Thursday, May 19, 2016

An Artist Packing For Summer: Watercolor Art Kit For Summer

It's Time To Pack Art Supplies!

May is here, spring is in full swing, and it's high time to be packing that art bag.  Is it time yet?  I'm ready to take off for the mountains.  There are trails to explore and campfires to build!  My husband leans toward spontaneous more often than not.  For anyone who knows us personally, you could say that's a huge understatement.  I am the grown-up Girl Scout Brownie who has an addiction to preparedness.  Well, aren't we a fine match?!  I am very entertaining while hurriedly running around to pack up the essentials just before we head off on another day or weekend adventure.  I've mentioned this before but here it is again.  I have packed up a bag of art supplies every summer for nearly 20 years of our marriage.  I used the art supplies more frequently before the busy summer days of motherhood.

While I'm at the lake or in the mountains with our family, I feel like I need to be present...and sometimes I think they see photography or watercolor painting as bringing my work.  It's work and pleasure all rolled into one.  Photography is much easier to fit in with us constantly being on the move to somewhere else.  I keep packing the art supplies because it's my habit. I'm sure one day the opportunity for a fast watercolor sketch will present itself!  I continue to pack and carry this bag because one of these days, I'll be painting up a storm while I'm right there on location.  Let's begin with the bare bones basics of art supplies for making some watercolor art in nature.

The Watercolor Travel Kit

The Basic List:

  • watercolor paint palette with travel brush
  • watercolor sketch book
  • pencil and eraser
  • water container
  • paper towels
  • sunscreen
  • hat with wide brim
  • sunglasses
  • shirt for extra protection from sun

basic watercolor supplies necessary for traveling artist

This would be the list of most basic art supplies I pack to take on the road with me.  With my love of art supplies, I have a difficult time with packing quite a bit more.  (Yeah, you know me too well and you're probably saying, "no kidding.")  The what ifs run through my brain and before I know it, half the studio is now packed in that bag.  Laugh about it.  I don't mind.  It's all true.

The watercolor palette is Royal Talens.  It has its own travel brush.  There are quite a few other nice travel watercolor palettes available.  I prefer a mechanical pencil out of personal habit.  It doesn't need sharpening.  I just pack extra lead in the core.  The watercolor sketch book features pages 5" x 7" in 140 lb. weight.  This means there's some buckling from painting but not as much as a sketchbook meant for drawing.  A powdered drink mix container was saved and cleaned for new use as a water container.  Some artists use a collapsible cup and water bottle.

Here, at higher altitudes, the sun exposure can really do a number on my skin.  For the first half of the summer, too much time in the sun means I'm broken out in a rash.  The Badger kids spf 30 sunscreen is scented with tangerine and vanilla.  I cannot stand other sunscreens but this one is now my favorite!  The wide-brimmed hat, sunscreen and lightweight shirt with built in sun protection are a must.  I can't leave them at home.

Wide brimmed hat, protective sun shirt, sunglasses, tangerine & vanilla sunscreen

So from here, I'll take you further into the other art supplies I might bring with me.

I've recently purchased a travel makeup bag.  I wasn't sure how it would work for art supplies.  Last year, I just wasn't thrilled with my art bag set up.  It needs some improvement.  Unsure whether this bag would help, it is worth finding out.  It seems like a success with all the supplies in clear view.

Zipper bag for watercolor art supplies, watercolor art kit, summer artist travel

Inside the separate sections, left to right:

watercolor pencils, a selected few
pencil, eraser, a woodless pencil (all graphite with plastic casing), pens, eraser and sharpener
palette knife and various brushes
watercolor paper block postcard size, paper towels and waterbrushes

Zipper sections of bag for travel art supplies, watercolor pencils, drawing supplies, watercolor brushes, paper, waterbrushes

I really enjoy using a mechanical pencil and click eraser.  This bag should have a pack of graphite leads added.  The pens are black Sharpee and a silver Uni-Ball.  A kneaded eraser can be molded to a finer point and pressing it into the paper lightens the pencil lines.  A watercolor paper block is a pad of multiple sheets of 140 lb. paper (medium weight) sealed on all four edges.  The top sheet can be released by running the palette knife between the first two layers.  Waterbrushes have a plastic handle reservoir for water.  Drawing with the watercolor pencils and then going over with a wet brush has a nice effect.  The waterbrushes can be used with the watercolor palette as well.  The clear plastic zipper bag shown at far left in the photo below is great for protecting watercolor paper and other items from water and dirt.  I saved the zipper bag from a new set of bed sheets.  There are so many items that can be saved and re-purposed for the artist's use!  The spray bottle and dropper bottle are very helpful to have in the bag.  The spray bottle can spritz the paper for more wet watercolor effects.  The dropper bottle helps with making the color mixes into a puddle on the palette quickly.  The paper and the palette will dry out quickly on a hot, sunny day!

Laying out the basic art supplies for a watercolor artist's kit.  Watercolor paint palettes, zipper bag, sun care supplies.

Guide books for wildflowers, birds and berries are a great addition.  They can add a lot of weight but I feel like I must have them with me!  While on the trail, I look carefully for new or rarely seen wildflowers.  It's intriguing to keep track of the more elusive wildflowers.  In recent years, I've gotten more interested in identifying birds.  I've got a simple laminated folding bird reference; it's lightweight, takes up very little space, and gets used often.  A reference book for berries is very important if you'd like to be daring enough to try the berries on the trail.  There are plenty of poisonous berries and you want to be sure of your snack!  My husband has given me strange looks and questioned my determination to taste the berries along the way.

Here's the whole bag all packed up.  This and the makeup bag are from the Thirty-One bag company.  The organizer bags are a lifesaver and the multiple pockets around the outside are really handy!  In the future, I'd like to get one with a zip-top closure for more secure travel.  These bags are so durable and make life easier!  (No, not a commercial.  I really do like these that much.)

Organizer bag with watercolor art supplies for summer travel.

Here are a few watercolor sketches done while on a weekend trip.  They were done on location in Glacier National Park here in Montana.  It's my happy place, I swear!  I could sit and gaze on the scenery there for days and days.  There's just a peaceful relaxation that happens on the shore of the lake or the banks of a river, feet in the iced cold water, warm sun on your back.  The largest of the four paintings, I believe was done from an inflatable 4-man raft at the center of Lake McDonald.  That was one of my favorite art in the mountains experiences.

Watercolor quick sketches done with watercolor art kit, summer art travel

Have I got you itching to pick up a paintbrush and get going with some watercolor paint?  Are you curious about how your own quick sketches could fill a travel sketchbook?  It's a very relaxing treat, to sit on the gravel at the edge of the creek.  The sound of the water as it runs over those colorful pebbles.  The sun sparkles and glints off the water surface.  The birds, the breeze through the tree branches and the scent of pine all complete the experience.  It must be calling you, too!

If you've got any questions about the supplies I've shown, please ask!  I'll give you more information with link to where to purchase.  I get my art supplies from several different sources and I'm more than happy to give suggestions.

Have a fantastic weekend and thanks for stopping by to share your time here.

she must make art.

No comments:

Post a Comment