"Bridge to the Dunes" 5x7, oil
As many of you know, I paint a lot of 5x7 sketches. Typically, I drag out my 9x12 Guerrilla Painter Box and a few Art Cocoons configured for 5x7 panels. But recently, I acquired one of the new 5x7 PocketBoxes from Judson's Art Outfitters. I took it out today for a test drive.
A good, soaking rain started last night, and it just didn't want to quit. If I need to paint on a rainy day, I do small sketches. It's no good starting an 18x24 masterpiece only to get chilled by the rain and to have to call it a day. So, I headed for a big picnic shelter down by the beach with a handful of panels and my PocketBox.
I did three 5x7s - two with the box in my lap or on a picnic table, and one while actually holding the box in my hand. It's a very light box - it only weighs a pound - so I found it much easier to hold up than the heavier 6x8 ThumBox. (Yeah, I know, I should lift weights more often.) I usually spend about 30 minutes on a 5x7. I held up that box for a full half-hour, and I didn't get tired.
Although my box came with an optional, hinged palette extension, I stripped down my usual colors to the three primaries plus white and black. I had plenty of room on the main palette for these. Also, to keep the box light, I didn't store my paint tubes in the box. Because I chose to use water-miscible oils, I packed in a Mighty Mite Jr. brush washer topped off with water. It fits right inside the box. Finally, I used just two flats, a #4 and a #2. When you put it all together, it's a very portable box. I easily stuffed all of this in a small daypack with room to spare.
I started the day by painting with the box on the picnic table, but I found that without a bit of weight, the box was tippy. I added a 150ml tube of white, and that did the trick. Before going into "thumb mode," I took out the tube to lighten things. The palette extension, by the way, is drilled with holes that you can stick your brushes in. I just laid mine down on the table or held them in my free fingers. But if you don't have a table and don't want to hold the brushes, the holes are a good solution.
One thing I do with my 9x12 box that I can't with the 5x7 is hang a roll of paper towels off of it. But for the portability and freedom of the PocketBox, I can live with such a compromise!
(Below are some photos of the PocketBox. Above is one of the paintings I did today.)