Friday, 27 January 2012

Sketching in Southbourne with a new sketchbox

Southbourne Beach at 9am - 27.01.12
gouache 6x6inch sketchbook
©2011 Lisa Le Quelenec

What a beautiful morning here in Bournemouth! I've spent most of the morning sketching down on the beach and soaking up the sunshine. It's been cool with a cold breeze but warm in the sun and there has been luscious light so I have made the most of it. It's been the perfect day for road testing a new piece of kit.

I've been wanting to experiment sketching out and about with gouache. I already had tubes of them and I didn't want to buy any more but I did want them in a more portable format as losing tube lids in the sand is no joke. The other 'must' was the need for a container that was small and light. So I got to thinking....... it took a while ;o)....

There are lots of sites on t'internet where very clever people have made all sorts of very clever things out of Altoid tins. These wonderful little tins are a really good size for all sorts of inventions and just the right size for a pocket paint box. The problem was keeping the colours separate and contained.  (Although being the Mrs Messy that I am they were never going to stay scrupulously clean for long, as you can see above.) Then I hit on it. Beer bottle tops! (Kindly donated by His Nibbs) Perfect for a squidge of paint to be kept in and as luck would have it 6 bottle tops fit cozily into my mint tin. I had to wait a while for the bottle tops but the wait has been worth it.

I painted the lids inside with a couple of coats of white acrylic and whilst I was at it, the inside of the mint tin lid as it would be used for mixing and hey presto! The lids were glued in place, the paint was squidged in and dried and it was all good to go. Along with my waterbrushes it's made a nice little kit. I've only used 5 colours so far as I'm not sure what colour no.6 will need to be yet. I figure I'll work it out as I go along. So far I've got permanent white, naples yellow, burnt sienna, raw umber and primary blue.

There may be a possible problem in the future with rust and maybe I should have painted the inside of the tin and lids with enamel paint but at the time I was too impatient. I should think it'll last a good while though and for an inexpensive and quick solution it's done the job splendidly. Now I'm looking at another mint tin that's about a quarter of the size of this one and thinking four half pans of watercolour might be able to snuggle in... 


vivien said...


I do like this and I don't like many mini kits :>)


perfect fit ..neat kit lisa ..must have been an inspiring day on the beach ..lovely sketches.

Ontheroad said...

A good, good idea. May rust but then you can make another, and another and His Nibbs may drink more beer.

My one question: portable gouache, does it harden out or stay moist.

Lydie said...

I love this idea a lot, thank you for sharing it.

Jane said...

What a great idea! Recycling at its finest ! :-)

Anonymous said...

Clever girl!!!!! I envy you your morning of painting at the seaside!

Lisa Le Quelenec said...

Thanks Vivien, I'm phobic about being 'caught short' without sketching equiptment so try to have mini versions of things that can be carried at all times.

Hi Jane, thank you!

Zoe you will have made His Nibbs' day - you have found a new friend there ;o) The gouache does harden but is workable very quickly.

Thanks Lydie :o)

Hello Jane, welcome and thank you. It's nice when you can make something really useful from the things you collect that you know will come in useful one day..

Hello Maggie, it was lovely. I'm really glad I went now that we are going to have a week of much colder weather. Have you had any snow? It looked like you might in your neck of the woods.

Caroline said...

You got an amazing amount of information with the tiny brushes and post card size sketch book in your paintings. Did you complete the paintings on location, you are a brave soul to be out at the end of January by the sea wow that must have been chilly. Hope you had a hot flask of tea with you! I think wee mint tint is a great idea doesn't the paint dry out? is it watercolour? You can buy small boxes of paints was there a reason why you invented your own wee box?

Lisa Le Quelenec said...

Morning Caroline, the two little sketches were done at the beach perched on one of the groines (sea defences) facing the sun with the wind to my back. It was really warm in the sun, two days later it was a very different story - much colder. I've been watching the weather report and it looks pretty chilly where you are, hope you are keeping warm.

The paint is gouche and it does dry out but doesn't take much to get it going again. I don't really use gouache much, it's an experiment really as sometimes I want meatier colour than I can get with watercolour. So it's a way of trying it out using the paint that I've got and not spending more on materials.