A Painting Vacation:
How to Get There and What to Bring

If you’re contemplating a painting holiday, be sure to pick a reliable tour company with a proven track record to ensure that travel arrangements are handled efficiently. For a comprehensive list of workshops offered in the United States and abroad, check out The Artist’s Magazine/Shaw Guides online directory.

The following is the advice I mail to each workshop painter, in advance of a trip:

In general: Keep everything to a lightweight minimum. What you take, you carry. Don’t take a lot of paint. “The fewer colors I use, the more my brain can deal with the painting rather than with colors,” said Rex Brandt.

Recommended sketchbook: Tom Lynch’s 9 x 12 field sketchbook, which contains 30 sheets of sketch paper and 12 sheets of 140-lb. watercolor paper. This sketchbook is difficult to find, but there are similar ones available.

Recommended paints: Tubes of a cool and a warm of each primary: for example, hansa and cadmium yellows; alizarin crimson and cadmium red light; ultramarine and cobalt blues. With the addition of burnt sienna and raw sienna, you should be able to find the right color nuance without having to carry every paint you own.

Recommended brushes: Unless you can’t live without them, leave the sables at home. The Golden Fleece line of synthetic brushes from Cheap Joe’s is an excellent choice, and should they ‘jump ship’ on your cruise to adventure, you can replace them inexpensively.

Other supplies: Pack a soft pencil and a kneaded eraser; your choice of pen (I like the extra fine Sanford Sharpie, which is permanent and waterproof.); a folding aluminum stool which is lightweight and fits in a suitcase; and a backpack.

Extra stuff such as water containers and tissues can be found almost anywhere overseas. I carried all of the art supplies, except the sketchbook, in a plastic food keeper. I used the lid for a palette.

Heather Galloway is associate paintings conservator at the Intermuseum Laboratory in Oberlin, Ohio.

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