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Marc Hanson
12-03-2005, 10:40 AM
I spent Thursday afternoon wanting to be outside but just not feeling up to layering on all the clothes required to go out for a couple of hours. But we have fresh snow, and sun, and not painting this is a tragedy with all of the spectacular color out there waiting. Knowing the car is the solution I looked at my larger painting supplies and thought that it would be nice to have a small, easy to use set up.

I already have (built or purchased) more than enough painting equipment, mostly built. But for car painting, or for painting on a street corner as unnoticed as possible I felt I needed a small 'lightweight' palm box. I have a 6x9 that I built a number of years ago, but it's too heavy to hold in hand, makes the old wrist ache. That one could hold some paint tubes, and brushes in the box with the handles cut down.

So I started looking at the Open Box M palm boxes, the 6x8 size. I figure that if I'm going to be sneaking around with this thing, trying to paint without being noticed, or painting in the limited space of the front seat of the car then the largest size to work that makes sense is about 6x8. OBM makes a beautiful little box, but WAY out of my budget right now...and if I was going to bust the budget, I'd get the new "American Easel" (I submitted the "Wide Open" as a name, but lost:crying:)), from them.

That only left scrounging around the wood pile and thinking about making my own. That's what I did. I have no idea how they make the spring loaded device, but I came up with my own solution and it works very well. It's basically a brass rod, a spring and a retaining nut to hold the spring on. Only holds 6x8 or 8x6 but that's all I need. It measures 8.25"Lx 7"W x 1.50"D. The depth of the actual palette well is 3/4" with a piece of plexi in there and has a 7"x6" mixing area. Weighs less than the full can of D. Mountain Dew I've included for scale. The ply is 1/8" Baltic birch from the hobby store, and poplar stock from the local lumber store. I finished it with Deft 'natural' Danish oil and added a 1-1/2" shoulder strap with a 3 point attachment system and 1-1/2" 'overall buckles' that attach to screwed on 10/32 Knurled nuts. The strap works very well for relieving some burden when standing and holding the palm box. It makes it very light weight and easy on the wrist and forearm. Doesn't support the weight but adds a little counter balanced force that helps. Here it all is, about 6 hours build time, including running around to find what would work for hardware and for the finish dry time.

All the required supplies fit into the small shoulder bag from Target. The paint tube and pop can are there for scale. Following the equipment photos is the first 6x8 from the car yesterday afternoon using the box.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Dec-2005/37743-portable-kit-1.jpg

Those are 6x8 canvas panels. In the plastic box with the paint is my metal turp container from Holbein. I've had that for years and it is a treasure. Never leaks. Yes there are more colors of paint than I'm using...just in case!
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Dec-2005/37743-portable-kit-2.jpg

The 'Turpenoid' can is from the one time I spent that kind of money on the stuff. It's a small enough can to fit in a small space so I just refill it with hardware store variety odorless mineral spirits. It fit into my bag just right.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Dec-2005/37743-portable-kit-3.jpg

This is the backside of the lid. I had to use larger screws than came with the hinges because the supplied screws are too light weight and pull out easily. The heads on the screws used are too large and don't look good cosmetically but do the job. Part of the problem is that the wood stock is so thin that it requires pretty lightweight hardware, but it has to hold. I suppose anyone in a larger metro area could find the right stuff, but in the hardware stores here the supply is all the same, from China and cheap.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Dec-2005/37743-portable-kit-4.jpg

The underside.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Dec-2005/37743-portable-kit-5.jpg

Painted across the road from a cornfield that is a favorite feeding area for several thousand Giant Canada Geese each evening. Lights in the building came on as I was painting! Nice of them.
"Geese Coming, Geese Going."- oil/canvas, 6"x8", 1hour, limited palette + yellow ochre light.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Dec-2005/37743-Geese-Coming,-Geese-Going-o.jpg

Pars
12-03-2005, 10:46 AM
I am so, so jealous of your multiple talents! I really want a light weight pochade box but none really suits. I wish I could make one. This one looks terrific and the painting ain't hay. :evil:

eutherpendragon
12-03-2005, 11:12 AM
Marc,

Nice work...I like the cool, violet tones and the composition that works so well in a small format.

Your palm box is nice too. :)

- Ann

rr113
12-03-2005, 11:52 AM
Nice painting and nice box.

I've been thinking about painting in the car myself. I was wondering if anyone has tried to design something that hangs or attaches in some way from the steering wheel on which one could put a regular size panel. A palette panel could flop down from it into your lap. The steering wheel in my car (a Honda) can readjust in ways to accommodate such a device.

