Painting and Traveling


This time of year, many of us are thinking about traveling. Summer vacations are on the horizon.

It'a a little tricky, but I usually travel with my paints. It gives me a refreshing change of pace with new subject matter and keeps me in plein air practice.

Plus, I love to make my own 'postcards of the day'... a great way to remember my travels! The spots I paint become a little more vivid, a little more special in my memories....

My first choice is to travel with my oil paints. It's more complicated than watercolors or pencil and sketchbook, but it can be done. I'll jot down some tips to make traveling and painting a little easier for you....

#1 - Pair down to the basics - lighter is MUCH better when traveling! Don't bring that extra medium you sometimes use....Look closely at your brush selection and don't duplicate any sizes. Be ruthless in eliminating the 'fluff'.

#2 - When getting your supplies together, clean your palette carefully and completely. Less weight AND a nice fresh start when you get there. It decreases the chances of a 'surprise mess' when you reach your destination as well.

#3 - Smaller paint tubes are a good way to go (if your trip isn't too long). For oil paints, I like to travel with the 20 ml size instead of the 40 ml size. Although, I bring a larger tube of white.

#4 - Speaking of white... if I want my oil paintings to dry really quick on my trip, I'll take alkyd white. It's a fast drying white that speeds up drying times considerably and makes transporting paintings MUCH easier... for those trips when I'm on the go and not staying in one spot long.

#5 - Take a very light weight wet panel carrier for your completed paintings. There are many choices here. Generally, the lightest weight ones are fixed sizes, a bit flimsy and can't adjust to accommodate different sized panels. But particularly if you are flying, the light weight aspect wins! Pick the one that is lightest and can accommodate your panel sizes to be carried and fits in your luggage well.

#6 - Picking just a couple canvas sizes is best. Don't take too much of a variety here. Think about your trip and how many paintings you will realistically have time to paint. If I'm quite tight on painting time, I go with smaller canvases. A little more 'free time', I go with larger... 9"x12" is a standard size for me. You want everything to fit neatly in your 'traveling system'. I generally use canvas mounted on gatorboard. Very lightweight and can be cut easily to a different dimension, if needed.

#7 - Do NOT pack mineral spirits. Pack nothing that can spill. Before you go, check out what art stores are in the area you'll be visiting first. Determine which is the closest or most convenient store for you, and plan to buy a small amount of mineral spirits when you get there - and a new brush for added inspiration!... as long as it's light weight of course :)

Happy travels!


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