Travel Tips

by Sarah Judson May 06, 2012

Speaking of plein air festivals, here is a re-post of our travel tips from a few years ago: Preparation is key when packing for plein air excursions. Just like backpacking, every ounce counts. These are some tips to consider when deciding what to bring or leave in the studio:
  • Take only the colors you need. Consider the time of year and the location you are planning on visiting when thinking about your palette. This may mean just 6 small tubes of paint, or a dozen half-stick pastels. Fewer and smaller brushes is also a helpful option.
  • One of the the most satisfactory packing methods is to put your paint box with its contents wrapped in a plastic bag in a suitcase checked through to your destination. Include a note labeling them as "artist's colors, non-flammable" (never use the word paint). On the other hand, the Wet Painting Carrier can work well as a carry on item (you don't want to take the chance of losing your paintings in checked luggage). If you're driving or taking the train, small amounts of turpentine/mineral spirits can be stored in tightly sealed unbreakable containers to prevent spills. Of course, if you're flying, solvents are not allowed, so you will have to get them after you arrive at your destination.
  • Take panels instead of stretched canvases.
  • Paper Towels are always a good idea; you can cut the roll in half to reduce size/weight!
  • When looking for other art supplies, travel sized/travel friendly options are always your best bet. Perhaps sample sizes are available.
  • Don’t forget sunscreen, bug repellent, water, snacks, and a hat.
Once you arrive at your destination, how will you carry your supplies? Pochade boxes and plein air easels (French, Soltek, etc.) are specially made to hold your art supplies inside them, and are great ways to limit what you take with you in the field. Otherwise a small bag or tackle box can do the trick. If you are hiking into the field, or even just down the street, you should be able to carry everything comfortably in one trip. This could be a comfortable backpack, shoulder bag, cart, or any combination. Every artist has their own particular way of doing things. Try out different options and see what works best for you. Sometimes a sketchbook and some watercolors will be all you need (postcards made from watercolor paper are a wonderful way to send greetings to friends or family). Or if using oils or acrylics, perhaps a limited palette of five or six tubes will lighten your load and still allow you to mix the colors you need. Any painting that you do on your trip will deepen your awareness and create more vivid memories. You'll also meet the locals this way, and you'll understand each other even if you don't speak the language.



Sarah Judson
Sarah Judson

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