Another Little Paintbox . . .

DH asked me the other day whether I liked making art or making art supply kits better. He has a point and I am not sure of the answer. There is something about “sets” of stuff that gets to me.

I got another Dick Blick catalog in the mail and they have a sale on a special paintbox from Schminke, my all time favorite watercolor brand. They are expensive. This was an 18 half pan set for less than the usual 12 half pan set. So I got all starry-eyed and started figuring out how I could afford it.

Thank heavens for that occasional voice of reason. It said “I think, if you go and find the scattered Schminke half pans you already own, you won’t need this new set.”

So I did, and I didn’t.

I already had 12 of the colors in that advertised set, and 14 more colors I had purchased individually.

Then the voice of reason, chuckling to itself with that told-you-so attitude, said that perhaps I should keep them together in one place. YIPPEE! A chance to make a new paint box!

This time I started with a box like this . . .

These are Opaque Watercolor Paints by Lukas. This same box is put out by Grumbacher as well, but they are more expensive and the cover is opaque. They are nice paints. Vivian Swift used the Grumbacher brand for all her small paintings in her book, When Wanders Cease to Roam, which I still think is one of the best art journals ever put together. And the price is down to a shocking $8 at Amazon (was $19.99)

Here is the best price I could find on the Lukas set at Amazon (actually shipped by Jerry’s Artorama):

Lukas Opaque Watercolors

So, I didn’t throw out these paints, of course. But they are double decker and I thought it would be better if I could see all 24 colors at once.

So, I put them in a colored pencil box I had emptied by putting the colored pencils in one of the Global Arts leather pencil cases.

You are starting to see why DH asked the question, right? But I know you fellow artists understand this kind of thing.

There. Now, I feel right about where the colored pencils are and where the opaque watercolors are, AND . . . I have an empty paintbox for my Schminke Half Pans (remember that was what started this all?)

I use that strong redline double stick tape to attach my Schminke half pans to the bottom of the box in two rows, and then add a third row of some pans I filled myself from some favorite Old Holland and Daniel Smith tube colors.

I made a color chart on 300lb watercolor paper cut to fit inside the box, and there is still room inside for three sizes of brushes and a plastic palette!

To pack it up, I put the palette over the paint (handy when the paint is wet) and the color chart on top of that. I even have room to put my waterbrush on top of that if I want (as you saw at the top of this post).

I just love this set because it is compact and comprised of just my favorite colors. And I now know where my Schminke watercolor pans are!


Your response to the Back to School Sale has been pretty amazing and that makes me happy. Many of you have asked for an extension, and because I have just managed to squeeze the Panpastel Workshop in under the wire (see the sidebar), I am extending the Sale through the Labor Day Weekend – through Monday, September 5.

To summarize for any newcomers, all my WHENEVER Workshops are 25% OFF through Monday. The discount will be taken in the Shopping Cart when you put Back to School in the Coupon Code box at checkout. If for any reason, that does not work, don’t worry, I will apply the discount before processing your charge.

Here is the Page of Whenever Workshops to choose from (or you can find them in the Sidebar of the blog).


13 thoughts on “Another Little Paintbox . . .

  1. jessica Post author

    Ny web software has been giving me fits. The new PanPastel page should reflect the face that it is a WHENEVER Workshop now.

    AND the discount code should work too!

    Where did I put that Excedrin?!

  2. Mary Jane

    Great post Jessica! I have a quick question….where can I purchase that paintbrush that holds water that you show in one of the photos above? That looks like a handy dandy little tool to have!!

  3. Jane Kimball

    I love that your continually searching for the perfect travel kit. I’m in the process of trying to make my workroom “perfect”. If I could just figure out what to do will all the wonderful stuff that I don’t use…..does anyone out there have any suggestions??

    The paint kit looks perfect. Way to go….

  4. Timaree

    Drat! I threw that tin away finally. It does make a great place for those paints. I like the single layer better.

    I put the color sampler on the bottom of my palette with packing tape. That way it’s laminated and out of the way at the same time yet if I need to refill, I know just what color to add back in.

  5. Hermineh Miller

    Hi Jessica,

    Two questions for you:
    1. I remember you made a traveling watercolor palette with Sheer Heaven, I think.
    How do I do that ? (Sieve like brain today)
    2. Do you use a fixative for Pan Pastels? If you do what brand do you use?

  6. jessica Post author

    Timaree – never throw those tins out! They are SO useful. I like your laminated color chart idea – but I don;t have room in the bottom of this box if want to keep the brushes in there.

    Hermineh, I have been asked several times about the traveling Sheer Heaven palette and I am going to republish that article here as soon as I find it. It’s an idea whose time has certainly come around again!

  7. Sandra LoCastro

    Jessica I love the idea and you are so right about artists’ understanding your obsession of having to get every set of whatever there is. I think I own every kind of tape, glue and pencil out there. A girl can never have enough and there is the right product for the right material, glass, paper, metal, you name it. We are also there will just the right thing when our hubby needs something special to do a project. Why? Because we stock up on all supplies and never want to run out. I’m happy my husband still loves me despite my addiction.

  8. Vicky Williamson

    LOL — I TOTALLY understand! Sometimes just rearranging my paints in a new configuration, with various travel kits for different purposes, is so satisfying!
    And this new kit is fabulous!

  9. Connie Cohn

    I love seeing how you made that new box (and the roundabout way you got there). I’m totally in sympathy with those acquiring and kit-making impulses.

    I’ve begun collecting boxes and containers of all sorts. A.C. Moore is selling out all its small Royal Langnickel sets for $2 each (less if you go when they have a coupon that discounts your entire purchase as well); they come in lovely metal boxes that hold six pencils and an eraser – or can be emptied to hold a bunch of half pans (I haven’t checked to see how many). I’m currently making up small sets to try out for all sorts of purposes. I have one with a Botanical Drawing class pencil set and one with cool and warm primaries for Cathy Johnson’s new Watercolor Pencil mini-class. (And one of the boxes stays as-is, with Royal Langnickel’s own watercolor pencil set.) I’m labeling everything with erasable Avery labels in case I want to change the contents.

    To Jane Kimball: if you’re not going to use those wonderful things, I’m sure I could help out by taking a few off your hands. [lol] Also: look up your local freecycle (start with and you’ll find someone nearby who will be delighted to pick up what you don’t need any longer. Craigslist, too. Other happy recipients: art teachers and librarians who run workshops at under-funded public schools; daycare centers; local museums and galleries and arts centers that reach out to local kids regardless of income; senior centers and daycares; nursing homes — I’m sure you can think of more. Or you could make up fun packages and think up a project to post on your website with a giveaway for some lucky participant.

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