I´ve been looking for years for the perfect outdoor sketching watercolour box, but either the boxes are too big or the mixing surfaces are too small. I always end up modifying my boxes a lot, but they still don´t really work the way I want them to. So I decided to go for it and order a handmade Pocket box from the Paintbox Company in England.
Now, to me this is a very expensive paintbox, I really thought twice before placing my order, but I figured it would be worth it since I probably wouldn´t have to buy another box EVER. The description of this box on the homepage sounded just like the thing I was looking for – small but not too tiny to hold in a steady grip, with room for the luxury of 16 colours and a lot of mixing space for a small box.
There is a long queue for these boxes, I think I waited almost two and a half months for mine, but it was worth the wait. I´m incredibly happy with it so far. A tiny review:
The box is sturdy, the mixing space is perfectly enough for me – you can remove the whole tray of colours in the box, if you want to use the mixing surface under there too. There´s a strong ring underneath for holding the box (unlike those thin and wobbly ones on all the boxes I bought before), and I can change a single colour if I like since I chose the model with room for half pans (slightly bigger box than the one for tube colours). I´ve read some reviews on these boxes, and one or two mentioned the weight as a minus, and it isn´t as lightweight as the thin metal boxes you can buy from all art suppliers. To me that´s not a problem – it´s a very small addition to the weight I´m always carrying around in my bag anyway – to others it may be something to take into consideration.
The only minus to me, and it´s only a “cosmetical” one, is a little brass plate that looks a little unpolished on the lid of the box (not pictured here). These boxes come with your initials on a plate on the lid. I didn´t quite like the look of the initials, and I didn´t really want them there no matter how they looked, so I chose not to have them there. But for some reason the initial plate is on the lid anyway, though empty, and the edges of it are a bit rough. After using the box, I found that the plate actually helps holding the box firmly fastened in the water container (I don´t know if that was the thought behind it, but it does), so it fills a function anyway, but it looks a little less worked on than the rest of the box.
The colour mixing chart in this post is something I always do with my watercolour palettes when I change colours in them. I like trying to mix all colours with all others at least once, just to see what combinations I get. Of course a mixing chart like this is not at all complete – you can mix two colours in so many different proportions, and this chart just shows one. Still, it gives an idea of where I can go with this particular choice of colours. I often find new surprising combinations, and some interesting grays when I do these charts. From here I go on to examine a few of those mixes a little closer, trying out different proportions of the two pigments in the mix, for example.