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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Tips for Flying with Pastels

'Summer Blues'       2.5 x 3.5        pastel        ©Karen Margulis
Just in time for summer travel! I'd like to share this post from the archives:

I am in the middle of packing for my next workshop. I have to carry booth pastels , paintings and a lot of other art supplies. And I have to make sure everything arrives safely. Ah the joys of air travel!  Travel with pastels and going through airport screening doesn't have to be something to dread. You just need to be prepared.

When I travel with pastels I usually bring them in my carryon. (Not always though but I have hard sided luggage and have never had a problem with pastels being crushed or broken) But 98% of the time I carry on my pastel box. I don't take it out of my backpack and would say that I am stopped for extra screening maybe 10% of the time. Most of the time I go right through! Here are a few tips:

  • Allow extra time to go through security.The last time I was pulled for screening it took the agent 20 minutes just to get to my bag. Imagine the stress if you are cutting it close to your flight time! Give yourself a cushion. It is much better to get to your gate early than stressed in the screening line.
  • Label your box. I have a label on mine that reads: Artist Chalk Pastels along with my contact information.
  • The TSA agent will want to open your pastel box. You are not allowed to touch it and you can nicely offer to explain how to open the box. Some agents will be nice about it and some not as pleasant. Be pleasant no matter what!
  • Watch for packing stacks of books or magazines. The last couple of times my luggage was pulled it wasn't the pastel box that they were concerned about. It was the pile of books in my suitcase!
Below I am sharing photos of the pastels I am brought last summer to Art in the Open.  I brought both of my Heilman sketchboxes....the double for use on my tripod and the single for the times when I just want to sit at a table and paint. I have a selection of Terry Ludwig pastels in the bigger box and Giraults in the single box.

For more information on flying with pastels check out this great article by Richard McKinley:


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