Packing for Plein Air Painting

| May 26, 2009
EasyL Pro Pochade Painting Box

EasyL Pro Pochade Painting Box

Packing for Plein Air Painting

So my final shipment of supplies for my plein air adventure with John Taft showed up today. For the benefit of those, like me, that hunger to know what setup other artists use, I thought I would post what I will be packing for plein air painting. I long for the day that these items bear the road-worn patina of an avid plein air painter. Until then, I took a few pics to remind some of how their supplies looked when they were new. For those of you that already have a setup, don’t be afraid to chime in with what I am missing. I appreciate any and all input!

Here is a list of my outdoor painting gear:

  • Easel – I selected the EasyL Pro pochade box from Artwork Essentials. I outfitted the box with a few accessories like the Wet Panel CarrierPalette Extension BoardUtility/Stone Bag, Palette Cup and Large Viewfinder. The ordering process was very easy and everything arrived quickly in perfect condition. To make the mixing area within the box easier to clean and mimic my palette at home, I went to Home Depot and bought a piece of thin window glass and cut it to fit perfectly in the bottom of the box. Before setting the glass with 100% silicone sealant, I back primed the glass with medium grey automotive primer so I would have neutral color upon which to do my mixing – just like the one at home. I also added two pieces of lightweight aluminum angle to the bottom sides of the box to combat any potential abuse that the bottom edge may endure.
EasyL wet panel carrier

EasyL Wet Panel Carrier

  • Brushes – Mr. Taft recommends quality bristle brushes including flats, brights, and filberts. I bought a range of sizes for painting small, including two of each with size ranging from #2 through #8. The brand I bought was Robert Simmons Signet bristle brushes. The brushes fit in a handy tote that my son bought me for Father’s Day last year. It also holds razor blades and my sketching materials among other things.
  • Sketch Pad, Pencils (with sharpener) and Eraser: I’ll take a small 5″ x 7″ sketch pad with medium 2B graphite pencil and an eraser.
  • Painting Panels – My new favorites are Fredrix Linen Boards. They have a nice smoothish texture, are nice quality, and are dead flat and seem to stay that way. I am taking 10 – 15 panels in 6″ x 8″ to 11″ x 14″ sizes. The 6″ x 8″ boards are are not linen but primed masonite, which will be used mainly to quickly note colors when the light is fleeting. I experienced the definition of fleeting light tonight when the setting sun angle lit up the rolling mountain prairie for about 15 seconds in a green tinged cadmium yellow deep. I would have been toast!
  • Paint – Oh yeah, paint will be handy. I use Holbein Aqua Oils. I Love them, especially for the field because you can easily clean up with unscented baby wipes from Walmart and clean brushes with good old H2O. Aqua Oils were recommended to me by veteran Colorado western artist, Dwayne Brech (my sister’s father in-law!). The recommended palette for the trip is Titanium White, Cadmium Yellow Pale, Cadmium Red Medium, Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, Viridian, Cobalt Blue, Cadmium Orange Medium, and Mauve Blue Shade. I will take a small amount of Holbein water soluble linseed oil with me but don’t plan to use much.
  • Electronic Gadgets: Canon 10D digital SLR and iPhone. I will use the camera to take reference photos of what I paint and will use the iPhone primarily for twitter updates while in the field. The twitter client on the phone has the ability to geomap my location, which will be fun for retracing my painting locations. Hey one of my favorite artists Jay Moore does it and why should he have all the fun?
  • Miscellaneous Stuff: Dorky hat (my wife is embarrassed when I wear it but who am I trying to impress? The bears? Also, dark clothes to limit reflected light, bug spray, sun screen, plastic bag for trash, and a portable seat.

Well, that’s the bulk of it. If anyone else has bright ideas from experience I would be grateful to become wiser.

Category: Fine Art and Painting

Comments (4)

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  1. Ooh – you’ll have to give us a review of that EasyL pochade once you’ve broken it in! I’ve had it with my Guerilla box and I’ve had an eye on that one for a few months now – it looks great.

    Have fun at the workshop! John is such a good guy, and a great painter as well, so I’m sure you’ll have a great experience.

  2. Lee says:

    Thanks for visiting Stacey. I’m looking forward to putting the box through the paces. I have used it here at home to get familiar with it before going out. I’m definitely looking forward to meeting John in person.

    For the benefit of ADNW visitors, Stacey was my inspiration for starting this blog. Her blog is an invaluable resource for artists that are thinking of a professional career as an artist. She is very generous about sharing her experience! You can see Stacey’s “Blank Canvas” blog at :

  3. randy saffle says:

    You look set and ready for action to me. I went with the Open Box M pochade instead, but I always wonder if the Easy L would have been a better choice.

    I wouldn’t mind that Panel carrier for myself. Any idea if it will it hold 1/4″ thick panels?

    I’m excited for your workshop and wish I was going with you. Have fun!

  4. Lee says:

    Thanks for the well wishes Randy. I will try to post something related to the workshop before I leave for Japan and China a week from tomorrow. I measured the slots in the panel carrier and they measure exactly 1/2 inch. You would be hard pressed to fit two 1/4 inch panels back-to-back, but a single would fit in each slot with plenty of room to spare.