Preparing for Painting On Location

Q. I’m getting ready to take my first plein air painting workshop. What supplies will I need?

A. Here’s a list of what I bring on location: a pencil, a pencil sharpener, a kneaded eraser, brushes, spray bottle, small sketch pad for thumbnail sketches (4 x 6 or smaller), a couple of clamps, watercolor paper with a board to support the paper or some watercolor blocks, paints, metal folding palette (easier to pack), paper towels or tissues, a full water jug, a container to put water in, water to drink, a trash bag, a slide mount (for framing the subject), a camera (in case I don’t finish the painting on location) and a French easel. I carry everything but the easel in a sturdy canvas bag.

A tip about watercolor blocks: I like painting on them because they’re pre-stretched and are on a block for support. Bring a couple along, because when you’re finished with one painting, it will still be wet and you don’t want to disturb the painting by peeling the top sheet (your new painting) off the block. If you have two blocks, you can simply set your first painting aside, and begin your next painting on another block of paper. Try bringing different size watercolor blocks, too, so you have choices.

You may also think about packing a tube of sunscreen and a sun hat. A painting umbrella that attaches to your easel is also important as it keeps the reflection down and makes it easier for you to see what you’re painting. Finally, enjoy! There’s nothing like painting outdoors!

.?.? Toogood received his formal training at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, then launched his career as a fine artist. Since then, his paintings have garnered a number of awards and been widely exhibited, appearing at such venues as the National Academy of Design and the Butler Institute of American Art. In addition, his work is represented in public and private collections both in North America and abroad. A signature member of several art-related organizations, including the New Jersey Watercolor Society, the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society and the American Watercolor Society, Toogood teaches watercolor at Main Line Art Center in Haverford, Pennsylvania, and the Perkins Center for Arts in Moorestown, New Jersey. Based in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, he’s represented by Rosenfeld Gallery (Philadelphia) and the Windjammer Gallery (Hamilton, Bermuda).

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