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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Packing For Plein Air with Pastels

'French Meadow'         5x7      plein air pastel         ©Karen Margulis
available $45
It's time to pack my supplies! I am teaching a plein air workshop with Marsha Savage this weekend in the North Georgia mountains. I am looking forward to sharing tips and techniques for plain air with pastels with our group.  As I was cleaning out my portfolios I came across some lost plein air studies from my trip to Normandy France with Stan Sperlak and the Painters Passport group. It was fun to find them!

Since I am packing plein air supplies I thought it was a good time to share this post on my set up from the blog archives. Enjoy!

'French Meadow ll'  $45

 It has to be compact and light. Everything has to fit in my backpack. Over the years I have continuously downsized my plein air set up. I remember the days of dragging a rolling cart filled to the top with painting supplies. Set up took forever. I could never find what I wanted in the cart full of unnecessary stuff.  It was discouraging and plein air wasn't something I enjoyed.

Until I downsized! Now I have several different downsized plein air set-ups. I keep them always ready. The type of painting situation helps me decide which set up to bring.  Today I will share my Compact Travel Light Set Up.

Travel Light Kit: Heilman double sketchbook pastel box, Heilman easel attachment,  Oben AT3400 tripod

Everything fits in my Orvis backpack with room to spare. I will always carry this on the plane. I have room for extra travel needs such as my toiletries and iPad mini.  I use an Oben AT3400 tripod which folds up to 16". It will fit in the backpack but sometimes I put it in my checked bag if I want extra room in the backpack.

Heidi checks out my set-up. Here you can see the inside of the Orvis backpack. I love this pack because it sits so well without flopping over. I used it to weigh down my tripod using a mini bungee cord. It also has plenty of outside pockets.

This is all of my gear. I am using a Heilman double sketchbook pastel box. I put the metal ease attachment into a small stuff sack to keep it protected. I have my backing board with bankers clips. This is actually a hard plastic board which will hold paper. It is called an Artworks Book from Easel Butler.  I have a pouch for baby wipes, a zippered pouch for miscellaneous supplies such as tape, watercolor set, alcohol, fixative. I also have 2 black portfolio folders by Itoya. I use these to store my paper and the finished paintings.

Here is the Heilman box open. I have an assortment of Terry Ludwig pastels on the left and Girault pastels on the right. I do vary the selection depending on my location.  I don't preselect my pastels before I start painting since my palette is already limited!

Here is the entire set up. I was asked about the stability of this set up. I did notice some shaking but I am a fairly aggressive plein air painter so I did hold onto the board to steady it some. If I was a kind and gentle painter it wouldn't be as noticeable. It really didn't bother me. I am trading size and weight for complete stability and to me it is well worth it!

If you'd like to see this set up in action watch my plein air demo video on YouTube click HERE


Heilman Designs
Easel Butler Artworks Book
Itoya Original Art Portfolios


robertsloan2art said...

Your palette organization is personal. I looked at it and found it hard to tell what you had in warm and cool primaries and secondaries, because of the way you group them it's much harder to tell. But easy to see clumps of sky, clumps of dirt or sand or skin, a good many red-oranges in the Girault, lots of turquoises... your hand knows those palettes!

Unknown said...

from the easel butler website:
At present, we have stopped producing the ArtWorkBook. It is not cost efficient to make and we only did so because we love it and were happy to offer it to you as a convenience for those who do not have the tools to make their own. If you can and do wish to make your own, just write us and we will be happy to send you the directions.