|'The Rain Shall Pass' 6x8 plein air oil on panel ©Karen Margulis available here $125|
|My Plein Air Set Up|
Being an artist is often a lonely business. We spend a lot of time alone painting either in the studio or outdoors. Some of us are fortunate to live in an area with artists groups and this helps get artists together. And of course social media has given us the ability to connect with other artists online. But there is nothing like spending a few days totally immersed in art with a group of other like minded artists.
I am back from participating at the Blue Ridge Plein Air Festival. This is my 5th plein air even so I am by no means an expert but I do have some tips to share to help make your paint-out participation go smoothly.
- Be prepared! Let's talk about clothing first. The weather doesn't always cooperate or do what the weather reports say so make sure you are prepared for the extremes. Dress in layers so you can add or take off layers as the weather changes. I didn't think I would need gloves when I was packing for Las Vegas and it was in the 90's but I could have used them when it ended up being in the 40's! (I did throw in a pair of knit gloves but couldn't find them in my duffel...so be organized too!) I have a wonderful packable windbreaker from REI that I always have with me. It is great for changeable weather.
- Supplies: Try to downsize your supplies so that you can easily manage carrying them by yourself. Practice setting up if anything is new. In my oil set-up I can fit everything I need into one small rolling tool bag. I need to find a backpack to fit it all for times when a cart won't work. You don't want to be worn out from managing too much stuff. Downsize and practice with it to make sure you aren't missing anything. I am working on a checklist so stay tuned.
- Framing: If you are planning to enter paintings in the show at the end of the event you will need to have frames and framing tools/supplies. I try to work in no more than 3 sizes so I don't have to carry to many frames. Don't forget a little tool kit with a screw driver,tape measure,and hardware. I also bring preprinted stickers to put on the back of my work. The stickers have my information and a space for title and medium.
- Food: You need fuel for painting so a good breakfast is important. I like to bring my standard picnic lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It is great to take a break and have a nice picnic lunch. Don't forget portable snacks and drinks.
- Comfort items: Don't forget some bug spray and sunscreen.
- Promote yourself. You never know who you will meet so be sure to bring some business cards. We met some wonderful people at the Blue Ridge event....both fellow artists and passer-bys. It was nice to be able to exchange cards.