Discovering Portable Watercolors

One thing that’s oddly caught my attention is watercolor painting. In the past I’ve dismissed it as childish.1 But as I’ve been rediscovering my artistic side, I’ve been captivated by the simplicity and beauty2 of watercolors.

The thing that really sold me on the idea of picking up a brush was the existence of small, portable watercolor kits. With just two items, the watercolors and a sketchbook, I can paint most anywhere. There’s no need for a large desk or studio space. They pack small enough for a large pocket.

I don’t think I would be as interested if I needed a large kit. En plein air (outdoor) painting is one of those things that I’ve missed out on in the past. It’s time to catch up.

So with some Amazon credit in my account from a recent return, I bought a watercolor sketchbook and a set of paints in field box.

Today I tested them out, and found that I really enjoyed the colors. The paints are from a Japanese company and seem to have more pop than US/Euro colors.

Here’s the color swatches that I painted onto the first page of my sketchbook:

A color test in the front of my sketchbook.
A color test in the front of my sketchbook.

Pictured:

The included waterbrush is something that simply makes the kit. With the water in the brush, there’s no need to have a cup open. There’s little chance of a spill happening, and everything fits in the box.

This is all new to me, and I’m still learning about how watercolors work. It’s also a little scary, seeing how there’s not really a way to fix watercolor mistakes. It’d be less scary if the paper wasn’t so expensive.

We’re still having 110°F days here in Phoenix, so my first en plein air paintings will be done in air conditioned air!


  1. I take full credit for shackling myself with this belief. I projected my own failings onto a medium and paid the price. ↩︎
  2. I recently saw some Georgia O’Keeffs at the Phoenix Art Museum and was blown away. ↩︎