My husband Marc built a wood pochade box with hinged side panels (the lid) into which I can place a 10 x 12 inch sta-wet palette. The side panels are used to place medium, shop cloth, paints, palette knife and brushes. A bungy cord keeps the panels open in case of wind and holds a paper towel roll. Two L-shaped wood ‘handles’ slide onto a camera tripod. The vertical canvas holder is attached to the camera tri-pod via a quick release tripod plate. This type of system can be purchased at Art Box and Panel. The Best Brella plein air umbrella works well (except when wind is greater than 15 km per hour). It has a nifty device for attaching the umbrella to your tripod and includes extension bars.
For surfaces, I bring canvas if not hiking too far. Canson’s Plein Air Art Canva boards are surprising good for both acrylic and oils. The boards can be peeled off the pack or left in ‘book’ form. Otherwise I use canvas boards or door skin. Canvas paper works nicely for quick practice studies.
For pigments it is helpful to have cool and warm version of each of the primaries, along with transparent red oxide and titanium white. I like to have some transparent paints as well as opaques. If I have room, I will bring yellow oxide, Mars black and chromium green oxide. For acrylic medium, a mixture of 3 parts GAC 500 to one part Acrylic Glazing medium works well. For oils, walnut alkyd medium and gamsol. Click here for an interesting article on limited palettes for plein air painting. When using oils, we need to have a way to carry our paintings and not smear the wet paint.
For brushes, 1/4 to 3/4 inch flats plus a drawing brush (1/8th inch flat) are all I usually need. A small round or a liner brush can be useful for delicate lines.
Other things I bring: blue shop cloths, a ViewCatcher, a small sketch book, eraser and 2b pencil, a tube to hold brushes, a zippered plastic bag for paints, a garbage bag, my camera or cell phone (the camera is also useful as a weight to hold the easel setup in wind – or a bag with a rock), brush soap, plastic water bottle for cleaning acrylic brushes (for oils, a metal container for gamsol) and a small container for medium, and lastly a small mister bottle. Phew! It is a lot to carry. The option is to bring a watercolour pad or gessoed paper, primary colours plus white, a couple of brushes and containers and sit on a rock to paint.
I wear a sunscreen shirt and a wide-brimmed hat, and am prepared for a variety of temperatures. It can get cold on a hot day if painting beside a waterfall in the wind and all that jazz. In the winter, it’s indoors for me!
To pack all of this, I bought a used knapsack. The older designs have a wider width at the bottom and fits my pochade box.
Once you have everything organized, keep it all in one place in your studio. You can keep separate tube paints for plein air painting to keep packing simpler.Mastering Methods