Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Time to actually PACK the stuff.

From Right to left:  A plastic tube for a brush holder (packaging from some product or other), Pencil, pen, hook for the brush holder, palette knife, Brushes: bristle flats # 8, 6, 6, 4, white nylon flat #2, synthetic sable round, brush bag, and underneath the sketch book.  1 lb.

An Open Box M pochade, and a light tripod.  This is a really light-weight kit that won't stand up to any wind.  It's mostly useful just for holding stuff still and keeping my painting out of the sand.  5.8 lbs.

Oil colors, detailed here.  Packed in a plastic pencil box.  MSDS attached with flash point highlighted.  Sheet attached which says:   The enclosed materials are artist’s colors made from vegetable oil.  They have a flash point above 550 degrees and are not flammable.  (I write the same thing in the language of any foreign country I travel to.)  2.5 lbs.

A couple of mediums, detailed here.  A small jar of baby oil for brush cleaning.  More can be purchased at my destination.  Instructions for BRUSH CLEANING WITHOUT SOLVENT. This is packed with the MSDS, with flash points highlighted.   .8 lbs.

Miscellaneous stuff.  A couple of bungee cords.  A car sunshade, which might clip to the easel and add some shade for the canvas.  A small roll of paper towels or TP for brush cleaning, and a grocery bag for garbage... just enough for my first day.  Thumb tacks for attaching canvas to stretchers, A couple of pencils and a tiny sketch book. A value scale.  A roll of narrow painter's tape for marking off paintings, Command adhesive for hanging paintings to dry, ATG tape for temporarily sticking canvas to cardboard.  All of this in a stuff sack.  1.1 lbs.

Canvas, as detailed here.  For three weeks I am packing what you see above.  If I need more, I'll get it there and paint on acrylic ground.  Some of this will go in my carry-on to spread the weight around a bit.  If there's too much weight in my bags, I'll leave behind the largest canvas (and miss it when I'm there.) 10.3 lbs of painting supports.

When I get to my destination, this stuff will pack into my carry-on backpack to take wherever I want to paint.

Things I will buy or acquire at my destination:  Grass mats for laying painting supplies on the sand.  Plastic grocery sacks for garbage.  Paper towels or tp to clean brushes with. Mineral oil for brush cleaning.  Jar lids for putting medium in.  If I run out of paint or other supplies, I can buy something there.

Here's a comprehensive resource for any questions I haven't answered.  Making a Mark

Enough packing.  Time to paint!

Monday, January 24, 2011


These are the oil colors I take to the tropics:

Titanium White:  A large tube
Cadmium Yellow Medium (Sometimes I carry Cadmium Yellow Light instead.)
Cadmium Red Light (A small tube of this is enough.)
Quinacridone Red (A moderately small tube is enough.)
Anthraquinone Red  (I could travel without this.  It is a darker version of Quinacridone Red, and a shortcut.)
Ultramarine Blue
Pthalo Blue (Essential for tropical water)
Pthalo Emerald  (Also essential for tropical water, and useful in skies)

And if I feel like it and I have room:
Transparent Red Iron Oxide (A shortcut for creating warm darks)
Cadmium Green (Useful in skies.)

Saturday, January 22, 2011


If you have limited room in your luggage and you're on a budget, you might want to make a lap box to use in place of an easel.  Here's how:

1.  Purchase a plastic project case.  They cost a few bucks at an office supply store.  The case should be large enough to hold your canvas attached to cardboard or your canvas panel, plus your plastic or paper palette, flat on the inside.  My box is large enough for 9 x 12.

2.  Spray paint the entire inside of the box black.  This will shade your painting and palette from direct sunlight if you sit with the box facing toward the sun.

3.  With a small drill or a nail, make holes 3 or 4 inches from the hinge, on both sides of the top and the bottom of the box.  Feed a string through the holes, and tie it so that the string holds the lid of the box up, at just a little more than 90 degrees.  (If it is less, the box will close on you when you don't want it to.)

4.  Get a piece of plexiglass that fits in the bottom of the box.  Spray paint the back side of it gray.

5.  Cover the back with duct tape so that the gray paint won't scratch off.

6.  Place your palette in the bottom of the box.  Clip the canvas on cardboard or the panel to the top with clips that you can get at a hardware store.  You can also carry a bungee cord, which is useful for fastening the lap box to picnic benches, etc.  This box weighs 1.6 lbs with a single canvas and cardboard.

7.  You can close the lap box with paint in it, and store it in the freezer in between paintings.

8.  The watercolor version can be made without the string hinge, so your paper can lie flat.  If you wish, you can hot-glue your watercolor palette into the bottom of the box. This box weighs 1.3 lbs.