Watercolour caravans

As part of my ongoing project to use up my sketchbooks and paint/draw more, I started a project at the beginning of August, called the caravans. I had a handful of Sennelier Urban sketchbooks with the green cover, accordion, so I decided I would do caravans. I’ve done a bunch of caravans in the past (in fact, found a few more in the “Missing” sketchbook today) but this was a sketchbook Just For Caravans but with a few pages less than is in sketchbook Just for Lighthouses, of which I will write later.

Anyway, basically, the accordion sketchbook is a single page and no doubt, when I eventually get good at comic strips, I’ll regret using what is no doubt going to be impossible to get in a few years time on something as trivial as caravans. Either way I intend to paint both sides of the sketchbook and am half way through the entire process. Here are some of the caravans todate:


I think this is my favourite ambiance so far. The van isn’t perfect but I just love the sky.

I learned a lot from this one too.

You can find the rest of the caravans here for the time being.

Caravans represent freedom to me and I’m fascinated to see how much art there is flowing around now. Especially of Airstreams. I liked the Airstream vibe so wanted to make one look a bit Airstreamy but I think it came out steampunkish instead.

Anyway, I expect this project to be finished in a few weeks’ time although who knows given the way my time management goes.

Breithorn – Valais

Breithorn, Valais, Switzerland
Breithorn in watercolour

I was in Zermatt in Switzerland a couple of times last year. It’s a lovely part of the world and there are a lot of things to do and see there. The highest profile mountain in the area is, of course, the Matterhorn, star of Toblerone wrappers amongst other things.

Brussels to Zermatt is about 8 hours, depending on how much time you want to waste in Geneva. I usually have a run into the city and target arriving in Zermatt in time for dinner. I’ve generally arrived too late for Apfelstrudel from Fuchs Bakery. The train journey from Geneva to Zermatt is one of the most beautiful train journeys I have done more than once. It’s an InterCity to Brig – with a change in Visp onto the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn. The journey to Visp, with Swiss Railways is mostly along the banks of Lake Geneva, and it is gorgeous. At the northern end of the lake, the mountains on the eastern side rise like cliffs. The lake is a gorgeous colour and then, outside Montreux, you have the Chateau de Chillon. The south eastern end of Switzerland is a truly beautiful area.

From Visp to Zermatt, you take the mountain railway. In parts, it is rack and pin, and quite steep. The carriages have big windows and the views are gorgeous. There are a few reliable waterfalls too. Whether you do the train in winter or summer it is very picturesque. It’s a 3 or 4 hour journey from Geneva but I have never been bored on it. The journey is just that beautiful.

Most times that I go to Zermatt, I take the cable cars up to either Trockener Steg or Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, or possibly also, Gornergrat. There are a few places I haven’t tried yet. Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is at the top of Klein Matterhorn and it has a great view, sometimes, of two terrific mountains, the Matterhorn itself, if it’s not buried in clouds, and the Breithorn, a mountain which suffers a little in fame limited by the Matterhorn’s imposing presence.

I love both of them. I paint both of them from time to time when the fit takes me and yesterday, I did a credit card painting of the Breithorn. A creditcardsketch is where you fit everything into a window the size of a creditcard. Instagram has a hashtag. I based it off one of the photographs I took there myself last year. You can see it her.

Breithorn, photograph

Small palettes…

Water colour palette with 12 colours and swatch
Fome water colour palette with 12 pans

Let’s be honest, the last thing I desperately need is additional paint. But (dangerous word, that) I wanted a carryable palette with some Danial Smith colours like the ones I have for Sennelier and Schmincke. The one carried by default is the Sennelier one.

There are some basic colours in here. There are a couple of extras on the blue/green front, and the Daniel Smith wisteria which I have notions of painting mountains. It’s an idea.

I love the little baby palettes. Where you find them prefilled, they usually have 8 pans in then. With a little effort, you can get another 4 down the middle. All of mine wind up with a Quinacridone Gold in there and this time, it’s got a burnt orange next to it. Most important is that I can mix some sort of warmish grey in addition to the Paynes grey which is generally in all my palettes as well.