Monday, May 21, 2012

Some New Plein Air Painting Products

Spring Greens at the Seaside Barn, 6x8, oil
Now that we've settled in after our long, cross-country drive, I thought I'd go out painting with a few new items I've come across.  We've had absolutely gorgeous weather these last few days, and I didn't want to miss the opportunity to play before getting back to work.  Of course, painting is work, but I call it playing when I introduce a few new items to my materials or equipment.  (Actually, I have been working; this week, I created the syllabus and materials for my online course through Artists Network University, started an article for The Artist's Magazine, and promoted my Paint Campobello plein air painting workshops.)

Although blackflies aren't a problem when I start teaching my workshops at the end of June, we always have a run of them in late May.  I came across "Bye Bye Blackfly," a DEET-free ointment that comes in a nifty can.  We do have blackflies now, and I can swear that this product works.

I've always used those free plastic bags from Wal-Mart for disposing of my soiled papertowels.  I hang one from the side of my pochade box.  But one problem with these bags, in addition to their being bad for the environment, is that a windy day will often send it whipping around, often right into my palette.  Paint gets everywhere.  I now have the Bajer Pop Open Caddy, thanks to a student of mine from Ohio.  Originally designed as a shower caddy, it's perfect for trash.  I have to admit I do line it with a plastic bag.

Besides the Pop Open Caddy, you'll note the Art Cocoon, which I
have written about before.
Finally, when I was at the Plein  Air Expo in Las Vegas, I was given a set of Cobra paints, a new brand of water-miscible oil paint from Royal Talens, the people who make Rembrandt paints and pastels.  They're better that the Grumbacher Max brand which seems to "clump" when thinned with too much water.  Yes, I know you can buy a medium that will thin without clumping, but for me the point of these paints is to minimize what I have to carry.  Cobra paints thin well with just water.  I like the consistency of them, too.

At the top of this post is the little piece I did this morning.  With all these new toys, you can bet I had fun painting it!


Adriana Guidi said...

I love the Cobra water mixable paints!

Aieshawells said...

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Hawaiian Paintings said...

Michael: If you have time to respond to this, I would appreciate it. I see that you are using a Guerilla Pochade Box. I have one and also a problem. Do you agree that this equipment should only be used for small plein air paintings or studies (say 9x12)? When I bought mine, I added a custom made extendable support, mounted on the outside face of the top lid. This allowed me to mount larger canvas, typically 16x20 or 18x24 for work in the field. What I did not reckon for was the forces generated by brush strokes gradually rotated the lid back and away, slanting the canvas too much. There was no efficiencey in the tightness of the clamp built-in to the box. Now I use a french easel-no problem, but a nuisance to set up.

Small canvas only?
Myles Murphy

Michael Chesley Johnson said...

Hi Myles, Thanks for your note. I actually have my Guerrilla 9x12 modified with the telescoping easel that you can buy from Judson's. I use it comfortably with up to a 12x16 panel. The trick is, you have to really crank on the knob to tighten the lid. The telescoping easel kit comes with a larger knob just for that purpose: said...

Thanks, Michael: I guess I will stick with 9x12. Cranking the knob makes no difference on mine for surfaces larger that 11x14. Truth is, smaller allows simplified execution distilled down to the essence of the scene, which is a good thing.