Travel Palette, Santa Fe, NM

In my previous post, I showed a Peerless watercolor palette as part of my artist travel bag.

While it’s lightweight and versatile in its packaged form, I decided to lighten my load even more and use it to customize a palette specifically for the trip I am planning through West Texas and New Mexico.

Santa Fe will be my final destination, so that’s where I imagine I’ll have the most time to do some quick sketches inspired by what I see or have seen along the way.

With that in mind, I clipped these colors from the Peerless palette: Japonica Scarlet; Light Green; Brilliant Yellow; Sky Blue and Pearl Grey. While it’s not a comprehensive set, I feel it gets me off to a great start capturing the natural beauty of the southwest, and I can also blend most of the colors to make new ones. (The red and blue to capture a violet sunset, or the yellow, red and blue for adobe structures, sandy hues and many skin tones, for example.)

I used a little glue to attach them to watercolor paper stiff enough to hold up to the substantial paint squares and test swatches. This is less than one-third of a Peerless page, so not only do I have plenty of color to last a few days on the road, I have many more options to choose from or use again for the next trip!

I’ll slide this paper palette into a protective cellophane mailing sheath before packing it, to avoid damage.

Santa Fe Artist Kit

Part of the fun of traveling is putting together my artist travel kit. It differs slightly for each destination, depending on space, weather and the trip’s planned activities.

For this particular adventure, we are driving Southwest, so I made sure to have many desert-inspired colors to choose from, plus some metallics to accent. I didn’t want to include pastels or anything that might easily melt. Watercolor-infused paper and water-soluble pencils keep things versatile and compact.

Even though we will have room in the car, I travel pretty light. I keep my art supplies simple while I’m on the trip and make quick sketches or color studies to draw more involved pieces from when I’m back home. This allows me to balance making art with the fun of immersing myself in a new city. I also make a point to visit art supply stores when we travel (independent art supply stores if possible!) so if there’s something I forget or feel I must have, I have the option of purchasing it on the trip, patronizing a local business, and having an artsy souvenir.

What’s in the Bag:

Here are the basics of my next artist travel kit: (Left to Right) Strathmore 5X7 Visual Journal; Peerless Watercolor Booklet; Pentel Aquash water brush pen; 3B and 6B Staedtler Mars Lumograph charcoal pencils; HB Koh-I-Noor Toison; Silver and Gold Caran D’ache Supracolor II pencils. I pack my supplies in a Found Leather Goods portfolio bag.