Over the years of posting photos here of work in process at Art Festivals, you’ve asked about the set up I use to paint watercolors away from home. I try to keep my traveling watercolor kit small, lightweight and nimble. At festivals, I usually use an easel to accommodate face-to-face conversation with strolling visitors. If you don’t have an easel, don’t fret, because there are alternatives. I didn’t take an easel to France on either trip with workshopsinfrance.com, and it worked out beautifully with just a little preparation.
Traveling with Simple Art Supplies
There’s a lot of pluses to keeping your watercolor painting gear simple. Traveling can feel chaotic, and the urge to see and experience everything that’s foreign and new can tangle our ability to focus. Having to choose from too many art supply options on top of so much visual stimulation might prohibit making anything at all. Assembling a kit that’s lightweight, effective and ready to go at a moment’s notice is a good plan. Take it outdoors to your own backyard, or meet a friend at a local park to sketch for an hour with a bag lunch. Get acquainted with your set up near home before you take it on a longer journey, and make notes on accoutrements to add or remove from your new kit. Watercolor travel supplies to consider are listed below…
Folding chair (optional)
Travelling Watercolor Palette
Watercolor Brushes (traveling style with caps are excellent)
Small Cup and a bottle of water
When you’re traveling, water is heavy, and studio style rinse cups are too big and bulky to stuff into luggage or a backpack. It’s easier to use a small cup with a tiny pour from your drinking water. You don’t need more than about a half cup of rinse water with watercolors. My diy cup hangs on the hinge-knob of my easel with a loop of light gage wire (you can see it swinging on my easel in the photos snapped at the San Diego Artwalk below and above). There is also this nifty little guy on amazon (below) for table-top painting.
Paper towels or a cotton rag
Pencil and Eraser
Foam Core with watercolor paper taped down, under a newsprint flap
Watercolor Paper Options when Traveling
Cut sheets of watercolor paper to a size and format you’d like to work on. You can use masking tape to attach the watercolor paper to a small sheet of foam core, or stiff mat board. This (above, right) is typical of what I bring on a plane, with watercolor sheets (arches hot press 140 lb) attached to both sides of the board, and a newsprint curtain to protect the watercolor paper’s surface from scratches or smudging in my carry-on bag. This way, I can paint on the plane to pass the time, or begin to sketch from reference photos I’ll paint later.
How do you travel with watercolors? If you have tips to share, please leave them in the comments so we can all get smarter together.
Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you in the next post!
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If you’re imagining your future and then looking back at today through a rear-view mirror, it can wear you out.Seth Godin
Writing a book (all caps, WRITING A BOOK) or preparing for a TED talk (already in all caps) can paralyze an ordinarily productive person.
At the same time, tweeting is easy for a lot of people.
That’s because Twitter makes the false promise that it’s all about now. Whatever. Write what you’re doing, or feeling, or angry about. It’ll be obsolete in ten minutes. No future, no rear view mirror.
On the other hand, a book feels permanent. It’s not for now, it’s for later. It’s your testament, something for strangers to read.
And so, when you sit to write your book (or your blog, for that matter), you imagine who’s going to read it, one day in the future. And then you reflect from that distant, amorphous place back to now.
Without a doubt, we need to do this now and then. We need the discipline to think hard about the implications of our actions. We need to plan, to envision, to make trade-offs. It keeps us on track, doing work we’re proud of.
But when you find that it’s paralyzing you, it might be better to get back to now. Sit around the campfire and simply tell your story. Your story as of now, for the people who are with you, now.