just plain fun.

  1. TT020414-1Before I use a new palette, I like to use a bit of Soft Scrub to take the slickness from the new surface. Just put a bit onto the surface, rub it around a bit, and then rinse it off thoroughly.
  2. I fill up the wells with my favorite colors. With both of these palettes, I have extra empty spots. My ‘regular’ colors fill up only a portion of it, so that leaves empty spaces for special colors, or future choices. When you fill the wells, place the tube over the deep end and squeeze color in until it’s entirely filled. Don’t be skimpy! There’s no waste with watercolor, so put in that color. In the photo you can see that all of the wells are filled.
  3. Let the palette sit out and open for several days, so that the paint can dry to the touch. Once it’s dry to the touch, you can feel free to close the lid.

You can see that my palette has been well used.


My palette changes from time to time. There are several colors that I’ve used since the beginning. I like to place all of those in a row, side by side, starting at the top space. When they’re all on the palette, I place any ‘special’ colors into missing spots. Later, if I enjoy them so much that I want them to become a part of my permanent palette, I may fit them into the place they belong. What I mean by this is…..a blue would go with the other blues, red with the other reds, etc.

Here are my colors as they are laid out on my palette. All colors are Winsor & Newton unless otherwise specified.

Winsor Blue (red shade), Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Pthalo Turquoise, Cerulean Blue, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Quinacridone Burnt Orange (Daniel Smith), Brown Madder, Quinacridone Red/Winsor Red, Cadmium Orange, Oprah, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Raw Sienna, Quinacridone Gold, New Gamboge, Paynes Gray, Winsor Violet.

‘Special’ colors are added after these and they currently are:

Sennelier Helios Purple, Carmine, Transparent Yellow, Olive Green/Prussian Blue share a spot. Holbein Lilac/Lavendar, Holbein Horizon Blue/Cobalt Turquoise.

The ‘special’ colors are ones that I just want to try, or think I might like. Or something opaque that caught my eye. I only add them if I have room on my palette, though. I can live without them if need be.

That’s it for getting a palette ready.

Remember: SMALL, LIGHT filled to the top with color. If you do this you can leave your tubes of paint at home!

30 day challenge

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