Sunday, November 30, 2008

Re-Purposed Van Gogh Watercolor Travel Kit

Re-filled Van Gogh Watercolor Palette

Several years ago, when I decided I wanted to try painting with watercolors, I bought the Van Gogh Travel Kit shown above. I always loved the design of the kit because it's small and I could hold it easily with my thumb through the middle hole while I painted. I later learned that there was a big difference in quality and performance between student and artist grade watercolor paints. Since these were student grade, I soon lost interest in this kit and started buying artist grade tube paints and filling them into the palette shown below.

I started to feel like I was using too many colors and also wasn't thrilled with the design of the larger palette. I couldn't easily hold it as I painted and so I removed all of the original Van Gogh paints from the above box and re-filled it with my favorite Holbein, Daniel Smith and Schmincke watercolors. I am much happier now.

You can find similar sets on

My watercolor palette.


Unknown said...

I have just started using the original Van Gogh Watercolour travel kit, but the problem I find is that the paints stick to the palette when you close it, then dry and remain stuck to the "lid". Did you experience this, and how did you solve it, other than removing the paint and only putting a little of the new paint it???

JD Holden

Stephanie "Biffybeans" Smith said...

JD - good question.... It's been so long since I used this in its original form. I think it was my 1st watercolor kit that I bought maybe 5 years ago? I have a vague recollection of the paints sticking to the lid. I can only speculate but it might be because of the paints specific composition. Are you allowing the paints to dry before closing the lid?

Anonymous said...

Nice way to repurpose a cool piece of kit. I have this set, and one thing to keep in mind is that although Van Gogh paints are "student" grade, they are all rated highly permanent/lighfast and the colors are quite nice. These are not your cheap Pentel, Reeves, Maries, etc paints.

cheers and thanks for the reviews you post.


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