I've never tried this and I've never heard of it. I wonder if that's because it's a bad idea.

Anyone tried it or have any ideas?

Richard

Lorijo
12-03-2005, 11:56 AM
The box and painting look great Marc! The geese are very cool, I only get to see them if I take a vacation. They don't come this far south.

I use a box made from a wood cigar box, Loretta Louviere made it for me, its 7 1/2 x 5, 3 inches deep. I love it and use it all the time, great for in the car. Lori

Marc Hanson
12-03-2005, 12:01 PM
Zoe if you saw the 'scrap' pile you'd understand how much trial and error go into my projects. Not much talent there. Thanks though.

Ann- Thank you.

Richard- I've thought of that too and have known another painter or two who've tried that, but was along time ago.
Part of the problem painting in the car is cast shadow and of course sun light. Position of your panel/palette is dependent on where the sun is shining and casting shadows.
If you only have the steering wheel's position for the painting surface to be on you might end up in a situation where you have a shadow across the panel making it tough to work. Using a more moveable easel let's you shift around to avoid the problem.
I carry those shades for the kiddies with suction cups to block out light and they help, but you never know how the car's going to be parked with respect to the subject and the light.

JamieWG
12-03-2005, 12:12 PM
Marc, what a beautiful box! I'm so glad you made one, because now we'll all be treated to the fruits of your labor. If this painting is the beginning, it bodes well for my visual enjoyment this winter!

I have an 8x10 pochade box that I use for car painting. To paint smaller, like 6x8", I just masking tape the back of the panel to the inside of the box lid where an 8x10 would go. I've found it useful not only for car painting, but also for doing a small painting sitting down at the end of a long plein air day of standing, painting out the windows at home, and also when doing a small painting from a photo I put the pic up on the computer screen and set the box down next to it. So, I've been using mine both indoors and outdoors. I love it to pieces.

I have a feeling that this is another one of your threads that is destined for the Hall of Fame. ;)

Jamie

Marc Hanson
12-03-2005, 12:23 PM
Marc, what a beautiful box! I'm so glad you made one, because now we'll all be treated to the fruits of your labor. If this painting is the beginning, it bodes well for my visual enjoyment this winter!

I have an 8x10 pochade box that I use for car painting. To paint smaller, like 6x8", I just masking tape the back of the panel to the inside of the box lid where an 8x10 would go. I've found it useful not only for car painting, but also for doing a small painting sitting down at the end of a long plein air day of standing, painting out the windows at home, and also when doing a small painting from a photo I put the pic up on the computer screen and set the box down next to it. So, I've been using mine both indoors and outdoors. I love it to pieces.

I have a feeling that this is another one of your threads that is destined for the Hall of Fame. ;)

Jamie
Thanks Jamie. This is probably overkill for me because I also have several smaller pochade boxes I could have used.
But they're all heavier and not easy to hold in hand for long.

My hope is that this one, which is feather weight, will allow me to stand in some spot I wouldn't normally go with the tripod and other gear and paint standing or sitting just holding the box for an hour or so.

I figure if I can hold a pop (or other canned beverage) for an hour at a party, I can hold this and work comfortably as it weighs less than the full can of pop, or other beverage!:wink2:

I could see this as my travel paint kit if flying somewhere with the addition of a wet panel carrier, which is next on the list, for the 6x8 size. Or just walking around some downtown area, seeing something to paint, stop take it out of the bag still on the shoulder, and paint! Now that's geurilla painting, not as obvious, not attracting much attention.

It opens up some subject matter that until now I've been reluctant to paint because of what it takes to set up the larger equipment. We'll see.

Marc Hanson
12-03-2005, 01:16 PM
Thought I would show this as used standing, minus the shoulder strap, just to show it's minimal impact. Meaning it isn't any more than a mixing and panel holding piece of equipment.

This is probably a more accurate color photo of the painting by the way! :-)
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Dec-2005/37743-portable-kit-6.jpg

midcoast
12-03-2005, 01:26 PM
Wow Marc -

Beautiful pochade box and beautiful painting! Watch out Open Box M!!!

Nancy

Sandra-D
12-03-2005, 01:39 PM
Marc, You are so generous ( and cleaver) with your knowledge and expertese, thank you for sharing.

