View Full Version : Storage, Pastel - Travel/Plein Air

03-28-2001, 02:16 PM
Hi, My name is Barbara and I have way too many pastels (ala AA)-(if that is actually possible, if its not possible, then I would just say I have a lot of pastels). . . (I know I am with a completely sympathetic and accepting audience here). Anyway I frequently need to take my pastels out of my "studio" (corner of the basement) to paint outside, go to class or to go on a trip and am in a continuing quandary about how to manage my pallet organization at home.

Basically I see two options: 1: Create a travel set which I keep separate from the studio set or 2: Pull a selection of pastels out of the studio each time I want to take pastels with me. Please understand that the "studio set" is really a set of boxes and trays sometimes sorted by color, sometimes by brand -depending on the latest theory of organization I am operating under.
To add some more information: I live in Juneau Alaska. When I go out to paint here I usually have a car to get reasonably close to where I end up, but may have to hike a little (So I'm carrying easel, chair, paper, water, umbrella, bear gun (nah - not really). Whenever I leave Juneau I have to travel by jet - so will have airline restrictions on size and the concern of baggage handling.
Thus I need to have a travelling set of pastels which is compact enough to carry, small enough to set up outdoors, etc. I have a Clover wood box I ordered from MisterArt.com. It is 12" x 16" X 1". I can fit probably 150 demi pastels in it. That should be enough for anyone, you would think! But even though I have it filled with a nice assortment of half pastels by Rembrant, Schminke, Sennalier, and Great American - I am torn by leaving my Unison 72 starter set, and my Great American "Grey Box" at home. Yet I don't want to break those up for integration into the travel box and then have to remember where to put individual sticks back for home painting! So do I have two separate sets for home and travel? Or some hybrid? Ack!!!

P.S. This leads me to a separate peeve: Why don't the demi sticks come with some kind of wrapper so you know what color they are??? The numbers and printed color samples on the Sennelier boxes are horrible - its quite the guess as to what color number belongs to which demi stick! Do all the major brands come with a paper wrapper or a number stamped in it when you buy the whole stick?

Thank you for your sympathy and advice - BC

03-28-2001, 03:01 PM
Hi Barbara,

Welcome to WetCanvas and the Pastel forum...yes, you are in good company here!

Since pastels are different media in that you have to take all your colors along rather than a few selected tubes of paint, it can be more difficult to arrange for plein air painting.

If you paint outside a great deal I think creating a travel set is the best solution rather than taking all your boxes and sets along. There are as many ways to do it as there are artists. Here is a recent page we started of <A HREF="http://www.ldianejohnson.com/WC/PastelBoxes/">member setups</a>. (Page two features one simple travel box setup. I have not yet had a chance to post the other two ways I personally travel using pastels but hope to soon.) Along with a couple of other pages in the Pastel forum on setups/organization for travel and studio at: http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/Forum11/HTML/000149.html http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/Forum11/HTML/000214.html http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/Forum11/HTML/000197.html

The main issues are usually weight, bulk and breakage. Pastels can get heavy. I tried one setup where the pastels kept falling onto the ground and then I'd accidentally step on and crush them. It is necessary to take many sticks but you can create:

- A "mini" set from your larger set,

- Take the color ranges most needed for the subject you will be painting in the season you'll be painting it (for instance, painting in Key West, FL, you'll find aquas, peaches, creams, etc.) along with just a few representative sticks of all the other colors in your palette,

- Take a combination of used pastels in a small organizer box and new sticks for laying-in large areas,

- Doug Dawson has an interesting setup using a single, medium-sized Tupperware-style container with all stick pieces mixed together in a large wire mesh strainer with rice and a simple rag to place them on. If you like a more organized palette this would be more difficult but is one the easiest, lightest setups I have seen, or

- If you are traveling via car rather than on an airplane to paint, you can keep a backup of your most used colors or larger stock, carry your smaller set into the field and re-stock at the car as needed.

I am sure you'll also get lots of feedback here for your questions. Pastel packing is always a great topic for discussion! Again, welcome and thanks for posting.


L. Diane Johnson (http://www.LDianeJohnson.com/) NAPA, PSA
Plein Air Workshops (http://www.LDianeJohnson.com/workshops/)

03-28-2001, 05:26 PM
I just purchased a very good travel box from Dakota Art Pastels. It is called the "Dakota Travel Box." (I recommend the smaller size).
It holds a ton of pastels of any size, so I am able to use it for the studio as well as outdoors.

They also sell hand made color charts which make it much easier to figure out what colors to re-order - expecially when you don't have the labels anymore. The printed charts are useless.

Barry Katz

[This message has been edited by bk7251 (edited March 28, 2001).]

03-29-2001, 05:59 AM
Hi Barbara,

Being another pastellist with the P.A.S. affliction, (Pastel Acquistion Syndrome) I understand completely. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif
Since my pics of my setup are in Diane's
members setup link, I won't go into detail.
I will add that Albert Handell cuts his sticks in two, keeping one with the pastel number on it intact for re-ordering, and the other half in his working set. Perhaps that would work for you. Ken