Those of us who want to sketch outdoors using pen and watercolor have a basic problem. How do you carry water without it becoming a burden. On its face, the problem is pretty easy. You can always use a waterbrush, but painting with these is not as nice as with actual watercolor brushes. But lots of people carry water bottles with them, even while running, hiking, etc. What’s the big deal?
And when you think about it, it’s not the water that’s the problem. It’s that what we watercolor types want is a, in addition to water, we need a place to dip/rinse brushes and a way to spray the water we carry.
Cathy Johnson, author of Artist’s Journal Workshop came up with a great solution by nesting a small spray bottle in a slightly larger container such that the two nest for travel.
The only problem with this idea is that it’s hard to find bottles that will nest. Even Cathy has said that she can’t find another set and many of us have been searching for just the right combination to replicate her system.
The other day I was wandering through a dollar store, looking for things I could repurpose into art goodies., and I found a ‘travel’ set of bottles. Contained within it was a small spray bottle. The best news is that since then I’ve found other travel sets containing the same small bottle so I don’t think this was a once in a lifetime find. And, to make a long story short, this smaller spray bottle is just enough smaller in diameter that it will nest in the bottom of the ‘standard’ size spray bottle that’s available in any art store.
Once obtained, it’s a simple matter of cutting the bottom off the larger bottle. I then turned it upside down on some sandpaper and sanded the edge smooth. I do wish I’d cut a bit higher on the bottle you see in the photo. It would provide more water volume for rinsing a brush.
In the end, I have a great little travel reservoir and spray bottle and, if I like, a couple extra bottles to carry more water. Hope this helps others who, like me, were trying to replicate Cathy’s system.