The tiny paint box that inspired me to make my own

The tiny paint box that inspired me to make my own

February 25, 2015 | ART, life drawing, watercolor | 2 Comments

Here’s the tiny travel paintbox that inspired me to make my own tiny boxes. Catherine Youngren sat beside me at a Dr. Sketchy life drawing session and added nice little bits of colour to her poses with paints from this tiny box. What a treat! Here’s her story:

Even as a very little girl, I had always loved to draw and paint. I started taking art lessons at the Edmonton Art Gallery, my hometown, when I was 7 and continued with the Gallery every winter into my teens. In 1959, when I was 11,  we went to Scotland and England for 6 weeks to visit with my grandparents.. I had a sketchbook and did little drawings in pencil and conte crayon. One afternoon while in London, my father disappeared for the afternoon and came back with a tiny paintbox from Winsor and Newton, and a little metal water flask with two slip-off ends to hold the water.


These two pieces have been with me throughout the years; through moves to several apartments while I was still single, and then out to Vancouver when I got married 37 years ago. There have been periods when they were frequently used, and long periods when they were tucked away. Sometimes the reasons were positive –  I concentrated on building and enjoying my career  as a commercial interior designer, Drawing all day at work, I didn’t feel the need to draw for pleasure. Photography and writing interested me more.

At other times the little paint kit sat on a shelf for rather sad reasons – I had unsuccessful eye surgery, and could only draw effectively on a computer – my eye/hand co-ordination had been damaged when I tried to freehand anything whether for work or as a pastime.

About two years ago,my vision was re-tested and I went to a new optician. My new glasses were a perfect fit and I sensed my vision was clearer than it had been in years. I began to do a little drawing again but only intermittently. In September 2013, I plucked up my courage and joined Urban Sketchers Vancouver. I thought if I am going to draw again, and progress in any way, it must be on a regular basis and in the company of others. I noticed at my first meet-up, that most people were using small Moleskine sketchbooks that they tucked into  a pocket, a handbag, or a flap on a packsack along with coloured pencils, inks, or small paintboxes. What could I use?

I remembered the little paint box – would the colour still be usable? The little kit is just 1 3/4″  wide x 3″ long. The colours are the professional quality W&N, and when the wet brush touched the first pan, the colour was as fresh and vibrant as ever! So now, 55 years later!! – the box is always with me and used almost daily.

Catherine Youngren, RIDBC (Fellow), RDI-Seattle Chapter
Catherine Youngren Interior Designers Inc.

Tags: ,

Share this article:


Would you like to share your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.