Archive for May, 2015

I am getting excited for the upcoming Painting Spain! workshop starting next week in Barcelona. I have 8 wonderful students joining me and we have had an interesting exchange of ideas on how best to pack all those paints, canvas, brushes, easels and still have room for clothes.

The key, as with many things in the art world…keep it simple. Painting plein air is about comfort, not fashion, and we will be in a beautiful, warm, coastal town where casual dress is encouraged, if not required. But there are logistics to consider, which is why my #1 packing element is the zip loc bag. Plenty of them. They’re great for carrying paint, a wet bathing suit, dirty sneakers, snacks to the painting site, toiletries, or keep your phone and camera dry if near water. #2 is a backpack. I use this as my carry-on along with my half French easel. I check one rolling duffle bag with the paints and my essential clothes. The backpack keeps my arms free and becomes the perfect day pack for hiking, supplies for a picnic, day at the beach, and carry my painting supplies once I am settled in to my location.

This, of course, reminds me of international travel as a kid. My parents used to say, “pack what you can carry, otherwise it’s going to be left at the curb.” I learned quickly how to survive with three t-shirts, a skirt, two pairs of shorts, a hat, scarf and plenty of Tide To-Go packs for laundry in the hotel sink! That’s my #3 item for travel – Tide To-Go packs, because it’s always charming to say you did laundry in the hotel sink.

I personally prefer plein air in acrylics. Oil paint can be challenging, especially having wet paintings to transport. Several of my students have asked about the best way to address that, I found the following site with a plan that seems to work well.

Traveling with wet canvases.

What do you need for your plein air travels? I keep the palette limited to double primary colors. I have to have a small sketchbook and travel watercolor set. Headphones for the plane, gluten-free snacks, my favorite pens. If I forget something, wing it. Or borrow. Or buy at the destination. That’s always fun to have an excuse to venture into an art supply store in an exotic locale. If anything, I get a marker pen in an interesting color, stop by a fresh corner market, grab some bread, local cheese, a bottle of wine and I have all the supplies I need. Art is what you make it….the less you carry on the front end of the trip, the more room you’ll have for all the new findings and creations. Happy Painting!!!


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