Watercolor sketchbook with travel watercolor kit.

Early in 2010, Eric found a blog post about cre­at­ing a water­color field kit at Draw­ing the Mot­mot. We had plenty of Altoid tins lying around and were instantly inspired to get what we needed to make our own kits. Unfor­tu­nately, we didn’t use them enough.

For Johann’s birth­day that same year, we had his party at the Deni­son Pequot­se­pos Nature Cen­ter. The theme was “Peek into a Pond”. The kids got to see some of the live ani­mals they keep at the Nature Cen­ter and go muck­ing about in the pond look­ing for what­ever crit­ters they could find. Once caught, the pond ani­mals were put into a bucket of water for every­one to see and then care­fully released back into the pond. We found lots of insects, a water spi­der, and a few frogs. It was great fun.

As party favors, Johann and I painted small can­vas tote bags with the kids’ names on them and filled them with pond ani­mal infor­ma­tion cards, stick­ers, a small eco-sketchbook, and a col­ored pen­cil field kit. I wanted to give every­one a trav­el­ing art kit and thought the col­ored pen­cils would be eas­ier for the kids to use. I took Altoid tins and filled them with mini col­ored pen­cils, a mini Ikea pen­cil, and a Japan­ese frog eraser. On the out­side I put a sticker we cre­ated with a draw­ing I made of a frog. Eric scanned my draw­ing into the com­puter and printed it on white card stock. I cut the frog pic­tures out and ran them through my Xyron 900 machine with the sticker car­tridge installed, then wrote the children’s names on them. Johann uses his travel col­ored pen­cils kit all the time. It’s also stan­dard equip­ment when­ever he packs his back­pack now, whether we are trav­el­ing to the museum near us or to visit Grandma and Grandpa in Texas.

Johann's notebook and colored pencil kit.

While Eric went div­ing at Fort Wether­ill with some of our friends last year, Johann and I took in the view top­side. That was our sec­ond trip there and we made sure to bring our water­color field kits. We did our best to paint what we saw, although the heat was work­ing against us that day. Our paint kept dry­ing out before we could get it onto the paper. Once we man­aged to get it onto the paper, the paint dried before we could blend it with the other col­ors. The weather was beau­ti­ful, though, and we had a great day. We even man­aged to get a few good paint­ings to show for it.

Now that I am try­ing to get back into paint­ing and draw­ing, the desire to con­tinue the water­color sketch note­books Johann and I each started has grown stronger. Warmer weather means eas­ier trav­el­ing. Our spring fever never seemed to go away. It’s time to get out and paint!