Plein Air Painting Equipment and Supplies I Use to "Paint Charleston Daily"

It's always interesting to see the equipment plein air artists use to paint on location. This past weekend at the Oil Painters of America "SC Paint Out" at Poplar Grove, artists working in oil, pastel, acrylics and watercolor were seen using field easels made by "Open Box M ", "EASyL", and "Soltek" along with traditional French easels and customized painting set-ups.

I've been asked what supplies I use for plein air painting around the Lowcountry. My painting set up is well suited for painting out of the back of my car or at locations accessible with a rolling cart. For overseas travel, workshops, backpacking or remote painting locations a more streamlined system would be needed, such as the "Open Box M" easel and accessories.

I like the versatility of the "Stanrite" Standard light weight aluminum folding easel. It's designed with a cross brace which I use for my palette and has flip down spikes on each leg to anchor the easel in the ground on windy days.

I've customized the easel with 2 plastic brush holders attached to the front legs. I keep clean brushes on the left and wet brushes on the right. I hang a plastic shopping bag over one of the brush holders to stash my dirty paint rags and trash as I paint. I use Gamblin "Gamsol" orderless mineral spirits in a glass baby food jar on the palette to thin paint and clean the brushes.

Brushes are stored in a round, plastic tube case. (I've also seen one "custom" made out of a cut PVC plumbing pipe with a cap at ea. end.)

Common butcher paper serves as a disposable palette in a Masterson plastic palette case. The sealed lid allows paint to be set out on the palette before going on location (saves time) and later stored in the freezer to keep it workable for several days (saves money).

I paint on birch wood panels I prepare with either canvas or Gamblin Gesso. Sometimes I like to use cradled wood panels which I also sand and gesso. I've found panels are better than stretched canvas on location because they block sunlight coming through the back of the painting surface.
I prefer to stand when I paint but often bring a folding chair if I'll be painting all day.

The following is a list of things I pack in a folding pull cart which was bought at a boating supply store:
Spare paint tubes in a plastic shoebox, extra brushes and palette knife, orderless mineral spirits, masking tape, waterless hand cleaner (orange pumice type), paper towels, a view finder, mirror (to check values and composition), bug spray/ mosquito repelling device, sunblock cream, ground tarp, hat, plastic bags for trash, bottled water, and cell phone.

Do other plein air painters out there have painting tips and tricks to share? All comments are greatly appreciated. Happy Painting!


Paint Color Guy said...

Kudos to the painter.. :) I wish I could paint too..

Katherine Muschick Schneider said...

Appreciation is an art form too. Thanks, Paint Color Guy.

Katherine Muschick Schneider said...

I've now added an "Easy-L" model pochade box with a heavy duty tripod to my painting gear. In windy conditions, I like to use a Beauport style easel with an extra large wooden painting box on the spreaders. This easel style is similar to the easels used by the 19th centuary Maine and Mass. painters.

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