Tips for Packing Plein Air Painting Gear!
One of my friends commented that she would like to see more of my plein air painting set-up, so I shot these photos to show how I organize and pack my gear for a day of painting outdoors. I usually use a plain Julian style easel, which affords me plenty of room to stow everything I need. When I'm painting in the studio, I open and use this easel on my work table. So it's always full of my supplies, and ready to just snap shut to take it out for a day outside.
|In the bottom drawer, I have my oil paints and a ruler (I often use a ruler to draw straight lines, and also use it for sight perspective) on one side, and the other side contains my brushes, spatulas (for mixing paint, painting, and wiping out), pliers (in an eyeglass case to keep it from banging around), and some wadded up bags for garbage. The piece of foam is used as a divider, to hold the brushes in place so they don't get all mangled up when I travel. I don't carry a lot of oil colors with me, as I prefer to use a split primary system and mix colors as needed. Here I have three reds, three yellows, and three blues, and an extra large tube of white. These are the Pre-tested Professional Oils from Grumbacher - an excellent quality paint which I'm currently testing and reviewing.|
|I tend to switch back and forth between watercolors and oils when I go out to paint en plein air, so I pack what I need for both. The top drawer contains a travel palette of half-pan watercolors in a protective drawstring bag so the case doesn't get all banged up. Next to that is a bungee cord for holding paper towels, and a collapsible cup for water. I have a jar of Liquin and a piece of shelf liner to help me get the lid off. That's all I use to mix my oils, and I don't carry any turps, either. The film can is in case I need an empty container for something. There's a small spray bottle of water to moisten my watercolors, a bit of sea sponge to create textures, a piece of Magic Eraser for lifting watercolor, and a pack of moist towelettes that will remove oil paint off of hands and other surfaces. The next section is 1" and 2" wide brushes. Normally, brushes that are that wide have really long handles, which take up a lot of space. I like short handles for plein air because they free up space for me to pack other gear. This line of brushes from Dynasty Brush is called "Palmer" because they fit in the palm of your hand. I also have some pencils, marking pens, and a value finder (red for landscapes and seascapes). In the plastic zippered pouch I keep a pencil sharpener, some sandpaper, salt (for texture in watercolors), a paint scraper to clean my oil palette, eraser, some binder clips, leg spikes, and some rubber bands. The old slide mounts are great little view finders, and I always keep a spare pair of eyeglasses in the case.|
|This is the whole kit and caboodle, all packed and folded up, ready to wheel away. After I photographed this, I tucked my camera into it too, and strapped my tripod to the top with a bungee.|
After I originally posted this, I became flooded with inquiries from artists who want to get one of these folding carts for their own. Click here to shop for this cart at QVC. Seeing how a standard size Jullian style easel fits perfectly in the bag, this really should be an item for artist supply retailers to add to their catalogs!