What to bring on a plein air painting trip?

I have written about the benefits of small plein air painting and how and why it can help improve color observation skills. Suppose you are totally convinced and would like to give it a try or you simply love to paint outdoors, what should you bring? Sure, you can probably load as much gear as you want into your car if you’re driving. But what about plein air painting during your travel or hiking? Over the years, I have traveled extensively and painted wherever I go. The gear I carry with me are pretty much the same. I have listed them below in case you’re interested. Please note that this supply list is specific for small plein air paintings (5 x 7 inches). However, my supplies are pretty similar for medium size plein air paintings. The only difference is that I will use an easel instead of a paint box and larger size canvas boards.

List of supplies

Small paint box, paintbrushes, palette knife, easel, masking tape and of course, oil colors – these are all indispensable.

Paint

These are the oil colors that I usually use for mini-landscapes.

The brands shown here are Rembrandt, Winsor & Newton and Old Holland.

In order from right to left: Titanium White, Cadmium Yellow Lemon, Perm Yellow, Medium Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna, Cadmium Red Light, Permanent Red Deep, Alizarin Crimson Lake Extra, Permanent Mauve, Ivory Black, Outremer Violet, Ultramarine Deep, Severe Blue, Prussian Green, Oxide of Chromium, Talens Green Light and Stilde GrainBrown.

Palette

How the oil colors are laid out on the palette.

Brown is sometimes squeezed in between Raw Sienna and Cadmium Red.

Paintbrushes

Mini-landscapes often use up to 5 to 6 brushes per painting. The red round-tip brush on the far right uses badger hair while the blue brush next to it uses mink. The small flat brush on the far left is made from badger hair while the one with the silver stem uses nylon. The third brush from the right is a flagged tip pig’s bristle brush (it’s become blunted through much use.)

Painting Medium

The painting medium I usually use is similar to sesame oil. It dries slightly quicker than linseed oil and if you leave it on a windowsill it becomes more transparent over time (sun bleaching.)

Left: Talens; Right: Driebergen. Both are produced in the Netherlands.

Canvas panels

Two panels can be fitted into the easel, one on top of the other. Small widgets separate the two so the oil colors don’t interfere with each other.

Oil painting canvas glued onto thin plywood with PVC glue.

Three-Legged Stool

For information on video lessons on plein air painting, please click here.

Other posts you may be interested:

How to paint small plein air landscape – a step-by-step guide

The secret to color training – small plein air landscape