What to pack for painting on the go

What to pack for painting on the go


I am one of the lucky ones , I have the privilege of doing a job that is also my pastime, so a holiday ( for me ) is not an opportunity to leave work behind. I do leave my commissions behind, and all the admin and obviously I can't pop to the post office with orders ready to post. ) So a holiday for me is a time for real 'me' painting time, a time to really see where we are and immerse myself in the landscape.As well as an opportunity to be inspired by other artists too  ( a real bus man's holiday), visiting galleries and studios)

I have recently been asked what I would take with me on holiday or on a day out painting, it is one of the real assets of watercolour painting that it can be taken outside and used almost anywhere

We recently got back from a week in Cornwall and so what else could I paint but the sea? Sitting on the beach my toes in the sand, kids surfing in the distance and all is well with the world. I have a limited holiday kit .....

1. My pencils and brushes, a scraper ( for mark making) and a pen 

Take as few brushes as you need and perhaps not your best ones, you don't want to leave a precious sable brush sitting in a sand dune.



2. A folding water pot

perhaps a plastic bottle with water, unless you are by a river or the sea, and use your water sparingly


3.A spray bottle to keep the paint nice and moist and usable


4. My paints

I take my whole palette, but a small travel palette would be fine. Take the colours you think you'll need, e.g. if going by the sea blues and yellows, if the lake district browns and greens. Even if you just take one colour like paynes grey you can do tonal sketches.

I guarantee, a few hours spent looking at a view or a tree, will cement the place so securely in your mind you'll never forget it, whatever the painting turns out like.


5. A sketch book or some paper,

6. A board or some cardboard and some masking tape to keep everything secure if it's windy 


It feels strange working away from my studio , but strange in a good way .

The view I have to paint is all around me , it is liberating to just lose myself in a painting . It can also be frustrating when the wind blows the paper away or the sand gets everywhere....it is a whole new ball game painting in the open air. I always get a bit ratty 3/4 of the way through ( a critical stage when I think everything will go wrong.)but the suddenly, hopefully it can all come together .

A real memory of an afternoon spent well, and marks made on paper in response to the world around me....

Take photos too so you can tweak things when you get home. 


I would encourage you , if it's something you enjoy to make room for some art materials, and make yourself do something ( however small) most days, it will really improve your observational skills, and mean you absorb so much more of where you are.


Good Luck x


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1 comment

Just exactly what I needed to hear. I am going to Italy for the first time, by myself, to explore, discover and create art. I only began my painting journey this year at 66. Thank you for sharing your experience.

Sally Kass

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