Sunday, 29 May 2011

My Art Materials - or why it's a good idea to take a car!

This is my checklist of art materials and equipment for drawing, sketching and painting in Provence.  It contains some top tips from people more experienced than me at painting plein air in oils.

I thought I might as well put it on the blog and then I can't lose it!  I'm bound to have forgotten stuff I need to take so this will keep being updated as I remember it!  Hopefully it will be complete before I set off on 9th June.

Now I know it looks like a lot but I am going to be in Provence for three weeks and this is a painting holiday not a sightseeing one.  Plus I've got six days of travelling there and back when I'll be fitting in sketches to break up the journey.

Plus I'm driving - and that's what I buy a decent sized car for - so I can take art materials on holiday!

  • Moleskine sketchbooks (A3, A4 x 2, ordinary size)
  • Moleskine watercolour sketchbook
  • Panorama sketchbook?
Dry Media

Unison Pastel Sets at Walden Pond
  • My complete sets of Unison Pastels - seen above during a plein air outing to Walden Pond in Massachusetts
  • My Pastel Art Bin (more portable!)  So sad to see that they don't seem to be making these any more - I really like them.  However they won't take Unisons which is why I've always kept mine in their boxes.
  • Lots and lots of coloured pencils + pencil wraps + pencil cases

Water based media
  • Schminke paintbox - if I can find it
  • Gouache - but whose? / do my old tubes still work?
  • Black brush roll and Brushes for watercolour / gouache
Oil paints
  • W&N Griffin Alkyds (need to buy / including 200ml white / need to decide how these are best carried)
  • W&N Liquin
  • W&N Art Guard
  • W&N Art Gel
  • Brushes for Alkyds - to buy 
  • Palette knives for Alkyds - to buy
  • Cheap nutcrackers for if lids are hard to open (tip from Vivien Blackburn)
  • Zest It
  • Disposable Palette Pad
  • Really Useful Boxes for paint tubes and other art media
  • Baby oil to clean brushes and clothes!  (another tip from Vivien Blackburn)
I'm also looking at oil bars as maybe a half way house for me -see Winsor & Newton's page Artists' Oilbar - Oil Colour at your Fingertips

Paper and supports
  • Pack of Arches sheets cut down to usable sizes
  • Arches HP Block
  • Ampersand Colorfix (Fix colourfix to mountboard?)
  • Mountboard cut down to usable sizes (plus gesso? / plus watercolour ground?) 
  • Oil Painting Pad (A3?)
  • Baking Paper to cover wet paint (that tip was from Sarah) 
  • Cling film to cover palette (that tip was from somebody else - I forget who) 
Links:  Paper and Non-Canvas Supports - Resources for Artists
    Art Equipment
    Me on my Phillips Chair - nearly 20 years ago
    Sketching Pura Ulun Danu Bratan by Lake Bedugal in Bali
    Check this gallery for the pastel painting completed at home
    Various chairs and stools

    I'm going to take different ones have different weight for different circumstances - plus we're a party!)
    Drawing boards and clips
    • Different size sheets of 5mm foam core for drawing board 
    • LOTS OF BULLDOG CLIPS (can you tell what I often forget?)
    Easels and pochade boxes
    Vivien - who understands my problems with carrying too much weight / the need to maintain balance at all time (or else I fall over due to very dodgy feet!) - suggests I forget the pochade box and easel and use something lightweight as an alternative - she's now written up her advice in the email below as a proper post re what she takes on painting holidays
    Consider as an alternative,  a simple plastic food box - the kind with clip sides is good.  That's what I took to Cornwall.  Though I took my easel I never actually used it!   I hand hold my work - you can use the lightweight board you use and clip your sketchpad and palette to it with bulldog clips.  The liquin and palette knives fit into the box as well.   Brushes in an old padded envelope rolled up.   Then baby oil and rags and tissues plus your oil paper sketchbook and it all fits into a lightweight rucksack.
    Vivien Blackburn (Painting Prints & Stuff)
    Painting media equipment
    • baby oil and wet wipes - for cleaning up
    • Masking tape
    • roll of kitchen towel 
    Pastels and Pencils media equipment

    Camera etc
    • Camera + charger
    • two new SD cards
    • spare batteries + charger
    • Camcorder + charger + new SD card
    • iPad + mains lead + USB cable + up to date software
    • card reader
    Venice shopping trolley
    doubles as Artcart
    Other essential equipment

    • Sun Tan cream / sun block
    • long sleeved shirt for if I'm in full sun
    • insect repellent plus cream for if I get bitten (guaranteed!)
    • Visor to keep sun out of my eyes.  I don't wear sunglasses while using colour.
    • Hat with decent brim
    • Baby Oil and wet wipes - clean up equipment
    • Shopping trolley from Venice - this from a holiday where I gave in and realised that the shopping trolleys were an excellent way of getting stuff around really easily 

      Even if it's just for ourselves!

