Treasure box

At Christmas we were sent a box of shortbread. Although the shortbread was delicious, the box was even better – much too good to throw away. So it sat on my shelf, waiting. Finally, I knew what I wanted to do with it. A quick scavenge in the garden, a little blue ink, a touch of gold paint and gold leaf and hey presto!

So, from left to right we have a sprig from a plant of which I don’t know the name, a sycamore leaf, a dove’s feather, a portion of monkey puzzle tree and a skeleton holly leaf. All imperfect beauties salvaged for posterity. I just wish my handwriting was a bit more… perfect.

Travelling Light(ish)

Travelling kit My travelling kit for watercolour sketching hasn’t changed too much since I first started outdoors in 2012.

My trusty Windsor & Newton paintbox goes in a zippable plastic bag, alongside three brushes of varying grades, a pencil, sharpener, putty rubber, waterbrush, fine permanent fibretip pen, sponge and water pen. I’ve usually also got a bottle of drinking water with me anyway, which doubles as painting water which I decant into a small plastic pot. A couple of pieces of kitchen roll are useful, and if space and weight are no object I’ll also include water-soluble coloured pencils – because you never know! I’ve yet to learn the art of true minimalism.

Add to this kit the watercolour pad, and I’m ready. I have to admit that choosing a pad is difficult, because I normally don’t know what will take my fancy during the course of the trip. I generally go for a Bockingford or Montval, as I like the texture. Paper size can be tricky too; A6 to A4 are fine, but any bigger and it won’t fit in the backpack. Good to go – just the slight matter of capturing a picture remains!