|'Along the Rio Grande' 5x7 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
Make it Work. That is my motto when it comes to downsizing my pastels for plein air. It's Tim Gunn's catchphrase for his fashion designers but it applies nicely to painting. Once I realized I didn't need every pastel in my box for a plein air trip it literally lifted a huge load off my shoulders. I can take just enough pastels to fit in whatever travel box I am using. If I don't have the "right" pastel I will just have to make it work!
I do have a method I follow when packing for a plein air trip. It helps ensure that I have a good selection of pastels. It's as easy as 1-2-3. Follow along as I pack for my next great adventure...a painting trip next week with artist friends in Phoenix AZ.
|making a list and checking it twice...step 2|
I usually cram my pastels into a cardboard box but I tripped over my tripod with Gogh Box while it was closed and the box along with the cardboard box of pastels crashed to the floor shattering the box of pastels. I am going to test out this Great American box on this trip.
|I rigged the Gogh Box to hold a small box of extras plus a working palette tray|
STEP 2: Choose Your Pastels. The formula is to have a dark, middle and light value of each color. You don't need a full stick of each. Smaller pieces are fine. I won't paint larger than 8x10 so small pieces of pastels will work. I make a chart as I go through my pastels and mark off when I find the right color and value. I make sure I have a nice rich dark...My Terry Ludwig eggplant and a beautiful light value cloud pastel. I also consider the painting location and gear my color choices to the subjects I will paint. This step takes time!
STEP 3: Test out Your Selections. Once I have my choices in the box I find a reference for the location I will visit and try a sample painting. I pulled a few of my Arizona and New Mexico photos to try out my color choices. The more quick studies you can do the more you will be able to tweak your choices. So far I am happy with my choices. I did the two paintings in this post with my selection. I will try a few more and then.....if I don't have it I will remind myself to Make it Work!