Saturday, August 8, 2009

Traveling Light??

I have a habit of carrying some sort of art supplies with me at all times. You never know when inspiration will strike, or you see something that absolutely must be captured by a drawing or little painting. So, if these are supplies in my purse of pocket, how do I keep the weight managable?

I learned some great tricks from my friend Roz Stendahl who gave me the two little mini palettes you see below. One is for gouache, the other for watercolor. The quarter in the photo shows how tiny they really are. One of these palettes along with a Niji waterbrush, a section or two of paper towel and some pieces of watercolor paper or a tiny sketchbook and you are equiped. The gouache palette carries enough paint for many outings. In my earlier blogs you can see some of the small paintings done with these supplies.

The tiny palettes have gone a long way to replacing the larger traveling palettes below. I continue to use these larger ones when I go away for a week or two and want to have some backup. I still take the tiny palettes and use the bigger ones for when I am settled in my hotel room or am at the cabin's kitchen table. They have the advantage of having more mixing space. Part of the tiny watercolor palatte is visible on the right so you get a sense of just how small it is.

My bigger black windsor Newton "traveling" palatte just sits in one of my supply drawers. It is just too heavy.

So, what is this seeming fixation on simple, small, light weight painting gear? After all I am a pastel artist and lug around an outdoor easel and a brief case full of pastels and the various paraphanelia that goes along with them. The answer: my shock at discovering how heavy oil paint is!

I'm scheduled to take a workshop next week in Taylors Falls, Minnesota from Marc Hanson. The plan (when I signed up) was to push my pastels to another level. Marc Hanson is a wonderful pastelist. Some years ago I was stopped dead in my tracks by a pastel painting he did of three trees shrouded in fog. But, as the weeks went by I began to wonder if this was the opportunity to return to oils. Bottom line: I decided to order some oils.

So, out came the catalogues. I thought I did my research fairly well about brands and pigments but I forgot to think about what is now obvious: cadmuim paint is heavy! I knew that if I was going to give oils a try I better have plenty of paint and it seemed like a good idea at the time to order the paint in a size that gave me the best value. Voila! The 200 ml tubes were a much better deal so I orderd them. Yipes! When the boxes arrived on my doorstep I could hardly lift them.

Even loading up tubes of watercolor and gouache when I go to the cabin did not prepare me for the weight of the oils. But I had not really factored in the relative size of the tubes either--20 ml watercolor and gouache tubes versus 200ml oil tubes. Gosh, they didn't look that big in the catalogue....

"Not to worry, we will be close to our cars when we go out to paint and you are wise shopper to get the bigger tubes (I paraphrase)," Marc Hanson graciously responded to my e-mail wondering if I should be concerned about schleping the giant tubes.

The whole episode has been good for some hearty laughs and right now carrying around the pastels seems awfully easy.

1 comment:

journalrat said...

Diane, I love that the tiny palette is peeking into the photo of the "regular" travel palettes. It really brings the scale home!

And I will always remember with a smile, the surprise in your voice when you called me after the oil paints arrived and you carried them into your house!

I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with the oil paints!