Review of my Europe18 paint supply

August 6, 2018 | 13 Comments

This photo shows how much paint I took on my recent 11 week trip to Europe.

I like to make up the pans of paint beforehand so that when I’m travelling I don’t have to worry about:

  • sourcing replacement paint (Daniel Smith is not always easy to find)
  • the hassle of making new pans up when I’m on the move (some of these colours take up to a week to dry)
  • the extra weight/baggage of paint tubes.

More about my allowances here.

This is my record of how much I actually used. The dotted shapes represent a pan which I didn’t use, and the “+” symbols indicates additional pans.


  1. In summary, my allowance was pretty good and you can see that I still have plenty of paint left. (Click here if you want a full listing of the paint in my palette)
  2. I didn’t use as much DS Cerulean Blue Chromium as I expected, or DS Sap Green. The reason for the first might be because I now have a pre-mixed grey (Soft Grey) so I use less of the Cerulean than I did in previous years. Using less Sap Green might be a sign that I didn’t do enough landscapes!?!
  3. I did need replacements for my two reds – DS Quin Rose and DS Transparent Pyrrol Orange. I have never had to replace them before, but in hindsight I should have added a spare for both especially as I had plenty of red roofs to sketch over the 11 weeks. I was able to ask local sketcher Chantal Vincent (thanks!) to make up a half pan of each colour and bring them to Porto which was great.
  4. The big surprise was DS Van Dyke Brown. I went through so much of it that I had to buy some Winsor and Newton and top up in Porto. The Winsor and Newton VD Brown is not as good (for me) as the Daniel Smith version as it’s warmer (more like a Burnt Umber – I prefer a cooler brown) and because it contains black (the Daniel Smith is simply PBr7 without any black). So why did I use so much of it? Maybe I’m adding more darks in my sketches?
  5. On other trips I have run low in my supply of WN Potter’s Pink, DS Buff Titanium and/or WN Cobalt Turquoise Light. But this trip I didn’t seem to use as much.

I create this reports primarily for my own record as it helps a lot to plan the next time around. But I hope that it is of some interest to you!



  • Anne Marie Percival says:

    Just LOVE DS Transparent Pyrrol Orange and am eternally grateful to Paul Wang ( sorry Liz!) for introducing me to it

  • Emily D. says:

    I always find this interesting! It’s sort of a record of the local color. When I went to Colonial Williamsburg here in the US two years ago, I packed more Naples Yellow, Buff Titanium, and some browns, as well as a brickish red (forget the color now!), because that’s what the buildings mostly are. But for the beach, I bust out all my blues, greens, and using Goethite and BT for some sand and things like that.

    I feel like i should use TPO more than I do….maybe it’s more of a warm locale color and I just don’t have that here where I live? I did use it a bit when I was in Houston.

  • Anna says:

    Hi Liz! I just filled up a pan with Potter’s Pink for the first time and it began to crack and crumble as it dried already during the first layer. Does this happen to you with any of your colors and if so, what do you do? (I think it varies a bit from tube to tube too, depending on how well mixed the paint is… but especially the earth colors, such as also Venetian Red and Terre Verte YS had this problem this time around.) Any tips? Thanks for a great blog!
    Sincerely, Anna

    • Liz Steel says:

      Is it Daniel Smith? Shake the tube well before squeezing out. I use WN which is a little better, but a drop of glycerin would help if it dries too hard.

      • Anna says:

        Thank you so much for responding!
        No, in this case it’s W&N. I did not think about shaking the tube, good idea, might have helped PP, but I think at least VR and and TVYS were already well mixed up.
        Do you actually put a drop of glycerin on top of the cracked paint in the pan (perhaps try to soften it with water first?) or do you start over and put glycerin in the pan first and then mix it with the paint? I only just bought a small bottle but have yet to use it and am a little worried it will alter the colors…

      • Liz Steel says:

        put the drop of glycerin in when squeezing in the paint. Even though it cracked it should be ok to use. Some paints are just harder than others

  • Anna says:

    I really appreciate your advice – thank you!

  • Letizia Farisato says:

    Hi Liz, I haven’t tried DS Van Dyke Brown yet, nor W&N Van Dyke Brown (I’m still a beginner and I’m trying to finish up the colors I have first), but after reading your comments on this post and looking at DS Van Dyke Brown from your online palette ( I believe it could be close to Winsor&Newton… Sepia! Have you tried that? I know you probably wouldn’t use W&N sepia, but in “emergencies” cases like your trip in Porto, it may be a useful substitute… who knows, it might work out better than the same WN Van Dyke brown?? 🙂 If I’m saying a silly thing, please forgive me: I’m still learning, and actually I’m about to finish your wonderful Foundation course and getting ready for your watercolor course. Thank you for your AMAZING work and your marvelous enthusiasm 🙂

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks for your comment and yes WN sepia would be closer in colour. I was tossing up between the two in the art store in porto and decided that I wanted to try the VDBrown. Now that I’m back home I can go back the DS version without any black ?
      You are certainly not saying anything silly ???

      • Letizia Farisato says:

        Thank you Liz! Glad to know your opinion (especially because I had also thought to use WN Sepia at the beginning of the watercolour course, ’til I empty it out, and then get DS VDBrown) and to know that I didn’t say anything silly then! 😀

  • This is a great post for me as (after the craziness of a pandemic) I am planning a month-long journey and wondered about bringing extra half pans of paint. Question: how did you actually carry those extra pans that don’t fit into your travel palette? It looks like you taped over the top, but how did you travel with them? Thanks.

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