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
Plein Air Workshops