Since today is a driving day I thought I would write about the supplies I now take with me when I paint on location. Before this summer I would go plein air painting, that is, paint on location, at most once a week, and then usually with my supply laden car nearby.
During the past six weeks, however, I went out plein air sketching most days by bike or by foot, often painting miles away from my home base. The first day hiking with all my supplies was a rude awaking as my stuff weighted far too much for me to easily carry. As I staggered along that first morning I pondered, ‘Did I really need the stool, side table, backboard, extra paint, large palette, several sketchbooks, paper towels and who knows what?’
Over that first week I began to distinguish between essential supplies- an easel, paper, paint, pastels, water, and then all sorts of nice-to-have extras. Eventually I reduced the weight of my supplies into a manageable amount that fit into a wide-mouth day pack. And I learned to use the rack on my bike as a side table, my helmet as a shelf for holding my supplies and the ground as a seat for resting.
The photo above shows my set-up at the site of Elk Pond in Telluride Mountain Village and the photo below is a close-up of my painting supplies.
- A day pack
- A lightweight easel with an attached hammock for holding supplies
- Two sketchbooks- one large one for the painting and one small one for thumbnail sketches and scratch paper. The small sketchbook also has my color charts in the back for reference.
- A small set of pastel pencils with kneaded eraser, blender and a pen
- A pouch with paintbrushes, a few tubes of paint, a spray bottle, sponge, a few folded paper towels, palette paper, two small water containers and a few clips. The palette paper attaches to my bike rack with a clip and is a great space for mixing up color.
- One small palette with some of my most used Holbein gouache paints (an old Windsor Newton watercolor palette with the original colors removed). Most of the wells have a a dab of white along with the individual gouache color.
- A water bottle
- A small ruler
And I sometimes take my bike, helmet, bug spray, sun screen, rain gear, a hat, a sun shirt or a fleece.