Plein Air Equipment and Materials III
In my April 14th newsletter I touched on the basic equipment and materials for plein air painting. Due to the response to that newsletter, I have decided to do a follow-up article and share with you some my experiences and suggestions on how to prepare for a long distance plein-air painting trip or workshop.
One of the key elements in a successful painting trip is preparation. It sounds simple enough, but as a teacher of plein air painting I see so many students struggling with make-shift equipment and poor materials. Here are some suggestions that I think will make your next painting trip less stressful and more successful.
Traveling by air has it's own considerations, weight being a main factor. When my brother Martin and I traveled to France in 2000 to paint with our artist cousin Ray, we had to think about what materials we could take and how much of them. I decided to take masonite panels, and used an old paint box stripped of the interior dividers. It held about 12 panels. For the return trip they were separated with wax paper. This wax paper between each painting was adequate, especially those that included a liquid or fast drying medium. The two or three wet panel dividers in the lid of the paint box held the last couple of day's paintings.
This method is great when traveling by car, but in retrospect I now carry lighter panels with board or foamcore backing for long trips where weight is a consideration.
Another very effective way to cut down on weight is to simply cut primed canvas into predetermined sizes and wrap them on the rigid backing. They can be removed and then mounted onto stretchers later.
In 2006 I was priviledged to be one of 25 artists that traveled to the Arctic on the Arctic Quest Expedition. Solvents associated with oil paints were out of the question as we had no way of knowing if they were available in the Arctic. This meant that whatever medium we chose had to be water based or pastels. Weight was even more of a challenge on this trip as we were limited to about 20 kilos per person. This included all of our clothing, materials and art supplies for the Inuit children that each of us carried. My choice for this trip was liquid acrylics and water soluble oils. The liquid acrylics doubled as a watercolor medium when diluted, as illustrated in my sketch book.
The water soluble oils worked well in the cooler moist arctic air.
On the deck of our ship the Akademik Ioffe, artists Joy works with watercolors & Heidi Burkhardt with oil pastels.
Me painting in the mist with my water soluble oils.
I hope that these examples of how to travel lighter will be of help to you, and I welcome your comments and suggestions.
Keep those brushes clean and ready to go!
Quote of the week:
"You can't be at the Pole and at the Equator at the same time. You must choose your own line, as I hope to do, and it will probably be colour."