Posts Tagged ‘equipment’

En Plein Air – Follow-up

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

Besides learning techniques for painting outdoors, my recent plein air experiences have alerted me to some of the logistical issues, as well.

Early lessons learned included the need for proper equipment.  In Key West my backpack carried the easel and all my other paraphernalia, but it was slightly too small to allow me to zip the main pocket fully around the easel and shelf.  I used a bungee cord to hold it all together.  And though the tripod fitted into the side pocket and was anchored with straps up the height of the backpack, its length was unwieldy.  The pack also had so many pockets that I actually couldn’t access my camera, which had slipped down to the bottom of an inside pocket.  As a result, I wound up using my phone camera instead, from which it was more difficult to transfer images to my computer, as well as providing poorer quality images that were difficult to see on the small screen in bright sunlight.  Upon our return, I promptly ordered a Plein Air Pro backpack designed specifically to encompass my entire Plein Air Pro easel kit and tripod.

As I had long suspected, experience also confirmed that I needed to find a good painting umbrella both to protect me from the direct Florida sun (which makes temperatures seem noticeably and uncomfortably hotter than actual temperatures in the shade) and to protect my eyes, which tend to lose an accurate sense of color in high glare.  So that was another purchase I made this summer.  The model I chose is the EASyL Plein Air Umbrella, which is comparatively lightweight, forgiving of windy conditions, and fits, as the tripod had on my Key West trip, into an outside pocket of my new backpack, bound up the length with support straps.  Both the easel and the umbrella fit into a large, checkable suitcase but not into carry-on sized luggage.

I also picked up a small folding stool to have along in the car when I use with my pocket watercolor kit but when I don’t want to take a full easel setup.

And of course, techniques and equipment are only part of the equation.  As you have probably already seen in recent posts, time, energy level, and prioritization also play important roles.  We have to actually get ourselves out there to paint!  We can’t get out of our efforts what we don’t put into them.


Art and Crafts

Sunday, November 1st, 2015

It’s a funny thing, but the more serious I become about my art, the more crafts I need to draw upon to supplement it. No, I don’t mean I’m suddenly pouring candles and gluing seashells onto picture frames (which I’ll admit to having done in the distant past). I mean instead that, though I’m not constructing frames from scratch, I sometimes build them from pre-cut pieces; selecting, sizing, and cutting appropriate mat boards; and completing the professional-quality framing process until the artwork is ready to display and sell.

Work desk with always-available tools.

Work desk with always-available tools.

My studio, which started out with such simple supplies as watercolor paints, brushes, and paper, eventually came to house drawing implements of various sorts, oil and acrylic paints and their related mediums, gessos, and varnishes, canvases and painting panels, easels, palettes, drying racks, storage shelves, … and did I mention all the reference books?

Supply closet and easels

Supply closet and easels

I wish I could say that my studio has more recently expanded to incorporate a full-sized mat cutter, frames and framing equipment, as well as a supply of tools (whose handles I’ve carefully marked with pink paint so my husband doesn’t try to claim them for himself). But although I have acquired the equipment, and have managed to squeeze it all into various nooks and crannies, it’s a bit unnerving to realize that the space hasn’t automatically expanded to accommodate it all! It has definitely begun to encroach into my work space. Or is it merely that my need for extended work space has simultaneously increased? In any case, despite my best efforts to keep things organized, my nice little studio sometimes feels a bit tight these days for all the extra demands I’ve been placing on it. Even clearing out unnecessary stock and who-needs-it supplies, my space is still overflowing. Maybe that’s what is meant in saying that a Creative’s nest is messy.  (And no, I haven’t even shown you the messiest parts!)

Drying racks, storage shelves, reference shelves, and more

Drying racks, storage shelves, reference shelves, and more

So as much as I’d like to, I don’t expect to be offering an open studio tour any time soon. You might have a hard time getting in!