• Featured Artists
September 6, 2023

Europe in Watercolor

Visual storyteller and educator Suhita Shirodkar took a 15-pan Folio Palette to Europe and filled three sketchbooks!

By The Art Toolkit Team

An open sketchbook of a loose coastal view from above with an open Folio Palette and water cup.

Suhita Shirodkar has described herself as many things over the years: an urban sketcher, a mixed media artist, and a watercolor, pen, and ink artist. Today, she leaves media out of it entirely and goes instead by what she loves to do: she is a visual storyteller and an educator.

An artist holds a sketchbook in a crowd of people, pen poised, looking off-camera.
Visual storyteller and educator Suhita Shirodkar.

Suhita loves working on location and capturing stories from life and the world around her. Her work captures various subjects ranging from high-energy, people-filled urban scenes to local landscapes in northern California. She uses various media that commonly include pen, ink, and watercolor and often adds colored pencils, crayons, and whatever tool catches her eye to the mix. 

Loose, vibrant sketch of a fruitstand with shoppers and vendors held in front of a fruit stand.
Farmers Market sketch by Suhita.

Some of her must-have sketching supplies are Stillman & Birn sketchbooks for their versatile mixed media paper, a Sailor Fude De Mannen pen with its 55-degree nib filled with black De Atramentis Document Ink, a Rosemary & Co travel dagger brush and her Art Toolkit watercolor palette

An open sketchbook of a loose coastal view from above with an open Folio Palette and water cup.
The beach from above by Suhita.

This summer, Suhita traveled around Europe and took along her Folio Palette, which, like the rest of her art kit, is ever-evolving in configuration and color. For the trip, she filled her palette with Double Pans, which let her carry 15 colors.

An open sketchbook of a loose nature scene with an open Folio Palette and dagger brush laid on dry grass.
Nature sketch by Suhita.

Suhita’s paints

Suhita’s watercolor palette is ever-evolving. She likes to try new colors, and swap out colors depending on the season and where she is traveling to. However, there ARE colors that she loves and keeps around in her palette no matter the circumstance. Here’s what she has to say about each:

Quinacridone Rose (DS): A versatile red that makes gorgeous purples and oranges.
Hansa Yellow Medium (DS): If I am allowed only one yellow, this will be the one I choose.
Monte Amiata Natural Sienna (DS): I use this color a lot as a toned-down warm color when yellow is too bright.
Cobalt Blue (DS) and Cerulean Blue (DS): I have these two blues in my palette because they both show up in California skies. Plus, they help me mix a whole bunch of shades of green.
Ultramarine Blue (DS): I like mixing my neutrals and this blue is in many of my mixes.
Burnt Sienna (WN): Besides being a solid brown, this works well in neutral mixes, especially with Ultramarine Blue (DS)

*(DS) Daniel Smith watercolors, (WN) Winsor & Newton watercolors

After coming home a month later with three sketchbooks full of sketches, the one missing thing was an area in which she could mix big puddles of color. With much difficulty, she pulled out the two least-used colors from her palette and made space for a Large Mixing Pan. “Will this be the end of its evolution? I doubt it!” Suhita says.  

An open sketchbook of an urban corner in deep reds and blues with negative outlines of people on bikes and signposts.
Urban street corner in Amsterdam by Suhita.
Open sketchbook of an urban park with green park benches, bright green trees, and european architecture in the background.
A park in Paris by Suhita.

“Its next big test will be when I take it to India in a few months to use when sketching on street corners and in busy markets. But the nice thing about a modular, versatile palette is it can keep evolving to meet my changing needs.” 

Thank you so much for sharing your artwork with us, Suhita! It’s been a joy to pop into your world and see where you’ve been traveling. Keep up with Suhita on her blog, Substack, and on Instagram!

An artist sites on a rock, dipping a paintbrush in a Pocket Palette.

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