I always look forward to your posts. Great inspiration.

blondheim12
12-03-2005, 01:58 PM
Marc,
It looks fabulous. A friend of mine has the OBM palm box and it is dandy, but too rich for my blood. I have my eye on the new Guerilla palm box, which would be perfect for me to sit in the car with. I have no building skills alas.

The painting is fabulous as usual.
Love,
Linda

Marc Hanson
12-03-2005, 02:09 PM
Thanks Nancy. I sure don't want to imply that my inspiration isn't a result of 'wanting' the OPBM product, and mine is a poor imitation of it. Those are beautiful, this is budget minded and practical, but no competition!:D

Sandra- As the saying goes..."Necessity is....".

Linda, thanks. I understand the building problem. And I agree that the little boxes are proportionately very expensive, too much for me too. I spent $25.00 on the wood and hardware, and considering what artists per hour wages are...this was cheap. When I see that, I just have a hard time not trying these things out.

mnpainter
12-03-2005, 03:37 PM
Marc, Genious!!!! I like it much. Do you hold it while painting? Like the photo. I have looked over the palm boxes and thought it may be tough to hold and paint at the same time? I love that painting, back at wildlife?:>)

Ben

WTPDOSA
12-03-2005, 05:57 PM
Marc,

Terrific painting!!!
Thanks for sharing your box ideas!
I was going through my closet and found some stuff I had intended to use and make a box over a year ago. Instead I bought an EasyL Versa. I have the same hinges and other fasteners. Now I have a idea that I can use them for!!!

blondheim12
12-03-2005, 07:17 PM
Regarding painting in the car. I have found that sitting in the back seat or passenger seat is much less cramped for me.
Love,
Linda

JanB
12-03-2005, 07:34 PM
I WANTone of those!!! I just showed Bill the pictures and he says he can build me one no problem!! :clap: HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY :clap:

Marc...just how big are those GIANT Canada Geese :eek:
Love the painting BTW !!

Marc Hanson
12-03-2005, 07:52 PM
Thanks Ben. This one's light enough to hold easily. Yeah...bird painter again!

Tom- Thanks, get out the screw driver. It's not too hard to make.

I agree Linda. I use the passenger front seat too.

Jan- These geese (though the flocks are mixed) are the largest subspecies once thought to be extinct until a biologist who's last name was 'Hanson' re-discovered them right here in Rochester in 1962. They had survived on Silver Lake in the middle of town. It stays ice free due to a power plant that warms the water all winter long. So this population didn't migrate, thus they didn't get hunted to the south. Now they're all over the country but the 'giants' that exist now originated from this flock and probably a few other isolated flocks elsewhere. About 2 ft long, 50-68" wingspan, and about 8 to 10lbs... Giant Canada Goode (b. Canadensis).
Thanks.

annabella2
12-03-2005, 11:22 PM
what a cute little painting box! And I want one of those turp containers, never seen one like that before.
Beautiful tiny painting of the Canada geese. I'm so glad some of them still live up north. They are getting to be a problem around here- they come down south and stay- never migrate anymore. Like domestic geese, they are kinda mean and resent it if you are in their territory. But there is something romantic about seeing them fly overhead in that V shape in the morning and evening.

JanB
12-03-2005, 11:47 PM
Wow that is so cool about the geese, and kind of ironic that a power plant is responsible for their preservation!! That's a big wingspan....we have a about 4 resident geese at our neighborhood pond, they have goslings every year, and boy are they cute!!! In the fall we get others that pass through and plenty of others at all the best watering holes, lots of them come through banded with yellow collars. I love they way they sound when they fly over head and honk!!

Rene'
12-04-2005, 05:42 AM
Great work Marc!!

I was thinking, is it what to take a walking-stick with you?
a walking-stick that could be attached to you palm box.
Maybe retractable (?) and also strong enough to push it somewhat
into the ground so that the palm box could stand by it's self?

Marvelous painting by the way.

I think i gonna take a look if i got some wood left. :p

Marc Hanson
12-04-2005, 09:48 AM
Great work Marc!!

I was thinking, is it what to take a walking-stick with you?
a walking-stick that could be attached to you palm box.
Maybe retractable (?) and also strong enough to push it somewhat
into the ground so that the palm box could stand by it's self?

Marvelous painting by the way.

I think i gonna take a look if i got some wood left. :p
Like this? I made this box a number of years back, a 6"x9", with a T-nut imbedded in the bottom. Then I attach this collapsable mono-pod to it. The box itself is too heavy to hold for long without the support, and is why I built this most recent version. One of the cool things about this one is the 'pull out' palette and a little storage underneath for paints. Can you see why I say I have way too much painting equipment already? :D
Thanks woodstock.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Dec-2005/37743-monopod1.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Dec-2005/37743-monopod-2.jpg

Marc Hanson
12-04-2005, 09:58 AM
Thanks Anne.

