I've drooled over the Pocket Palette by Expeditionary Art for a long time, but I just couldn't justify the purchase because... well, I didn't need it. My trusty Schmincke tin went with me everywhere, and I've been thoroughly pleased with it.
When we moved to the mountains, our family went from a 3000 sq ft house down to about 800 sq feet of space. Not a problem, but my working space was also greatly reduced. All of a sudden, my compact travel palette was needed as a studio palette.
Not a problem, except that when I would head out to sketch, I would forget to pack it. I'd find myself miles from home with everything but watercolors.
I thought about buying something cheap, but the Pocket Palette kept calling to me. Plus, this palette seemed to fit all my criteria for a decent palette— portable with full, shallow, removable pans and separated mixing wells (if I added in the jumbo tins).
I finally decided to take the plunge and order one. I've been using the Pocket Palette for several weeks now, and below is my complete review.
The Pocket Palette Order
When I was drooling over the Pocket Palette online, my only concern (besides the cost) was that the tiny lid wouldn't provide enough mixing space. Because of this concern, I planned to fill the Pocket Palette with my 6-color palette and then fill in any extra spaces with the jumbo and/or mixing pans that are sold separately.
Here's what I ordered:
• Pocket Palette - $30
• Pocket Mister - $2.50 (very cute; couldn't resist)
• Set of 3 mixing pans - $5
• Set of 6 jumbo pans - $5
Expeditionary Art's shipping was extremely affordable, so my total cost came in at less than $50. Not cheap but about the same as a Schmincke tin, and the Pocket Palette comes with pans. Plus, I was happy to support another artist.
I'm a bit of a sucker for pretty packaging, and opening the Expeditionary Art box felt like a present. I had carefully read the palette's description online, but when I pulled it out of the box, I was surprised at how sleek and slim it appeared. When closed, it looks like a business card holder— a well made business card holder because even though the palette is lightweight, it feels very substantial and sturdy.
As pretty as everything was, what I really cared about was how this palette was going to perform. To take this palette for a full test drive, I decided to go ahead and stock it with my 12-color favorites. After all, I could always change things up later.
The Pocket Palette in Action
The past few weeks, I've been using the palette in a variety of situations, and I love that I can use it standing or sitting. The palette easily attaches to the side of my sketchbook with a binder clip, but it's so lightweight and sturdy that I've often braced it with my thumb while painting.
(It's difficult to see the Pocket Palette in the photo above— my left thumb is bracing it against my sketchbook— but Husband took this photo of me using it in the field. Before now, I've never been able to stand and paint so easily, and I'm enjoying not getting my bum wet!)
About the mixing space... Even with 12 full-size pans, I was able to add a jumbo pan that I use for lighter mixes. Since I paint small in the field, so far, the lid of the Pocket Palette has been enough. Switching to my 6-color palette would free up more mixing space, but for now, I'm really, really enjoying this current setup for on-the-go sketching.
Final Review on the Pocket Palette
After using this palette extensively, indoors and out, these past few weeks, I'm very happy I went ahead and splurged for the Pocket Palette. I think it is well worth the very moderate sum that I paid for it.
• It's beautiful yet strong and holds a surprisingly fair amount of pigment. (I haven't had to refill a pan yet!)
• The pans stay put. (I dropped this palette while it was open, and the pans shifted a bit but nothing popped out.)
• It's extremely lightweight (my current setup including paints weighs 57 grams, or less than 2 ounces) and takes up very little space. It literally fits in a shirt or pants pocket.
If I could change a few things, I would, but these are minor issues...
• The metal lip at the bottom row of pans can be a bit distracting, but I can't say that it has ever really gotten in my way. Still, it would be nice if it was less obtrusive.
• I would also like the option to add this surface to the bottoms of the jumbo and mixing pans. (I'm sure I could cut a piece of white shelf liner paper to fit, but a production cut would probably be much cleaner than mine.)
Again, these are minor issues. I can honestly say that if anything ever happens to this palette, I'd purchase one again in a heartbeat!
Coupon for a Pocket Palette Discount!
I was so pleased with the Pocket Palette that I emailed Maria with my compliments, and she kindly agreed to offer SJ readers a discount!
This gracious discount is good on your entire purchase prior to shipping. Just click on the button below to be taken to the Expeditionary Art store, and happy painting!
From now through March 31, 2017, enter the promo code SCRATCH at checkout to receive a 15% discount on your entire purchase from Expeditionary Art.
Learn with Expeditionary Art
If you are on the west coast, Maria is offering two workshops this summer, Naturalist Bird Art on May 19th and Adventure Art on May 20th. Both workshops will be held in Leavenworth, WA. You can learn more about the workshops and find out registration details at the Expeditionary Art blog.