Saturday, June 4, 2016

Packing for Scotland

View from Stirling Castle

In a few days, I'll be flying across the pond to bonnie Scotland where I'll join several other artists for a painting retreat.  I'm a little embarrassed to say that this is my very first trip abroad.  You can imagine how exciting this must be – and what a first trip it'll be, to Scotland!

Our retreat has been organized by fellow artist Margaret Evans, who lives on the southern edge of the Highlands.  Although she won't be able to join us, her husband, Malcolm, will be with us each day, guiding us to the best spots.  Some of the locations include Stirling Castle, the mountain and lake scenery around Glencoe, and the historic villages of Perthshire.  Base camp for us will be the Duchally Country Estate in Gleneagles, right in the middle of it all.

I'll start off my trip with a Friday night red-eye from Nova Scotia followed by a Saturday morning arrival in Glasgow.  After finding my hotel, where I'll stay one night before meeting the group, I plan to spend some time at the Kelvingrove Museum.  Sunday, I'll meet the group and Malcolm will take us all to Duchally where the fun begins.

But this is still in the future.  For the past week, I've been making preparations.  Besides figuring out what art gear to take, I've been investigating power adapters, mobile phone options and more.   Some of this has been easy, some of it not.  Phones, especially, are confusing.  A Google Project Fi phone seems to be the answer for my situation, so that's what I'll be taking.

I thought I'd take a little space here to describe what I'm taking in the way of art gear.  I've decided to take both oil and pastel.  Pastel will be great for sunny days, but if we have mist or fog or drizzle, oil will be a better choice.  I've pared the gear down so it's manageable.  (The acid test will be when I actually start packing things into a suitcase.)  Here are the details:

Oil gear:  6x8 Guerrilla Painter ThumBox, three brushes plus a small painting knife, 8x10 Multimedia Artboard, 9x12 sheets of Arches oil paper, a 9x12 PanelPak, small PETA container for OMS (which I'll get once in Scotland), plus my usual split-primary palette of Gamblin Oil Colors plus some Solvent-Free Gel.  Also a few sheets of palette paper to separate finished paintings.  Not pictured is my camera tripod, which also will go with me.

The oil gear all neatly packed up.  The oil colors are in a bag inside the ThumBox along with the manufacturer's safety data sheets and a big note saying "Artist's Oil Colours - Made with Vegetable Oil - Not Flammable".

Pastel gear: Heilman "Double Sketchbox" with optional easel attachment, two 11x14 pieces of foamboard with glassine attached, packet of 30 sheets of Wallis paper and Art Spectrum plus glassine sheets cut to fit.

Contents of the Heilman box:  The Michael Chesley Johnson Plein Air Set from Pastels Girault (full 50 sticks), plus a small set of greys, a few soft Unisons and some extra greens in NuPastel, plus a few tools (foam brush, bristle brush, pencil, vine charcoal and pencil sharpener.)  I wasn't going to take the extra greens until another painter said, "You'll need more greens!"

The pastel gear neatly packed up.

A few miscellaneous items:  artist's tape, masking tape, two sketchbooks, finger cots, Leatherman tool and, of course, business cards.  And you never know when you'll need that Band-Aid! Again, not pictured is the tripod, backpack or hat.
Although I'll be in contact with friends and family via e-mail, I'm not sure how much time I'll have for blogging.  Hopefully, I'll at least be able to post photos to my Facebook and Instagram accounts.  Stay tuned!

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