Pastel Plein Air / updated 30Jan2014

Pastel Plein Air Checklist, left to right, top to bottom

-- Easel Butler armature
-- carbon fiber tripod with ball head
-- bungee cord (for securing the pochade box to the armature)
-- [under the masonite panel] packet of board-mounted pastel paper with glassine interleaves, sandwiched between 2 pieces of foamboard, secured with 6 large binder clips (clips also attach board-mounted paper to masonite panel)
-- masonite panel with tripod plate
-- mesh bag to hang tripod counterweight (which is usually a 25-oz bottle of water)
-- washcloth for wiping dusty fingers, with carabiner attached (plus 1-gal. ziploc bag for packing when damp) 
-- roll of black masking tape
-- GridIt Organizer panel (12" x 8", stored in a plastic sleeve) holding: 4-oz Nalgene wide-mouth bottle of alcohol (for underpainting), 1-oz spray bottle of Spectrafix casein fixative, 1-oz 'Gloves in a Bottle' lotion (which I never use), 2 small collapsible silicone bowls (for holding in-play pastel sticks), and my sketching tools (which consist of a pastel pencil, some ratty paintbrushes, a pen, toothbrush, eraser, retractable snap-off exact-o knife, Compose-It-Grid red tinted ValueFinder, and homemade perspective angle finder)
-- Heilman Backpack pastel pochade box (filled with various pastels)

Two items not shown: a small 5" x 7" sketchbook and my Personals Pack (which contains aspirin, lip balm, two energy bars, Leatherman multi-tool, packets of hand-sanitizing wipes, and an extra pair of reading glasses)

Everything except the tripod fits inside a JanSport Driver 8 rolling backpack. The tripod rides head-down in a padded exterior pocket of the backpack. I bungee the tripod legs to the backpack's retractable handle. Works well! Very secure. The whole get-up has been dragged up an down bus stairs, up and over curbs, up and down dead Metro escalators, along woodland paths, all over the place.

Extras : Quick-E-Seat folding chair, Bestbrella sun umbrella


MORE From Richard McKinley:

From Making a Mark : Top Tips for Travelling Artists-Pastels

From the ArtistsNetwork : Plein Air Painting in Pastels

From WetCanvas:


Anonymous said...

Great checklist! Thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for compiling this checklist. What is the brand and model of your carbon fiber tripod?

Observe Closely said...

Thanks for asking! The tripod is a
Manfrotto 190CX PRO. The head is an old Gitzo G1275M. The combo works great. Both for plein air painting and for photography!


Anonymous said...

Interesting set-up. Seems very efficent. Have you tried the new Heilman Sketchbox Double pochade box? Does it fit on the Easel Butler? Or is it too small?

Observe Closely said...

Yes! I do have the Heilman Sketchbox Double and it does indeed fit onto the Easel Butler. You will need the bungee cord to hold it secure, just like with the larger Heilman Backpack.

I am working on building a plein air set for the Sketchbox Double that is mostly Girault pastels. Very compact! Excellent quality. There are some gaps in the colors that are available from Girault, but these are easily filled with small pieces of Ludwigs and other very soft brands.

I'm looking forward to taking it out for a spin!