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Friday, September 20, 2013

Packing for a Plein Air Workshop

'A Beautiful Day in the Country'            8x10         plein air pastel         ©Karen Margulis
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I'm convinced. There is no easy one size fits all plan for packing for a plein air trip.  It all depends on the purpose of the trip and your mode of transportation.  Take my trip out west this past summer. I only brought my tiny pastel set up and painted small 5x7's. No easel.  When I went to Pawleys Island last year I brought pastels, oils, easel...a lot of stuff. But we had a week at one location and we were driving. I took advantage of that luxury.

In my opinion the hardest trips to pack for are plein air workshops!  You want your set up to be easy and efficient so you aren't fussing with supplies. But you don't want to skimp on supplies you might need. And some instructors have big supply lists.  If you are traveling by plane you have another packing dilemma....what to check and what to carry on.

At one time I really thought I had a one size fits all solution but as I change and grow as an artist I have different goals and needs. So I just relax and stay flexible and evaluate each trip individually. I will ask myself some questions....

  • What is the purpose of this trip?  Painting, reference gathering? Just relaxing? (can't do that!) This helps me decide what set up I need.
  • How will I be traveling and what amount of room will there be for art supplies?
  • Will I have to carry my stuff any distance? If yes then I want a rolling bag of some sort. If no I would rather put it all into my large messenger bag.
  • Have I reviewed my checklist?  I am in the process of making a comprehensive plein air checklist that I can use for every trip. I'll share it soon!
Here are some photos of my struggle to condense my stuff for my trip to Stan Sperlak's workshop. We leave Sunday and we can't wait!


Trying to fit my new Stan Sperlak set into my Heilman Box. Not an easy task but I did it!

Before Photo...How will I condense all of this stuff?
Yes I need more than my tiny box of pastels for a 3 day workshop so I am bringing my Heilman Box, backpack size, EasyL easel and tripod. My box get's bungeed to the easel shelf. I need a lot of paper and a pad of tracing paper to store finished work. I need a foamcore backing board which I score to fold smaller. I need a zipper pouch with misc supplies....watercolor set, brush, sketchbook,markers,foam pieces, small can of fixative.   
I need it all to be on wheels as Stan's farm is big and while you can drive to some locations I prefer to be mobile.

After....Got it all on my small rolling tool bag! Whew!
I managed to condense it yet make everything easily accessible. I put in in my old rolling tool cart which should leave plenty of room in the vehicle for Jayne and Holly's stuff. Whew!

I need your help!  If you have any suggestions for items to put on my plein air checklist  please comment below!! Thanks!

3 comments:

Jo Castillo said...

Ah, good list. Then you have to get personal, too. Sunscreen, bug repellant, good hat and comfortable shoes. That sounds like a great workshop. Have fun!

Kendall Kessler said...

Hope it is a great one!

robertsloan2art said...

Just like in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a good towel that you don't mind getting pigment-stained. I generally wet one end of it while working and use it to wipe my hands, dry end to dry them off. Helps a lot. Dry end also helps for wiping off pastels that have gotten grimy, which wet-wipes won't do. I used a bath towel sized one for that. White or light color good because any staining colors just define it as the Painting Towel for years.