My palette has arrived, I have finished making my first sketchbook and I painted my “homepage”.


The brass palette is handmade and engraved by Craig Young in England. Not cheap, so it meant saving seriously for a few months, which I did religiously. It folds open to hold 16 colours, with mixing pans on either side and at the bottom(not seen), is a ring to hook your thumb through. A brass container to hold water hooks onto the side.


My colours I put in there for now are(from left to right) Naples yellow, Cadmium yellow, yellow ochre(apology, I painted raw umber instead of yellow ochre in the picture!),  raw umber, alizaron crimson, cadmium red, burnt sienna, burnt umber, olive green, hooker’s green, ceruleam blue, kobalt blue, french ultramarine, prussian blue, payne’s gray, ivory black. I do play with other colours which I’ll just drop onto the mixing pan. I don’t need a big mixing area, since I prefer mixing directly on paper.


My sketchbook is 19x25cm, which I find ideal for me…big enough to do landscape and architectural sketches and I can do a few quick smaller sketches all on one page and it fits perfectly into my bag(see photo above). I also decided not to cut the paper, but to tear them(See photo below) – I like the ruffle edges they make, it  resembles watercolour sheets. I love the rustic, handmade look for a sketchbook.


Along with my palette, I have in my sketchbag a pencil, a rotring pen(.25) a tiny spraybottle to wet the paint, and a travel petit gris brush, size 0. I also got a great idea from Mel Stabin(my favourite watercolour artist)..and started using an old kitchen spatula, with the handle broken off to lift out some whites, which works great, along with an exacto knife which does the same thing, just much sharper highlights.



And here is my “homepage”. I covered my hard outcover on the inside with watercolour paper(Arches CP,185g) as well and painted my “homepage” over the whole of the two first pages. The scene is the back of our home and part of the neighbours, painted from the terrace. I thought it would be a fitting opening in my sketchbook. Now off to start making the rest of my books, with an alteration here and there…maybe embossing my name on the cover and adding an elastic that folds over from the back(like the moleskine)


38 thoughts on “Sketch book and palette

  1. Hello, just love your new paint box and supplies. This painting you did is wonderful/ Every time I come to your wonderful sight its so magical for me. I myself I,m teaching myself WC and its been a long road but with wonderful places to go like youre sight it helps so much so thank-you so.
    Can you please have some info on painting it would be so great. I wished I lived over seas you have so many wonderful art supplies that we hear do not have.
    Thank-you again for your time.
    My email is not working at this time.

  2. Ronell, these are wonderful new things…especially the paint box! Like your painting of the houses in the neighbourhood, too! Have fun with your new art supplies!

  3. You are such an inspiration!! Your lovely, lively paintings, your gracious life-style, your charming and thoughtful prose! Every post is a treat! Thank you . . .

  4. So nice to have you back, Ronell! I’ve missed your lovely paintings and artwork and the inspiration they provide. It’s interesting to see what colors you chose for your new brass palette and it’s very fun to get a peek at your neighborhood.

  5. Ronell — what a FUN, portable, and exquisite set of travel companions!!! So beautiful — and the way you use them — DIVINE!!!! I love your sketches, cara .. if I ever come close to your loose, painterly style I will have not lived in vain!! BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL!!

  6. Aren’t new art supplies inspiring?? I can only imagine how having your monogram on ones paint box would simply put one into orbit.

    I like the idea of a “home page”. Yours truly is a “home” page. Girl you are just full of inspiration today. 🙂

  7. What a wonderful post – all my favourite things! Beautiful ‘Ronell’ watercolour, fabulous new sketchbook (and you’ve got the ‘dreaded’ first page out of the way quick smart 😉 – wonderful new art supplies. What more could one ask? You petit gris travel brush is gorgeous too. Now all you need to do is set your nav. sat. for Tuscany!

