View Full Version : Do YOu Work On Location?

11-03-2002, 09:50 AM
I know with winter coming here in the northeast I will probably not attempt it for a while but I really have been inspired but what I am seeing here. So...do many of you work en plein air and how do you set up? What kind of easel or do you even use one? How do you set up your pastels without having a mess? Sit or stand?
Just curious...and need more encouragement!


11-03-2002, 10:00 AM
Hey meowmeow,
(*we need to set up a cat-lovers forum here*)

I don't paint outdoors much . . . but have done . . I might be wrong here but I think Carly is the local wizard on this topic.

For what it's worth I have an easel and I ALWAYS stand. like to frequently move back about 5m and view my work froma distance to ensure i've got the tonal variations down . .as well as the overall feel.


11-03-2002, 10:47 AM
Thanks Crumby! Do you have some sort of box easel or what? I mean where do you set your pastels while you are out there working?
I tend to sit and hop up a lot to step back. It's just that this old back of mine has trouble standing still for long periods of time. But I can see where outdoors standing might be best.

11-03-2002, 03:29 PM
I always work from life (27 years) and use an old tv tray to hold my wooden boxes of pastels the tv tray straps on to my drawing board which is hindged to hold paper and finished works, I usually have a backback to carry my pastels and a portable easle, I take the same setup to life drawing as I use for the landscape. When super windy I just put pastel boxes on ground and tie down easle with the strap I use to hold tv tray to drawing board.

11-03-2002, 03:34 PM
What a great idea...and so simple too. Thanks!
I checked out your webage and I love your work. My favorite was the Mistaken View at the top of the page. That was beautiful.
Thanks again!


11-03-2002, 07:00 PM
Dan...thanks for the picture showing your setup!!:D You've given me some great ideas! Hopefully some more plein air folks will post pictures of what they use! :D

11-04-2002, 01:48 PM
TV tray? Not something I've heard of, here in the UK. Could you please explain this? It just looks like a box open on a table ... but I guess it is something different.

Just for the record - if you have a bad back of any kind, then standing for long periods will not be good, but worse than that will be the bending down to collect sticks of pastel!
I would suggest you try a lightweight sketching chair with a back - the tubular steel ones are very light indeed; then, also have your pastels at hip level, so that you do not have to bend to reach them. You could use a fishing stool, which weighs almost nothing, and put a tray of pastels on that.
I usually have a largeish box of pastels with me, but actually, if you pare down your equipment, and carry a small box of pastels, no bigger than, say, a cigar box, you can still achieve good effects. Alternatively, this is what I do. I carry a small plastic tray, like the kind you get in airplane meals, or in the supermarket with vegetables in it ... and I use this as a kind of "palette", holding the main colours I am working with. Then, I only need to bend occasionally to my main set, to collect new colours occasionally.

Another thing I would seriously consider, is the weight of your equipment, and HOW to carry it around. I have a really bad back, cannot carry anything, so I use luggage wheels!! Or, sometimes, one of those small suitcases with built-in pull-out handle, and wheels, the kind air hostesses use. All my kit goes in here - lightweight telescopic easel; pastels; pencil case; fix; wet wipes; sketchbook. All I have to carry, then, is a drawing board, if I decide to work large, and I use Fome-Core, which is lightweight polystyrene, with the pastel paper held on with paperclips. At the end of a painting session, I simply turn the paper round and clip it on with the painting "inside", so it cannot get damaged. I have travelled all over the world, painting plein aire, with this minimal equipment.

visit my website which has a “troubleshooter” page of helpful pastel tips and hints (http://www.jackiesimmonds.co.uk)

11-04-2002, 08:54 PM
Originally posted by jackiesimmonds
[B]TV tray? Not something I've heard of, here in the UK. Could you please explain this?...

Typically a small metal or wood table which folds open and closed. You set this up in front of you to have dinner on while you watch the tv.....hence.....tv tray. Obviously, there are many other uses for the tv tray, as Dan has demonstrated using it as a stand for his pastels! :D

Jackie....what do you do when there's a great show on television that you just can't miss and it's dinner time? I know....record it! :D

11-04-2002, 09:19 PM
LOL...I am far from a pastel plein air guru!! In fact, I know that Marsha and Diane also paint plein air!

I use a half box French easel...put the palette across the front and sit two plastic boxes (with softer pastels) on it for my plein air work. I have another box in a canvas tote, in case I need a hard pastel for something. I use a luggage wheeler and bungee everything to it when I walk to my site. If I'm really close to the car...I just carry my easel on my shoulder by the strap and my tote in my hand.

I'm making a "table" for lack of better term that will slip onto the front of the easel and give me room for at least three of my boxes of pastels. I've got a thin masonite board to tape my paper or mat board onto...this fits into the grooves of the easel! for a tighter fit than the heavyweight cardboard I was using. And I learned a lesson with the half-box...it will blow over (forward) if you move back to view the painting and a gust of wind comes along at the right angle!!
So now I push the legs into the ground a bit!...or I anchor my tote bag to the strap underneath for more weight.

Having said all that....

when I first began painting plein air with oils...all I had was an aluminum easel and a tote bag with paints...and a luggage wheelie. That's really all I needed!