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Friday, June 13, 2014

How to Pack A Lot of Pastels in a Little Travel Box

'Down in the Garden'         8x10        pastel         ©Karen Margulis
It wasn't easy. I started with a table full of potential pastels. Who would be traveling to Iceland with me? Who would I have to leave behind. It was agonizing. I knew I wanted to get them into one box. I also wanted them to be securely packed. I had a bit of a dilemma.

I am bringing my Gogh Box on the trip. I can fit a small Terry Ludwig box inside. If I take out the inserts I can get more pastels in the box but I had the unfortunate experience of dropping the box and having a lot of shattered pastels.  So now I prefer to use my wooden Great American box with the foam inserts. This doesn't allow me to bring as many pastels so I have to give my choices a lot of thought.

TIP: You can pack a lot of pastels in a sturdy box. I save all of my pastel boxes. I usually use small pieces of pastel so I can take more colors. The trick is to make sure they are packed tightly. I line the bottom and top of the box with foam. I close the box and shake. If I hear the pastels moving around ...they are not tight enough. I will add more foam or thicker foam. I will also secure the box closed with several rubber bands. Shake again to make sure you don't hear any rattling pastels.

Jennifurr is in my Gogh box. Too bad she can go to Iceland!

A table full of possible pastel choices.

  •  Choosing my travel palette took me about 2 hours of careful consideration. I pulled pastels from my Stan Sperlak selection of Terry Ludwig pastels with a few of my favorite Great American colors. Since they are the same size they all fit nicely into the Great American wood box.

  • I made sure I  chose a good selection of darks and lights and filled in with some middle values....some grass, sky and water colors as well as some neutrals.  I would have loved to have 60 more pastels but I will make this work.

  • I also want to bring my new Girault pastels. These will fill in any gaps in color or value I may have. I broke my pastels in half and was able to fit them in two small narrow boxes. I will use alligator clips to clip the boxes on the side of my Gogh Box which will give me more room but will still have the pastels handy. All three boxes fit inside the Gogh Box.

Voila! My pastel selection for Iceland.
Now I have to test the set. I have some Iceland pictures and I will study them and try to do some small color studies with my set. I want to find out what I am missing before I get there!



Traveling to paint is so challenging, especially pastels. I have been to Iceland...does changing planes at the airport count???? A friend of mine who goes to Iceland so often he is in the phone book there took a painting of mine as a gift to a a hostess. I love my tiny Iceland connection and hope to paint there myself some dayl

Carole Scureman said...

How wonderful that you are getting ready to go to Iceland. I am still very excited to be painting and doing value sketches, under paintings etc. You really are a wonderful teacher and artist. You really energized my love for pastels. I can't remember when you are leaving on your trip...but I hope you have a wonderful time.

Ell said...

I can tell you have some stuff under the Great American wooden box -- could you show us a picture of the other supplies you pack in your Gogh box? I hope you have a wonderful trip to Iceland. Quite a change from your tropical cruises, huh?

Laurie said...

May I ask where do you get the wooden Great American box you mention? I looked online and don't see it anywhere. Maybe it comes as part of a set? Thank you for all of your posts, you are very inspirational to me!

Karen said...

Thank you!! The box came with the plein air half stick set!