Gear for painting en plein air (or outside - on location)
No matter where we live, the change of seasons seems to inspire
and stir up our yearning to get outside ant PAINT...'en plein aire'.
I've found painting outside is more fun and enjoyable with a
portable studio that is light weight and easy to carry.
Many art material manufacturers have designed watercolor
products to help us with the out-of-the-studio experience. I have
also learned that many of the things I need I already have and
use in my studio.
In addition to my painting supplies, I like to take a light weight
aluminum patio chair with a back support for a long day or
camping stool for shorter sittings. Sunscreen, insect repellent,
drinking water, and my digital camera all fit into my hikers
fanny-pack. And of course, my straw hat!

For outdoor painting, you need the basics: palette with paint,
paper, water and brushes. And of course something to hold the  
water and the paper.
PAINT Limiting your palette will be helpful when working
en plein aire".
I recommend that you limit your outdoor kit to a basic split primary
palette. Shown below.
If you use can limit your paints to these, plus one or two "must have"
colors you will have enough to paint almost anything in nature.
Your paint can be from tubes freshly squeezed on location or pre-dried
paint in a palette either folding or with a lid, a set of pan watercolors, or
even watercolor pencils or crayons.( I have a couple of homemade
paint kits made from a daily pill box and a fishing lure box.
The type of paint you use is a personal choice. I suggest that you paint
with what you normally use. Painting outdoors will be challenging
enough without changing your equipment of your painting style. Once
you have conquered the outdoors
then you may want to experiment with new "stuff".
PAPER Watercolor blocks, spiral watercolor pads, wc
sketch books, and loose sheets of watercolor paper will all
work. Again, use what you are used to and what works best
for your painting style. My personal preference is loose
Arches 140# CP quartered and clipped to a light weight
drawing board made of foamcore or corrugated plastic. I
have a light weight lapdesk with a clip on it that is my current
BRUSHES Take only a few of your favorites. Flats and
rounds. A larger brush is good for sky washes and a smaller
brush with a good point is needed for detailing.
Hint: Use an extra brush to wet or blend with will help to keep
your water clean a little longer.
The brushes on the left hold water in the barrel and are great
for travel kits!
WATER- The amount of water you will need to paint on location will
depend on your painting style and how you use it. If you rinse your
brushes often, you will obviously need more than if you don't. Blotting your
paint loaded brushes on a paper towel or a sponge will collect some of the
paint and keep your water fresh longer. Don't forget to take a plastic
container to put your water in if you bring bottled water. Don't forget your
drinking water.
(c) 2001-2012 Susie Short Studio, LLC.     All rights reserved.
HAPPY PAINTING .... en Plein Air!
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