My Lightweight Plein Air Painting Equipment

My Plein Air Equipment Assembled in my Australian Hotel
My Plein Air Equipment Assembled in my Australian Hotel

Thought some people might be interested in the equipment I took with me on my latest Plein Air travel trip to Australia and Bali.

1. I purchased a new super lightweight Manfroto tripod, model MKC3-PO1.
2.I used my trusty (and now 10 year old) 8 x10 in. Open M pochade box.
3.I painted on 7 x 10 in. museum board panels primed with Golden Matte Medium, 3 coats on both sides.  You need to use wax paper between these panels to prevent sticking, but you should also use them between the finished dry paintings.
4.I used water-soluble oil paints made by Holbein Dou and Winsor Newton Artisan. The Holbein paint is definitely better, but it costs substantially more. The limited palette I used was:

Titanium White

Lemon Yellow

Yellow ochre

Napthol Red

Alizarin Crimson

Burnt Sienna

Ultramarine blue

I could have got by with only the Napthol Red, but I had some water based Alizarin already. I also only painted once without mineral spirits, but the nice thing about the water-based oils is that they work with either water or solvent. And sometimes when you’re traveling overseas, it is hard to locate solvents. But you can get it in Bali or Australia, although it took a few tries in Bali.

  1. I made a wet painting storage box out of a cigar box and model maker’s wood (available at most art stores) and wood glue.
  2. I used another small cigar box to store all my paint and mediums.
  3. My leak-proof Holbien brush washer/solvent container
  4. My Canon G11 camera
  5. One jar each water-soluble alkyd medium and linseed oil. These really help when you only have water, as you really do not want to get your oil brushes wet with water. I try to use the mediums instead for thinning. Windsor and Newton sells brushes specifically made for using with water based oils, but I didn’t like the one I tried. The shape of hair is wrong, in my opinion.
  6. My wonderful hat, purchased in Australia, and lost in Bali.L
  7. A 7 x 10 in. Moleskin drawing notebook, and my black leather pencil case.
  8. I used a plastic brush holding tube to protect my brushes.
  9. An OpenM brass brush holder, which hangs on the side of the pochade box.
  10. A small mirror

In addition I brought along gorilla glue and wrapped my tripods top legs with some duct tape to have it for emergency repairs. I ended up gluing and then wrapping duct tape around the corners of all my cigar boxes to prevent them from separating.

It all fit into a small daypack with room for water and snacks still left. It was liberating to have such a lightweight painting kit.


Published by Stephan Giannini

An oil painter from Maine, USA.

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