Create On the Go Series – Watercolor Palette

One of the great things about watercolors is that they are easy to carry with you anywhere! You can paint in the car, in an airplane, at a cafe… Unless you choose to carry more, you need only your palette, a little water, a painting surface and a paint brush or 2.

During the spring and summer I love to take my paints into my back yard or with me to my favorite coffee cafe, where I will find a little outdoor corner table and paint while I sip coffee and maybe have lunch.

I have also painted on road trips while my husband drives, in the parking lot while I waited for my brother to do errands and while on flights to combat restless leg syndrome (for reasons i do not understand, painting helps keeps restless leg syndrome at bay).

I try to keep everything I need inside my palette or in a small pouch and during the spring and summer, I keep a backpack of art supplies ready at all times so I can grab & go.

For these kinds of excursions, I find 4×6 or 6×8 watercolor blocks to be the most convenient painting surface.

I usually bring 2 watercolor blocks, so that while a painting is drying on 1 block, I can paint another painting on the 2nd block.

My watercolor block of choice is Fluid Brand Hot Press Watercolor Block by Speedball Art Products.

Available in most art stores, Staples online and on Amazon

I reccomend packing your watercolor palette with some kind of padding so that when closed, if it gets flipped over, the paints will not fall out. I learned this myself the hard way and once you get used to putting the padding in, it is simply second nature.

This is how I pad my paint palette for travel and what I carry with me:

If carrying one of my larger palettes, I store an aqua brush, a pencil, an eraser, a spray bottle of distilled water and detail brush directly inside my palette.

First, I cover my palette with baker’s Parchment Paper (I use Reynolds and have not tried any other brands). The purpose of the parchment paper is to reduce sticking of your damp watercolors to whatever padding you use.

From my experience, I found that parchment works better than tracing paper or wax paper for this purpose.

Of course, it’s best to let the paints dry before covering them but I always keep the parchment paper in the palette, that way if I am in a hurry, I will not find my paints sticking to the padding when I get home and open the paints to dry.

Next, I add a layer of padding that completely fills the palette.

For this I use absorbent paper towels. I use paper towels for 2 reasons. #1 they work well, meaning, if the palette gets flipped in transport, the paint pans stay in place and #2 they double of a paint brush blotter if I forget napkins, paper towels or a small blotting rag.

Finally, as an added precaution, I use a book band or rubber band around my tin to insure that it does not pop open!

I learned all of this the hard way, so I hope these tips help you preserve your watercolors and help you avoid playing watercolor 52 pick up!

Coming soon! What I carry in my travel art pouch


Published by sharietomlinson

I’m Sharie. Owner of Butterfly Bunny Studio. Mixed Media Watercolor Artist, Bunny & Disney Lover, Gardener, Proud Mother to Josh, Bunny Momma to Princess Buttercup Bunny and Wifey to Jason. I am located in Columbia, Md but I’m a Harford County girl at heart! You can find me on Etsy at and on Instagram at @notjoshsmom Email me at

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