Sunday, May 18, 2014

Have you ever painted in plein air?

I haven't but I'm planning to paint outdoors this summer.  Ottawa has a watercolour society that goes out twice a month to paint on location. In addition, for one of those outings, they'll be coming to paint my garden (
When I starting looking into this, I felt a bit overwhelmed.
Therefore, I had to get my act together which includes getting supplies I can carry from the car to the painting location.  Since I have never done this, I researched what I needed and here is what I found out.  What's important to keep in mind is that once on location, I may need to move spots and therefore need to be mobile.
Here is a list of basic supplies:
  • Travel easel:  there a number of travel easels on the market. A typical home easel weighs about 15lbs. There are easels made for watercolouring.
  • Pencils: you'll need a couple for drawing. They are best kept, along with an eraser and sharpener in a small zip lock bag so the graphite won't get everywhere.
  • Paper and tape for stretching paper: I bought some . But I guess some pre-cut paper would do.  This would also be a good time to use a block of paper.
  • Travel palette:  find one that holds a good amount of paint. I recently one in New York that I hope works out.
  • Paint: limited selection would be ideal. You may even choose to  have some paint in your palette to eliminate carrying extra paint.
  • Foam board: this is to hold the paper down.  Luckily these are light. 
  • Brushes: I did not want to bring my Kolinsky brushes so I recently bought some cheaper synthetic brushes.  Depending on sizes of paper you likely do not need many of them. Remember....only bring what you need. A dozen brushes are way too many to carry all day.  You may want to use and old bamboo roller brush holder. Bring a rubber band to hold it together.  
  • Water container: a collapsible a water container will save space.
  • A small spray bottle (optional): these are great for misting your drying paintings or creating special effects.
  • Water:  The amount of water you will need will depend on your painting style and how you use it. If you rinse your brushes often
  • Paper towel:  This is required to blot your brushes
  • Snack:  just in case you get the munchies
In addition, you may want to bring a camera to take a photo to allow you to touch up your paintings back in your studio.  Everything should fit into a small case or bag.  
Does anyone have any experience with plein air painting and could give us some tips?

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