Thursday, June 30, 2011

Painting on the Go

Starting in 1969, I started traveling the world. At first I thought that traveling to Europe was something to do and “get the wanderlust out of my system”. However, after 7 weeks in 9 countries in Europe and England, all that trip did was wet my appetite for new cultures and wonderful countries all over England and Europe, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Nepal, New Caladonia, Tahiti, and more. In 1994, I decided to share these trips with artists that wanted to paint in excellent locations. First I ventured with my students to the Bahamas, next trip was Tucson ( it really is exotic and a great place to visit ), soon I ventured over the ocean to teach in England, France and Italy…. Many times. In 1997, my husband, Howard Friedland, started traveling, teaching and painting with me!

So, summer is here and I am once again on a painting adventure. This time I am in France with my dear friend, Sunny Reeves, for 12 days of painting and teaching in the villages of Provence. She has designed and organized a knock out trip for 16 lucky people, artists and non-artists.

Many artists have asked me what supplies I bring to paint and draw when I travel. Here are two photos showing the minimum equipment that I recommend. Personally, I usually expand this a bit, more colors, more panels, larger panels, a tripod, artist’s umbrella, etc., but this is the bare bones for travel. With the little 6 x 8 pochade box, I still can paint 8 x 10 or 10 x 12 paintings.

This is the minimum equipment for sketching and watercolors.

For those that want to also use oils, the following photo has shows the minimum equipment that you would need:

All of this fits into a rolling backpack that doubles as my carry on when I fly. Just don’t plan to have your tubes of paint, palette knife, palette scraper, Murphy’s oil soap, vasaline, or brushes in your carry-on luggage when you fly. Pack those things in your main suitcase that you check in.

Do NOT bring solvent of any kind. Once you arrive at your destination, if you are near an art store, you can purchase your solvent then. If there isn’t an art store near by, you can purchase mineral spirits at any hardware store. One other idea is to switch to walnut oil, olive oil or sesame seed oil. But that is another blog for sometime…

From Tucson to New York, Montana to Florida, Europe to China, I hope this helps all of you artists out there that are wanting to travel with your paints, but are completely baffled as to what to pack. Yes, I know, many times you pack your equipment, and hardly have time to touch it. But, bring them anyway, you never know when the moment appears and you will be ready to swing those brushes!

I have always felt that the best souvenir that you can ever bring home from your travels is a sketch or painting that you have done right there, locking in your memories. Quietly painting in some corner of this glorious world, listening to the sounds of the village, smelling the food cooking, listening to the laughter of the children coming home from school… all of it becomes captured in your heart as you paint.

Now, Go pack a travel painting kit and keep it ready for the next time you venture far from home. While you are at it…. Get a passport, too! If you have it, you just might start using it!