The geese are down in numbers now because there were just too many staying around. The powerplant isn't at full production and is allowing some of the lake to freeze. In the 80's we had numbers all winter as high as 50,000+ birds but there isn't anywhere near that number now. I think they live where you are! :clap: They are a nuisance, poop everywhere you walk in the city's largest park, but a beautiful sight otherwise. In the summer there are broods all over the lake and we see them all grow through the 'ugly gosling' stage until they are flying.

One local citizen has become pretty well known for his "Goose Poop Art":eek: , which I think I've mentioned before. He 'harvests' goose poop, dries it out and glues it down on card stock in various 'artistic' images. He's been featured on TV, in newspapers, magazines, and is in gift shops all over!!! Go figure...:rolleyes:

Wouldn't you think painters who use normal paint would also get that coverage? NO.:evil:

Scorpio
12-04-2005, 01:27 PM
Marc,

Great Box. I also love the turps container. As soon as I saw it in your setup I surfed the net trying to find a vendor--but no luck. If you can point me to a source I would love it!

The "Goose Art Guy" reminds me of the Japanese city of Nara, where the deer are sacred, and so is their "by product." They sell a deer poop good luck charm, among other things.

Emilie

PS--I am also a great admirer of your artwork.

seanmcmills
12-04-2005, 02:28 PM
I wish I had such talent with wood (or any for that matter). Happy painting Marc!

Lemonhead
12-04-2005, 02:41 PM
Awesome Palm Box Marc!!! Thanks for sharing, I have a couple of questions though. First, could you maybe draw a quick sketch to show your spring clamp panel holder. Secondly, What sizes of paint brushes do you use when working small. I always have a problem with wanting to get a few hints of details like the geese or the yellow spots of color in your painting, but it doesn't turn out the way I planned it to be and ends looking blotchy smudges. It may be because I need to practice more but any hints you could give would be greatly apreciated. Love the painting also!!

I love small 6x8(or 8x10) pochades, a big fan of Scott Christensen's oil studies!! By the way he has a new plein air dvd coming out soon, have already ordered mine.

Thanks,
Jeff H.

Marc Hanson
12-04-2005, 07:43 PM
Marc,

Great Box. I also love the turps container. As soon as I saw it in your setup I surfed the net trying to find a vendor--but no luck. If you can point me to a source I would love it!

The "Goose Art Guy" reminds me of the Japanese city of Nara, where the deer are sacred, and so is their "by product." They sell a deer poop good luck charm, among other things.

Emilie

PS--I am also a great admirer of your artwork.
Thanks Emilie. Here's a link for you. If it comes up on the opeing page look under 'brush washers' in the accessories menu for the specific page.
http://www.holbeinhk.com/

Jholdren
12-04-2005, 09:41 PM
Beautiful box Marc!
I have a pochade box made from a cigar box that I bought from wetcanvaser Lorelou(Lorretta Louviere) about a year ago. I love it for traveling! That little box has been all over the east coast and to the Bahamas. Yours here looks great too. I wish I could make things with wood, but alas that is not one of my talents.:crying:


Justin

Marc Hanson
12-05-2005, 09:59 AM
EDIT- For some reason I cannot get any image to upload, either in line or as an attachment. So I'll try again later.

Several people have asked about my spring mechanism for the panel holder on this box. I'm posting a rough sketch of one half (two needed) of the holder inside the lid.

You have to search the springs at the hardware store for the right one, right tension, right diameter, right number of coils. That all depends on how far you need the spring to travel in order to hold the panel.
I first used two springs but that didn't work in terms of putting the panel in. It's better to have one fixed arm, and the other spring loaded. If you want to hold both a 6x8 and a 8x6 panel then you will need to come up with a way to block one holder at the narrower width. A wing nut and small bolt wouldn't be the worse idea. I have the brass rod because I first had it spring loaded, then removed the spring and now use a piece of width appropriate wood to place in the slot and block it.

All of the hardware is available at hardware stores like ACE, or even the big box stores.

Jeff, the question about brushes...I use the same size as any other time. I do carry a #4 or #6 round for little 'dots' of color, like the geese. I do saw the handles down for cramped painting positions like you get in the car.