      • BluTak for displaying work without damaging walls 
      Books about Oil Painting

      But that's another post.......


      Robyn Sinclair said...

      Now I'm in a panic - I have to make a packing list! That lightweight foam core board for fixing paper to sounds terrific Katherine. You may be able to sell me a piece? Now I want a shopping trolley as well.

      I've just made a note to self - Pack a few favourite watercolour painting DVDs. You don't have those on your list! ;)

      Making A Mark said...

      That's a good idea!

      How about if I bought a number of foam core boards?

      sarah said...

      Oh yes please, bring one for me please.
      I have visions of us all tottering around Provence with mad hats, shopping trollies and odd kitchen items converted to painting equipment...I feel a cartoon coming on, I will just finish todays illustration quota and then we shall see!

      Robyn Sinclair said...

      Yes please, I'd love a foam core board of my own.

      Yes please, Sarah, a cartoon we must have.

      Making A Mark said...

      You know the really great thing about having got past 50 is that I'm allowed to be excentric.

      Remember to bring your purple clothes too! ;)

      Making A Mark said...

      Cathy Gatland did a lovely cartoon for us for A Postcard from My Walk - see top of right hand column

      Carolyn A Pappas said...

      Could you explain what Zest It is and what it's used for?

      Making A Mark said...

      Of course. It's a citrus based solvent. You can find out more about it here

      It can be used with a variety of media. I got to know it through using coloured pencils.

      You've just reminded me that I've started testing the jar based version. Got to go and get it and include that on the list!

      vivien said...

      You are as bad as me! One suitcase each for himself and me and then the rest of the space is art materials - everything but the kitchen sink :>)

      You would regret anything you left behind though - it's guaranteed!

      I so wish I could have taken up the invitation as it's such a lovely group of people going.

      Dermott said...

      Just as I thought.

      Natter, natter, natter.

      I'll be happy at home with Himself and the tomatoes.

      Louise said...

      Here goes.....go to judson's online for wet panel and canvas carriers that are lightweight, inexpensive and easy to lug about. For in field notans:3 tombow felt pens of varying shades of grey. Keeps your decided value picture plan on track.
      Paints: one warm and cool of each primary. Here's what I take: titanium white,
      cad lemon yellow, cad yellow med, cad red light, quinacridone red (love this one! - great mixes),ultramarine blue, and thalo blue. I do not buy cerulean as it is too costly. I simply add gobs of white to thalo blue and a minute touch of viridian if I want cerulean. Close enough and I can still afford lunch after the painting session. Paint is heavy so if I can lug around what I have and I feel the need to add more I take long small tubes of viridian, aliz crimson and raw sienna, burnt seinna if the hills are reddish where I will be. Anything else you can mix. I usually take baby wipes, wrap wet brushes in them and then pop them into a large, plastic baggy until I can clean them well when I return for the day. Don't be desolate if you need to 'finish' the pieces back when you are more comfortably housed. It's very hard to come to a complete finish in the field as the light is not a constant. And here the notans and any notes you have taken, prove their worth again. Happy painting. Would that I could join you!

      Tracy Hall said...

      Katherine, I hope you all have a wonderful time, sounds so much fun! Look forward to reading all about your adventures :)

      Anita said...

      Living vicariously through this blog.

      Making A Mark said...

      That's what we have planned Anita - not enough room to cram you in for real! :) So we're going to share what we can.

      Africantapestry and Myfrenchkitchen said... I loved seeing you 20 years ago...haven't changed one bit!!
      Sarah...I'm one of those using everything for antyhing(converted kitchen paints tools).
      This past week, someone approached my gallery and were surprised to see that it is about paintings and it isn't an antiquaire(antique dealer)!!