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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Lounge Chair Plein Air ...How to Paint with Pastels Anywhere!

'Looking Out to Sea' 2.5 x 3.5 pastel ©Karen Margulis
purchase this painting with paypal or check here $22

Can you paint on a cruise ship? Yes you most definitely can! I have perfected my set up for painting with pastels on the beach or on a ship. I call it 'Lounge Chair Plein Air' and it is the perfect way to pass the time while relaxing on a lounger. I just returned home from a very last minute cruise with my daughter who was on Spring Break. We got a fantastic last minute deal on a Caribbean cruise so we packed quickly and headed to Florida. The cruise was great (despite the gale force winds and 18 foot seas) and I managed to paint 50 mini pastel paintings all on my lounger by the pool!

A sampler of my minis painted on the cruise
My Lounge Chair Plein Air set up
The trick to being able to paint anywhere with pastels is to downsize and simplify your supplies. I can fit all of my supplies in a mini backpack. I also keep the supplies in the backpack so I can be ready to go on a moment's notice. All I had to do for this trip was to cut some more paper because I knew I wanted to paint a lot! I brought some 5x7 pieces of paper but decided to stick with the minis (2.5 x 3.5) See my set-up in the photo above. Here is what I usually bring with me on a cruise or anytime I think I might want to paint but don't want to carry my easel and regular plein air supplies.
  • Box of soft pastels. I bring a wooden box that was a Mancala game box which I lined with foam. It measures about 12x6x2. The pastels are small pieces about 1/2 inch long or less. They are all softer pastels and I make sure to have a range of colors and values. As you can see I don't arrange them in any order. It is part of the fun and challenge to make due with what I have with me.
  • Box of hard pastels. I also bring along a smaller box of harder pastels...some Nupastels and Giraults in small pieces in a range of values and colors. This box is about 8x4x2 and is also lined with foam. I use the harder pastels to sketch my initial drawing and for details. I also can take this smaller box with me on shore excursions. (see upcoming post)
  • Paper. I precut small pieces of paper in 2.5 x 3.5 and 5x7 sizes. I keep the paper in a clear plastic envelope that has a string tie. This envelope fits in my mini backpack.
  • Drawing board. I bring a small piece of foamcore for a support board. This foamcore is a few inches bigger than the paper .
  • Small zipper pouch for misc supplies. I usually have a small roll of white artist tape, a bulldog clip for my reference photo, pencil, mini watercolor set and brush, tiny water container.
  • Reference photos. Yes I do bring reference photos on a cruise. I do paint from life...clouds, water, etc. but I also like to look at my reference photos and try new ways to interpret familiar scenes. I keep my photos in another clear envelope.
  • Baby wipes...small travel pack and a small washcloth to wipe pastels clean.
  • Piece of vinyl table cloth that I use to protect my lounger.
  • Storage for finished paintings. I use a small travel guide magazine that I pick up on the trip. I place each finished painting in between the leaves of the magazine. They stay protected until I can get them home.

Now that I am home I will photograph each painting and put them into a clearbag for protection. They will be listed on Daily Paintworks auctions over the next few weeks. I have a lot more to share about my process. If you have any questions you'd like for me to address just let me know!


Mariela said...

Wow!! 50 mini paintings!!
they are all beautiful and very vibrant, full of joy and life!!

Karen said...

Thank you so much Mariela!

AnnG said...

Thanks for the info on how to paint with pastels in a lounge chair. The setup you showed will help me when I try and paint at the pool this summer. I've taken my pastels with me before, but this shows an even better way to do it!

Karen said...

Thank you Ann! I'm glad you can use some ideas from my lounge chair set up! It works great!

Michelle Wells Grant said...

So clever and resourceful! Now I'm thinking that I will not just take my sketchbook on my trip to Costa Rica, I'll take a small pastels kit too!

I'd just like to add that your blog is so informative and so much appreciated, Karen ... and I know you may not be fully aware of that because people don't tend to leave comments on blogs (and that sucks, I know) but we really are reading it and learning so much from you. My little pastels group ... 3-4 of us who try to gather in my studio once a week to paint ... all love your blog and talk about how fabulous you are all the time! So thank you and keep it coming!

Karen said...

Thank you so much Michelle! Your words mean so much to me. It is so nice to hear that people do read and learn from my posts. It is my pleasure to share what I have learned and I am so fortunate to have the internet to reach so many. Thanks for letting me know!

Anne's Blog said...

Karen I am new to your blog and am loving it! Will you be doing any more mini's for your Etsy page? Thank you for all your wonderful tips!