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  • Writer's pictureShelagh Casebourne

Ready, steady, paint!

Updated: Jun 29, 2021

You have a free day, the weather's perfect; it's the ideal time to get to that location you've been thinking about and start painting. But, and here's the big but, you start to think about all the packing up and sorting out of equipment that you're going to have to do before you get started and the enthusiasm starts to wane. But it doesn't need to be like that!

1. Prepare your boards and have them ready in your kit-bag

This useful tip was passed on by artist Haidee-Jo Summers, who credited Royal Academician Ken Howard, so it has a good lineage. If you don't have a useful carrier, like the Raymar wet painting carriers you can get in the US (but not here in the UK, for some reason), a bag of plain matchsticks (no heads) and some superglue, come to the rescue.

Select panels of the same size and stick some matchsticks on the back, evenly spaced, right at the edges of your panels. Take about three panels (or one more than you think you will use on a painting outing) and tape them together using masking tape and put them in your pack. Once used (and wet), you can stack them together in the same way, to put back in your pack for transport home again. The matchsticks keep the wet surfaces apart - unless you have been particularly enthusiastic with your impasto paint application.

2. Have separate paint tubes for your plein air kit-bag

I weed out my nearly empty paint tubes and keep them in a separate bag. They are the perfect size and weight to take out painting. You do need to make sure you have all your favourite colours - if you finish one while you're out, it's imperative to find a replacement as soon as you get back, otherwise you'll be all set up in the perfect location and suddenly realise you have no titanium white (substitute your 'must have' colour here)!

3. Pack a sandwich (bag)

The simplest way to transport your dirty brushes back home. If you have a few sandwich bags in your kit-bag, just put your brushes in the bag and they can go safely back in your brush roll to clean when you get home. It's even better if you can have a few brushes in a roll that you keep just for your outdoor painting. They can then be cleaned and put straight back in the kit-bag ready for the next outing.

If you get your kit ready to go again each time you come back from a painting outing, you will thank yourself the next time you're inspired by the perfect day as you grab your kit-bag in the knowledge that everything you need is ready and waiting. No need for procrastination; you will be just be able to seize the day.

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