I travel a lot to paint, and I often take my painting gear out of my studio to teach workshops, demo at artist organizations, or paint en plein air. For some small trips of just an hour or so, I just tuck a small half-pan watercolor case into my purse along with a bottle of water and a small pad of paper. I use both Sennelier
and Winsor & Newton
half-pan travel cases, and these are especially nice to have on hand when I go to the beach or for a hike, as they are easy to pack and take up almost no space. But for everything else, I need to pack a variety of supplies and materials to ensure that I’ll have with me whatever I need to get the job done.
Many, many years ago, I made my own travel case to organize and contain everything I need to teach a workshop or paint on location for longer periods of time. Since then, I’ve carried this case to dozens of workshops, scores of demos, and more paint-outs than I can count. My travel case gets a lot of attention from other artists at these events, and artists are often asking me how they can make one as well. So, I thought I’d share the details with you here.
|cased packed and closed, ready to go!|
First off, the actual case is something that I bought at a thrift store. I was looking for a hard-shell briefcase or suitcase for this project, and I came across this case that originally had been a salesman sample case for vinyl siding.
|elastic string holds tools and supplies securely in place|
To customize it, I cut some scraps of matboard to fit the dimensions of the inside lids. I stapled elastic to the matboard at random widths, then I glued the matboard firmly to the inside of the lids. This provides plenty of sections to securely hold brushes, paints, pencils, erasers, salt packets, and all sorts of other little tools and supplies that I might need.
|With everything packed in place, the case is ready to close|
The bottom of the case is large enough to hold a large watercolor palette, two or more blocks of watercolor paper, water containers and bottles, paper towels, masking fluid, sponges, my apron, and other tools and supplies as needed.
|open and ready for use |
It’s looking a bit beat up and worn, but it works and I still use it constantly. The case is never unpacked – when I’m in my studio, it lays open on my workbench next to where I’m working so tools and paint are within reach. When I go out to teach, demo, or paint on location or at one of my galleries, it’s easy to just close it up and take it with me.