Tuesday, April 27, 2010

May 2010--Drawing & Painting in Plein Air

Someday we will have nice weather again (please!), so I'd like to talk about what to take with you when painting or drawing outdoors--or en plein air (the French way of saying "in open air").

To begin, it's important to think of traveling light. One of the biggest mistakes I made when first going outdoors to paint was that I  thought I had to bring everything. I quickly learned that a lot of stuff becomes a big burden when you're hiking through a park or city street, and it's also unnecessary. I brought things I just didn't need.

If you plan on just drawing, a simple sketchbook and pencil will do. Mechanical pencils are great as you don't have to worry about sharpening a point or go searching for an eraser. If you want to be more elaborate in your drawing, you can always add a permanent pen, some watercolors and a waterbrush. My kit shown below can fit into any purse or small satchel. I would also suggest taking a small camera--to capture the scenery you can't draw right then and there.

For painting, I favor the same type of watercolor kit with a small amount of watercolor paper. For acrylics I use a French half-easel. They are small, not too heavy, can carry a lot of my supplies, and it comes with an easel already to go. I find the guerrilla boxes are a bit bothersome for me as I also have to take along a tripod. Here's mine (click on the picture to get a larger view):

As you can see I store my acrylics in a
variety of ways, preferring capped bottles the most.

Okay so now we've covered the materials, here are some other items you can take on your outings:

Canvas bag/backpack Camera Jacket, wide-brim hat, sunglasses,  Light clothing, good shoes Sunscreen, bug repellant, Chapstick Bottle of water for drinking Zip lock bags (for storing and cleanup) Wet cloth or sponge in baggie (cleanup) Toilet paper roll First-aid kit, compass A few snacks: fruit, candy bar, granola, etc.

Until next month...