View Full Version : Heading to da UP, eh? Plein Aire tips?

Lisa Olivarez
06-22-2004, 12:21 AM
I get to go Up North for a plein aire painting weekend this weekend!!!!! :clap: It's the Events Forum, and is just a casual gathering including Larry Seiler and about 6 other artists. I debated forever over whether to try to go to the deal in Santa Fe, or do a workshop, but I just can't justify the cost. Maybe if I start selling more...

A friend and her family will be staying here to watch over the goats and dog. Works out well for her since she's usually in an apartment. Helps me immensely because she doesn't care how long we are gone. So, when the weekend is over, we are heading out exploring. (Husband is off for the summer and I am a stay at home mom) We may head for Quebec, Nova Scotia, Maine. I'll post pictures, but my digital camera has died, sob. I'll have to use the 35mm, which is great, but not nearly as convenient. We have to find a mountain over 3,000 feet, says my husband. He wants to hike one with his boys this summer. Well, I wanna hike one with my baby girl!

Anyway, I plan to take my soft pastels and oils. Any ideas? We leave Thursday morning.


06-22-2004, 12:36 AM
Pack a palette heavy in the primary colours, and lighter in the secondary and tertiary hues- you'll find you get better greens, especially, if you're forced to see them as "not green". Wallis is indestructable, but cut it into manageable sizes beforehand. Art Spectrum is good for plein aire, too. Try a tabletop easel you can use on your lap if you don't have a field easel. Take plenty of hand wipes, too.

Above all, have fun- just scribble away knowing each one is a step further along the path.

Kitty Wallis
06-22-2004, 03:46 AM
Hi Lisa,
Yes, Have fun is the first thing.

I take along a travel easel that collapses into 1/3 the length, it's steel, light weight and fits in my suitcase, and a foamcore board. A smallish box 1/2 sitcks, of mostly primaries and secondaries, in all values with a few browns, mauves and olive greens.

I take white paper and my Createx underpainting stuff, water containers, 2 large brushes, a palette. Although some like to skip this on location, I think making an underpainting saves time and effort; and I like the paintings I make better.

Tape, charcoal for drawing, a toothbrush for scrubbing the pastel off, sugical gloves since I like to go out for lunch or dinner on plein air days, apron, bungy cord and gallon jug of water for drinking, painting and weighing down the easel.

travel stool optional., some use a milk carton to carry the stuff and sit on while painting.

I have a milk carton on wheels with a long handle. It holds all my stuff. The wheels suck, they're too small and have little fenders on them that trap stuff and jam. I'll probably find a better carry-all eventually. Or change the wheels.

06-22-2004, 10:45 AM
Sounds like great fun! I wouldn't be going to the Expo either if we didn't live somewhat close & can combine our vacation with it. That's why I haven't gone to the Pastel Convention yet - it's the wrong time of year to vacation in the mountains.
We'll be looking forward to hearing about your trip & seeing the photos. :)

Lisa Olivarez
06-22-2004, 01:20 PM
Thanks, Julie, Kitty and Tammy. Great suggestions. Angel and I (my husband) spent the morning converting an old telescope tripod into a field easel, and my pastel box fits right inside on the supports between the legs. I have an old baby carrier that I'm transforming into a custom art backpack. Being a packrat is really paying off this time!I've made a list of your suggestions, and am so excited that I feel like Paula jumping outta my skin!

This is going to be so fun. Can't wait to roam the Lake Superior beach with my kids. I only wish my digital camera hadn't chosen this moment to break. Oh well, it's better to live on the live side of the lens anyway! I always hate it when the camera takes over and dictates the action!

Well, the troops have returned from VBS, along with 3 extras, and I gotta go grill some major cheese... :)

PS I'll keep checking to see if anyone has further suggestions :clap:

Deborah Secor
06-22-2004, 09:56 PM
Sounds like a great time, Lisa, have a ball! I envy you painting with Larry--I know you'll relate to him! I love his work.

I'm no plein air expert, and what Kitty suggested sounds good, but I just received my current issue of the Pastel Journal and Maggie Price has an article in there on what to take with you wne painting on location. You might check it out for some further ideas. It looked very detailed and precise to me and I'm the kind who loves to see it in writing. I love lists! (Actually, I NEED lists, but that's another story.)

I hope we get to see some of your plein air work from the weekend and the rest of your trip, too! Enjoy!!!


06-22-2004, 10:43 PM
Nova Scotia, Lisa? The area between Halifax and Lunenburg is gorgeous, perfect for plein air painting. Any chance you'll drop over to Prince Edward Island? If so pm me because I'll most likely be there at the cottage, smearing away with my pastels whenever I get the chance.

06-22-2004, 10:59 PM
Just think basics and you will be fine. The backpack idea is good. If you do take oils, be sure to have a way to keep them from getting paint on everything. I use pizza boxes :)

I find that my pastels are much simpler on location because I can stack the paintings together with glassine between them and they don't take up a lot of space. Prepare your paper with supports ahead of time (foamcore works great) and you can quickly grab one to work with.

Don't forget the insect repellant!!!