I'd like to share a technique I've started using to produce ultra-portable watercolor palettes, which I use for plein air painting, or for painting in my watercolor journal in situations where I don't want to mess with "the whole setup" (for instance, while sitting on the couch watching tv). I can also paint in very "tight" situations, where I can't pull out all of my supplies. I think this set up will be my main setup when I travel.
I owe credit to a YouTube video where this method was used with watercolor pencils as well, but I can't find the video to link here (if/when I find it, I'll add a comment).
If someone on here has already done this.... oops! sorry!
Background: I love the idea of painting plein air, but I am very self conscious about pulling out my portable pan set with the glass of water and brushes. With this method, I can paint with a 4x6" dry palette, a water brush and my Moleskine watercolor notebook
No tubes/pans of paint.
What you'll need to make the palettes:
-two small cards of thick (I use 140 lb that happens to be pre-stretched) watercolor paper. The size is not really that important but my cards are about 4x6 in. I cut them by hand from sheets of my usual paper.
-A selection of your paints in watercolor tubes.
-A blow dryer
To make the palette:
1. Take one of the cards you've cut.
2. Place a small dollop of each paint directly from the tube onto the card, equidistant from one another and from the edge of the card.
3. Take the other card and place carefully on top.
4. Apply even
pressure, but not so vigorously that the individual paints run into each other, or squeeze out the sides.
5. Pull the cards apart. You should now have little circles of paint with some space around each.
6. Allow the cards to dry. Use a blow dryer to thoroughly dry the paints in just a few minutes.
Here's a picture of what you'll end up with (one card shown, you'll end up with two cards):
How I use these little cards:
-I use a bulldog clip to attach the card to the left side of my open water color notebook and I paint on the right page. You can use another bulldog clip to hold the paper down, or use tape.
-I use a water brush. It includes a round brush and holds all the water I needed in the barrel. After this painting, my water brush was still half full of water.
-I don't carry any other brushes or water.
-I blend colors in the space between/around the little circles.
Here is a pic of what I ended up with as a finished product: the palette card (with a lot of paint still available to use), how my watercolor notebook is set up to use, the second card (still totally unused) and my water brush. I tried to paint as freely as possible, and not stingy with the paints. As you can see, there was plenty left over:
And this is the piece I painted, some of it plein air and then finished sitting at a table in a sushi restaurant:
-The size of the palette can be whatever you want.
-You can use as many colors as you want.
-When your done painting, you can just throw the palette away.
Of course, comments are invited.