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What do you bring when you want to paint outdoors with everything but the kitchen sink....

Soon my weekly class is about to restart with the face to face class painting onsite in my local beachside town, Terrigal. We are going to paint as though we are tourists, away from home, seeing everything with new fresh eyes. And able to move around for multiple sketches. It is important that we pack light so that it is not a chore to move around, a simple set up is important.

I change the equipment I take out with me depending on whether I am `plein air painting’ or urban sketching (or sketching in the bush) even though I am still painting not just sketching. Wondering why or what the difference is?

When I am heading out to paint in my local area - by the beach or waterways, or a local lookout point, I can usually park close so my gear/kit can be a bit more involved.

* I usually paint larger, sometimes even full sheet and I will stand at my easel (watercolour easel by;

* I use my normal studio palette (CMW);

* My usual brushes in a brush roll;

* If I’m worried about shade I have an umbrella with a cement stand from Bunnings that I can set up easily (but can’t carry far). Aside from being fairskinned and easily burnt, I find it very hard to paint if the sun is on my paper - it is very glary white, so the shade is important for several reasons.

When urban sketching (in city streets) or sketching in the bush or a place where I want to be more mobile, ie I might be planning to walk and sketch several locations. This means some changes to my kit for several reasons -

* I like to be a little less obtrusive in the space, so I don’t usually stand at my easel, but sit at a small chair (my Helinox chair packs into a small zippered bag).

* If not travelling super light I will have a small travel easel that sometimes I set up low in front of me, or I can use it flat as a small table for my palette and waterwell (pictured). This easel and backing fits in my backpack.

* I have a smaller palette which I have created with empty half pans and my favourite tube paints squeezed in as I don’t like travel pan palettes. I haven’t pictured my usual travel palette as I can’t find it at the moment, it is hiding in a very good spot, or I may have left it at a location sadly.

* Paper options - I usually have a variety of sizes of Arches blocks in my pack as there is no need for a backing board with a block. These range in size from 6x4” upwards. Sketchbooks - I have a few favourites which I will details the differences in a future blog. I love the Muji square Note M, Jasart has a great little soft cover landscape version, and the blue suede covered Windsor & Newton sketchbook are 3 of my faves.

To pare back even more where I might want to have a mini kit on me at all times like on a recent holiday, without carrying something heavy, I have set up this little Haco-Biz pouch (from Larry Post) with -

* a couple of fountain pens (Twisbi fountain pen with deAtrimentis black document ink, and Sailor Fude nib pen),

* favourite mechanical pencil, and kneadable eraser;

* white gel pen or white posca, tube of white gouache;

* folding travel brushes (2 sizes Escoda #10 and a thin one, plus a couple of short handled brushes laying in the base)

* water brush in case no water is on hand

* mini palette made with Altoid tin and palette inserts from an Etsy seller;

* tiny water container;

Added to this kit is a small sketchbook - on my recent trip I was trialling The Traveller’s Notebook with it’s gorgeous leather cover and multiple insert books to chose from. Often with a small kit I like to have something as a backing board if thinking I will be working on my lap. I have made one with a peice of foamcore and electrical tape so that I can fold it smaller. Other essentials for a mini kit are bulldog clips or an elastic the right fit for the paper width (for those windy moments when the pages want to flap around).

I hope that this gives you some insight into how I pack my painting kit to work for different locations and scenarios.

I might also be an art supply addict!

Happy painting and sketching...


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