Donald_Smith
12-05-2005, 11:37 AM
Hi Marc,

Nice 6x8 box and painting. I noticed you put a middle gray color under your glass pallet. I just read recently that it really helps when you're trying to establish values. Do you find it helps?

Don

Scorpio
12-05-2005, 02:15 PM
Marc,
Thanks for the link. I called Holbein, and that particular turps container is discontinued. They can't get it anymore, and haven't carried it for several years. Too bad, because it looks as if it would fit in some really shallow containers. So...enjoy the one you have!

Emilie

frisbee1948
12-05-2005, 04:14 PM
Nice box, Marc. But, I don't think I need one. My paintings are already inconspicuous.

MChesleyJohnson
12-05-2005, 04:50 PM
If I only had a tablesaw! (And the skill to use one and still have fingers left to paint with!)

Marc -- I think it's time you started offering woodworking workshops for plein air painters. :)

frisbee1948
12-05-2005, 06:47 PM
Marc -- I think it's time you started offering woodworking workshops for plein air painters. :)

He does amazing things with duct tape, too.

MChesleyJohnson
12-05-2005, 07:08 PM
Duct tape workshops might be in demand, too.

Marc Hanson
12-05-2005, 07:30 PM
He does amazing things with duct tape, too.
It's good for reconnecting the fingers that the saw removes!

I wish I could bring myself to use a table saw. But I'm afraid afer seeing what they can do to very experienced carpenters. I only have small saws, one jig and a small skil saw and an electric mitre saw, oh and a cheap band saw that is so cheap I don't use 'cause it doesn't work. The power mitre saw (also my frame moulding chop saw) is the most useful one of the bunch, with a sharp cross-cut saw close behind.

James or Jimmy Jim
12-05-2005, 08:55 PM
If they "saw" you, then it's no good. :D :D :D Sorry Marc. It's been one of those days.

Marc Hanson
12-05-2005, 10:14 PM
I guess Jim! Baddddd.:D

Here's the spring mechanism I tried to post earlier. And just repeating the earlier post...
You have to search the springs at the hardware store for the right one, right tension, right diameter, right number of coils. That all depends on how far you need the spring to travel in order to hold the panel.
I first used two springs but that didn't work in terms of putting the panel in. It's better to have one fixed arm, and the other spring loaded. If you want to hold both a 6x8 and a 8x6 panel then you will need to come up with a way to block one holder at the narrower width. A wing nut and small bolt wouldn't be the worse idea. I have the brass rod because I first had it spring loaded, then removed the spring and now use a piece of width appropriate wood to place in the slot and block it.

All of the hardware is available at hardware stores like ACE, or even the big box stores.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Dec-2005/37743-spring-clamp.jpg

brianc
12-05-2005, 11:38 PM
Marc,
Thanks for the link. I called Holbein, and that particular turps container is discontinued. They can't get it anymore, and haven't carried it for several years. Too bad, because it looks as if it would fit in some really shallow containers. So...enjoy the one you have!
I have two great turp containers. One is a 4oz bottle from an ink refilling kit, about 1 inch in diameter and four inches high. You can buy similar at almost any pharmacy. Very easy to carry enough turp for a session.

Also carry with me an old plastic chewing tobacco container. (It's embarassing because I don't chew or smoke, so don't go tell the Sunday School teens.) I acquired it one day when I'd gone out to paint and forgot my turp bowl. I saw this discarded snuff can on the ground, cleaned it out with a paper towel, and it's been along ever since. It *never* leaks.

Marc thanks for the diagram of the spring loaded arm.

jimb
12-06-2005, 06:07 PM
Marc,
Sorry, but I just now got to this.
Thanks for the thread. I really enjoy making or adapting things to use with my plein air work. I will definitely give this a shot. I might even make one this size and a larger one to fit on my tripod.
I posted one of my creations a long time ago, but it's along the same line...homemade plein air equipment. Here is my panel carrier which holds three 9x12 panels:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Dec-2005/2298-Panel_Carrier2_small_.JPG

Anyway, thanks for the ideas and the demos :)

DLGardner
12-30-2005, 12:43 AM
Marc, the painting is absolutely stunning!


Thanks so much for the inspiration. I thought maybe I'd try to make one but now that I saw the diagram of the spring and how confusing it is I think I'll just get a little cigar box and see what I can do with it. I am not a carpenter.

I did purchase a little paint box from Fred Meyers and the outside opens up as an easel. Its extremely lightweight and my husband rigged up a holder that fastens onto a tripod. I can hold the box on my lap for car painting.



Dianne