Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Packing for Plein Air

Preparation is key when packing for plein air excursions. Just like backpacking, every ounce counts. These are some tips to consider when deciding what to bring or leave in the studio:
  • Take only the colors you need. Consider the time of year and the location you are planning on visiting when thinking about your palette. This may mean just 6 small tubes of paint, or a handful of half stick pastels.
  • Do you really need all those brushes? Fewer brushes will also help with space and cleanup.
  • Small amounts of turpentine/mineral spirits. Store in tightly sealed containers to prevent spills.
  • Take panels instead of canvases (see previous post)
  • Paper Towels are always a good idea; you can cut the roll in half to reduce size/weight!
  • When looking for other art supplies, travel sized/travel friendly options are always your best bet.
  • Don’t forget sunscreen, bug repellent, water, snacks, and a hat.

How will you carry your supplies? Pochade Boxes and Plein Air Easels (French, Soltek, etc.) are specially made to hold your art supplies inside them, and are great ways to limit what you take with you in the field. Otherwise a small bag or tackle box can do the trick. If you are hiking into the field, or even just down the street, you should be able to carry everything comfortably in one trip. This could be a comfortable backpack, shoulder bag, cart, or any combination.

Every artist has their own particular way of doing things. Try out different options and see what works best for you.

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