    I’m trying so hard not to be envious of that little brass box 🙂

    Now perhaps you could share your sketchbook making process on the next one. Casey’s tutorial was awesome but I’m never going to have access to all the equipment she used.

  8. I’ve been thinking about those Craig Young palettes! How is it? What advantages does it have over, say, the Schmincke one? Albany Wiseman had a fantastic palette in Provence in September, with rather huge compartments and I coveted it,without knowing what I was coveting! After some internet research, I came upon the Craig Young site. I imagine Albany’s is custom-made from Young, but I’m not sure. As beautiful as it is, I couldn’t justify getting one for myself unless it had some practical advantage, so do, please, let us know your thoughts! Your homepage is completely charming (as are you ;D.) And now, we’re all in for some more fantastic Ronell paintings!

  9. New art supplies, hurrah! And what a gorgeous opening spread, Ronell. You must have squealed with delight at the arrival of that little brass box … I have just a black W&N bijou-style box and am in love with it.

  10. i find the ‘homepage’ of a sketchbook to be the hardest one. the pages look so pristine and immaculate that adding the first stroke can feel intimidating. you’re off to such a good start for your sketchbook with this spread!

  11. Ooh, it’s all so delicious. Excellent homepage painting, Ronelle, and that brass palette is excellent. Use them all in good health and creativity.

  12. Mon cher, tres beau!!!! What a fine job you did on making your new sketchbook. See, once you know the terminology the rest is easy!!!! What beautiful new art supplies as well. And the home page, well leave it to you to come up with something so wondrous! I think you should pack your new supplies up and come visit me! The studio guest room awaits! What magic would go on here as we sipped sangria and ate chocolates!

  13. Ronell, I love your sketching kit full of such wonderful, inspiring supplies. The colors I keep in my palette are almost identical to yours! Now if only my paintings had the energy yours did. Your homepage is gorgeous!!

    Have you ever taken a workshop from Mel Stabin? I was lucky enough to take one of his (with my dad) when I was just starting out. I knew so little about watercolor at the time that I’m sure I did not get as much out of it as I should have. But it was a great experience none-the-less. He is a very nice guy and a good teacher.

  14. What a lovely treasure! I so enjoy my tools that are beautifully made and work really well. I really enjoyed seeing your sketchbook and homepage of your home. I actually like your work better than Mel Stabin’s. I attended a lecture/demo by him at my local watercolor association and had a chance to see his work up close and in person and it wasn’t quite my cup of tea.

  15. I love your super-fresh work – especially the splashy oil sketches and your ‘home-page’, and your art kit gives me a little ache of want in my belly! Hope you have a wonderful trip back here to South Africa (hope the weather improves for you – it’s dismal)

  16. Oh Ronnel you lusty woman – How I envy you – such talent! I thank you for the link, as I may just have to save up for that pallet myself – it will make me a better painter – right?? And the travels ahead – ahhh – I can dream and you better paint and post so we can all come along!!

  17. Thank you to everybody for your encouragement.
    Linda…could you contact me, if you read here again? I don’t know how to get in contact with you and I would like to pass on some information to you about painting.

  18. Love your blog, all of them, and I’ve just finished my 3rd Mel Stabin workshop and googled blogs with his name and found yours. Great info on how you sketch and materials used. I’ve been keeping a journal with just small entries for each day to highlight something in my day. I’ve posted a slide show on my blog of Mel’s recent paintings if you’d care to visit. I’ll be back to visit yours for sure. ns

  19. Just ordered a Craig Young “Sketchers” palette and can hardly wait…I understand it is a rather long wait for delivery. I didn’t see an answer as to how you like your new wonderful palette. Is it everything you expected??

  20. Hi Ronel

    I am interested in buying a Craig Young palette and found this page – this is like ‘arriving’ I think. I see you have the ‘sketchers box’. Very cool. I like your homepage painting.

    I enjoy your work


Tthank you for your visit and comment, II appreciate it!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s