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Friday, March 16, 2012

Extreme Plein Air ...You Can Take Pastels Anywhere!

Miniature Pastels each 2.5 x 3.5 inches ©Karen Margulis
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Did you ever regret not having something to paint with when visiting a wonderful place? But you didn't bring any painting supplies because you didn't want to lug them around. I never travel without my pastels anymore because I have an Extreme Pastel Kit.
Keep it Simple. That's my goal when traveling with my pastels. I shared my 'Lounge Chair Plein Air' set up in an earlier post. Sometimes I want to pare down my paintings supplies even more. That's when I break out my Extreme Plein air pastel box. It is actually a small box that I include in my lounge chair set-up. I just take this box with me on excursions or trips when I don't want to carry a lot or only have a purse or small bag.
My Extreme Plein Air Pastel Kit

So what exactly is in my Extreme Plein Air Kit? Have a look.
  1. I use a small wood art box. It measures 8 x 4.5 x 1.5. I lined the bottom and lid with upholstery foam and glued it down. I purchased my box at Aaron Brothers but you can use any small sturdy box. I have used cigar boxes but I really love this small size. I put a rubberband around it just in case!
  2. Pastels: I filled my box with an assortment of hard pastel sticks like Nupastels and Polychromos. I break them so I have smaller pieces. I fit more colors this way. I also add some small pieces of Girault pastels. These pastels are firm but surprisingly soft. They hold up well and come in handy when I want the effect of a softer pastel. They are also thin and narrow so don't take up as much space as other soft pastels. How do I choose my colors? As you can see from my photo I have a random selection because I love the challenge of making a painting work with what I have on hand.....but if I were restocking this box I would try to have a light, medium and dark value of each color on the color wheel. I would add a black and white to change the value of any color.
  3. Small piece of foamcore for a drawing board to attach my paper.
  4. Washcloth to wipe pastels clean (they will get dusty in this box)
  5. A small zipper pouch for misc supplies such as tape or clips,pencil,travel baby wipes,maybe a small travel size watercolor kit.
  6. A plastic envelope of precut paper.
  7. A magazine or brochure to store finished paintings.I have made small folders of sheets of glassine for finished work but I like using a small travel guide/magazine just as well.
  8. That's all! These items fit nicely into a purse/bag or mini backpack. Or slip them into a gallon size ziploc and when you are headed out just grab the bag and go!
Close-up of my Extreme Plein Air Pastel Box

'Bahama Breeze' 3.5 x 2.5" pastel

With this small kit packed and always ready to go with me I never have those feelings of regret when I find myself in a paint-able location without my pastels! This is one of the paintings I did while relaxing on the beach in the Bahamas. I will bring this small kit along out to the Plein Air Convention in Las Vegas next month but I am also going to bring a larger cigar box filled with Southwest/Red Rock colors. I'll be posting more on this soon.

4 comments:

Donna T said...

Nice minis Karen! Your little kit is so cute - and practical! I hope you got a good tan while you were painting these.

Karen said...

Thanks Donna! I did get a little too much sun and had to buy some aloe but it was fun!

Clipping Path said...

Wow really fantastic painting you have done rally awesome job. I will visit your site again.

robertsloan2art said...

Great little kit! It makes sense to use hard pastels and Giraults for keeping the size down. I have a set of 12 Color Conte sticks for sketching wherever I am. It usually goes in my vest pocket along with a postcard size watercolor block and a pocket watercolor kit.

Something like your kit has a lot more colors though. I'm tempted to find a small tin that fits in my pocket, put foam in and see what I can do with pieces of hard pastels too. Thanks for the inspiration!