24 September 2016

rehabbing an old friend

Last year I took my vintage Prang box, refit with my own choice of tube watercolors in pans, to Mustang Island, camping with the family. With it being so exceptionally windy and the sandy beach so fine, my paint box was literally sand-blasted -- a real mess! Not sure what to do with it, I set it aside.

This month, I finally took the paint pans out, cleaning them as best as I could with damp paper towels; most of the paint was still good. Then I sanded the inside surfaces with the fine-grade sandpaper that came on my pencil-sharpening block. 

I taped off the black edges with masking tape to keep them black. The black finish was worn with age even before the beach trip.

After several thin layers of white enamel spray paint, the inside is clean and ready to go. Pans were set in place with a dab of rubber cement, leaving room for a blue-gray watercolor pencil and a #7 round sable travel brush. My tweaked color choices:

permanent rose, pyrrole scarlet
quinacridone gold, Hansa yellow light
sap green
cerulean chromium blue, ultramarine blue
yellow ochre, burnt sienna, raw umber
mixed gray (ultramarine and burnt umber, stirred together)

and half pans of:
Indian red, perylene green, and buff titanium.


  1. Vicky, your box has just now impeccable, beautiful. Now I feel shamed when the state sees my box of watercolors of plastic. I am going to catch these paper towels... cleaning...

    Regards and happy sunday

    1. I sometimes use a plastic palette; I just prefer how colors mix on enameled metal. Unfortunately, metal can rust after years of use, as well as being sand-blasted on the beach in high winds. I remember wishing at the time that I had brought a plastic palette instead!

  2. Lovely. Old objects can acquire a warmth through the patina of use, memories and accidents that makes them priceless.

    1. The aged and worn patina is why I wished to protect the outside from paint spatter. This paint box holds so many memories of sketch crawls with friends!


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