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Monday, September 07, 2015

The Best Small Plein Air Kit Ever!

'The Race'               11x14               pastel                ©Karen Margulis
purchase on etsy $100
 I had good intentions. My plan was to blog during my Caribbean cruise last week but as you may have noticed I didn't meet that goal. It must have been the hot sunshine but I somehow became totally useless. I parked myself on a lounger or floated in the sea all day long for seven days. I did manage to walk everyday and I did manage to paint a few minis. But I didn't do as much painting as I had planned. I probably needed the break. Sometimes you need to just empty your mind so it can be refilled!

I am home now. The laundry is in and I am back at the easel. I am refreshed and revived and full of exciting plans for the Fall and into 2016. There are a lot of things in the works that I will be sharing in the coming days. But first a quick review of the plein air kit I took on the cruise.

My 'Plein Air Lite' Kit
It has taken some time to tweak my set up but I am happy to report that I now have the best set up for traveling light with pastels. I call this my 'Plein Air Lite' set up. It is good for the times when you don't want to bring a lot of equipment but want enough supplies to paint some smaller pieces. I don't use an easel or tripod for this set up. Here are the details:
  • I am using a Heilman single sketchbox. This has one side for pastels and a kickstand so you can use the other side of the box as an easel. It holds paper up to 6x8.
  • A small piece of foamcore for a backing board along with some small bankers clasps
  • small pack of baby wipes
  • small micro fiber dishtowel
  • 5x7 portfolio folder for papers and finished paintings
  • small 4x6 $1 photo album for mini paper and finished paintings
  • softside lunch box with zipper and handles.....this is the best part! All of the supplies including the Heilman box fit perfectly inside the lunchbox making it a breeze to pack!

In the above photos you can see the set up at work. All I have to do is find a flat surface....in this case my lounge chair....open the lunchbox and the Heilman box and start painting. Clean up is easy with the wipes and the towel protects the chair. Finished paintings are stored in the photo album and placed inside the pocket of the lunch box. Easy, compact and light!!

Painting on a cruise ship and exploring caribbean islands as an artist is a great way to escape the upcoming winter. I still have a couple of openings for my February Art Cruise. All artists will get a plain air lite set up (excluding the Heilman box and pastels)  Details of the cruise can be found here: http://kemstudios.blogspot.com/p/pastel-classes-and-workshops.html


Julie said...

Thanks for writing such interesting and informative posts Karen. I'm going on a cruise at the end of the month and I'm trying to put together a plein air kit following your recommendations. Can you tell me where you bought your soft lunchbox? I've searched everywhere on the net to find one the same but haven't been able to find one. 😊

Jo Castillo said...

Great plein air kit. Thanks, Karen.

robertsloan2art said...

Beautiful! Love the large painting and the minis. Your stripped down kit is elegant and the single Heilman holds a lot of pieces! So cool!

robertsloan2art said...

Karen, have you ever counted the pieces in your Heilman Single Sketchbox? It is so cool and so tempting. I'm pretty sure you have over 100 pieces in it!

LOVE the lunch box setup. That's just so awesome. No one would notice that if someone was painting at work, not till it's open and set up!