Travel painting

Travel painting
Watercolor kit: gouache and transparent paints, paper, a tin painted white inside to hold supplies and use as a palette, brushes, a silicone cup for water, a plastic support and painters tape for fixing the paper to it. Not pictured, a rag or paper towels.
Watercolor kit.

Past midsummer and I still don’t have much of a routine. That seems to be the way summer goes – every week a little different. After a great experience at the Old Town Art Fair we took a short trip to Michigan and a camping trip to Ohio. I brought painting supplies along on both.

A sketchbook is the easiest form of travel artwork. If I’m not driving I can sketch views from the road. I love having quick impressions to look at when I get back. Just like everything else, drawing and sketching heightens my focus and and helps me look long, and focus on my surroundings. The memories of drawing and painting in travel locations really stay with me.

Oil paints are pretty portable, but lately I’m finding it easier to travel with watercolor or gouache paints. There are fewer supplies needed, they dry faster, and it’s a change of pace so I don’t feel the same pressure I do when I’m painting with oil. It feels more experimental, in a good way. Another plus: more people are familiar with watercolor, so I’m more likely to get company when I break out the paints 🙂

Here is a picture of my current gouache kit, it all fits in a small tote bag that’s easy to toss into the car or squeeze into my duffle bag. These paints are an inexpensive ($7) set from the craft store, plus an extra tube of white since I use a lot of it. I cut the paper down to 6 by 4, like little postcards. The brushes are soft, cheap synthetics. For my palette I use an old craft tin painted white inside. I let the gouache dry inside. It cleans up easily when I need more palette space, and reactivates with water

Check out Gurney Journey if you’re looking for amazing inspiration and instruction in gouache painting, plein air, and more.