29 May 2018

getting ready for the 30 x 30 challenge

After a bit of indecision, I have decided to take part in the upcoming 30 x 30 Direct Watercolor 2018 challenge started by Marc Taro Holmes. The challenge is to paint 30 watercolor paintings in 30 days, one for each of the days in June.

I’m gong to try to do 30 direct-with-watercolor sketches rather than completed frameable paintings. No (or very few) pencil guidelines and no ink, drawing directly with a brush.

I will also try to stick to this new choice of palette colors. The idea came from Marc’s “desert island absolute minimum” palette, put together by Maria Coryell-Martin, designer of the Pocket Palette. I substituted similar colors I already had for some, switched his pyrrol orange to transparent pyrrol orange (I just like it better), and bought a couple of his choices just to try them out.

For the 30 day challenge, I chose the Carnet de Voyage Travel Book from Arches that I bought years ago at Hobby Lobby but never used. (I don’t think it is available anymore.) It has 15 pages of 140 # cold-pressed watercolor paper; if I use both sides, it covers all 30 days of June.

The above testing of my palette was done on the back of the cover which is much lighter paper. So far I like the colors (can’t wait to get back to watercolor after drawing my current book in ink only!), but I’m not sure whether to use phthalo blue GREEN SHADE or phthalo blue RED SHADE? The warmer red shade seems easier to get along with and makes a subtle violet; with the green shade I can mix to a nice indigo but no violet.

Still undecided . . .


  1. I’ve been thinking about it, too. I may combine it with the exercises in Nita Leland’s updated Exploring Color book, which I would like to try.

    1. Nita Leland’s book is wonderful! I think you should include her exercises — after all, we each make this challenge into our own path of personal growth.

    2. Yes, she’s amazing! Thank you for the encouragement. I think I will try it, get beyond my rut.


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