Sunday 22 October 2017

Daniel Smith Watercolour Stick Palette

Cigarette case hack - now a watercolour palette :-) 
I am back home after a fabulous road trip down and up the West Coast of the US, and while I was away I received many questions about some photos I showed on Instagram (@janeblundellart) of a cigarette case that I turned into a watercolour stick palette. I'll give the details here. 

As I've said in other posts, the advantage of sticks is that they are all the same price regardless of series number and that they are a convenient way to transport watercolours. I think of them as pre-dried watercolour - convenient to just cut a piece off and add to a palette as needed. 

I don't choose to draw with them, though of course you could. Just keep them in a sealed environment, especially in humid countries, so they don't absorb moisture and become soft.

The colours are similar to what I would normally use in tube watercolour, though some of my favourites are not available as sticks. 

Buff Titanium
Hansa Yellow Medium (or use Hansa Yellow Light for a lemon yellow)
Hansa Yellow Deep (optional)
Quinacridone Gold

Organic Vermilion (since there isn't a Pyrrol Scarlet stick)
Permanent Alizarin (since there isn't a Pyrrol Crimson stick)
Quinacridone Red (since there isn't Quinacridone Rose stick)
Piemontite Genuine (since there isn't an Indian Red stick)

Cerulean Chromium
Phthalo Blue GS

Phthalo Green BS
Undersea Green
Sap Green
Serpentine Genuine

Yellow Ochre (since there isn't a goethite stick)
Burnt Sienna
Burnt Umber (since there isn't a Raw Umber stick - this is one I'd really like to see added - I love raw umber!)
Sodalite Genuine (instead of Jane's Grey)

Daniel Smith watercolour sticks used to create a 19 colour palette - no pans needed.

To take it up to 20 colours you could add Indanthrone Blue - a gorgeous rich deep blue, or rich Green Gold - a very green-yellow, or Graphite Grey - a graphite watercolour that is fascinating to use, or raw sienna - I often like to have yellow ochre and raw sienna as extras as well as my favourite goethite since the pigments PY43 and PBr7 mix differently.

A larger palette might fit 24 colours so I'd add the above colours and perhaps Quinacridone Burnt Orange as the 24th. There are 51 sticks to choose from (Update - 62 sticks in 2024. You can see them here)

I have simply wet the bottom of each 1cm of watercolour stick and pressed them into the re-purposed palette, which was an early 1900s cigarette case. Provided they are used with care, and not too much water, this palette is a compact and simple one to use. For an even more thorough seal with the palette, put a drop of glycerine or gum arabic on the bottom of each dampened stick, wait a moment, then press into place.

2024 - see a short video here.

Happy painting :-)