There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
Imagine this for a moment. You are looking out over a beautiful scene, perhaps a beach or bushveld, it does not matter. The sounds of nature surround you. No cars, sirens or telephones. No crowds jostle you. Just a gentle breeze to send the clouds drifting by. You are painting this scene. You are caught in the moment as time seems to stand still and your awareness of the moment is intense. Sound ideal? It does to me and it is achievable for the outdoor painter.
It is summer time and for many of us the holidays beckon. A perfect opportunity for artists to try some outdoor painting. So many artists are shocked at the idea of painting outdoors. They imagine the scrutiny of others to be an ordeal, the elements to be uncomfortable or indeed worry about their safety. In reality all of these concerns are easily solved with some preparation and common sense. Painting outdoors is as simple to organise as a morning on the beach or some other destination. It does pay to be prepared though.
There are many options when it comes to painting kit. Like many leisure activities it seems that painting kit is sold at a premium too. For many leisure artists it seems financially prohibitive to spend thousands for this pastime. I have used various easels such as the famous french easel (wood and aluminium), field tripods and pochade boxes. For convenience and versatility I would choose the pochade box over the rest. It is also very cost effective.
It is simple to make a pochade box by converting the basic wooden paint box found at all art stores. Simply add a hinge. Take out the compartments and put in some sort of supports to hold a panel in place. Very easy and aside from the box it is cheap to make too.
The pochade is small enough to be placed on your lap, or a portable table or even on the ground. Ideally you can secure a tripod attachment to the bottom of the box, which opens up more painting opportunities.
All you need now is some sort of panel carrier to transport wet panels safely. A box with some grooves or even nails or tacks placed inside sufficiently spaced to allow for the panels to remain upright. This will be fine for a short trip back to your studio. Some artists even glue matchsticks to the rear edge of the panel then stack the wet panels on top of each other. They then wrap a few elastic bands around the stack to secure them. Cheap and effective!
Remember to paint in the shade or use a beach umbrella or some other form of shelter. The sun should not shine on your panel or palette and sunburn, of course, must be avoided.
For first timers it can be a scary experience painting in view of other people. However this concern quickly fades when you realise that people are not that interested really. Test your pochade system in the backyard or on your balcony. Wherever you choose to paint the plein air experience is one that every artist should try to develop. The rewards are immense.
PS. Have a look at the opportunity below.
Begin Your Outdoor Adventure
I know that many artists are nervous about leaving the studio to paint outdoors. I made it my goal to encourage as many artists as I can to try outdoor painting for themselves. That lead to the course Learn Outdoor Painting With Confidence. In this course you will see the step-by-step approach that I use to make the transition easy. To add further incentive for you I have given you a BIG discount on the course. You can start right now for only $10.00. Pretty good. So click here and start your plein air adventure right now.