My plein air experiences began with lugging around a heavy, large French easel that tenuously held only one painting on the easel stand. After doing this a couple of times, I decided that I needed a dedicated wet painting carrier that held multiple panels and was lightweight.
I’d like to mention that I’m not getting paid for this recommendation although I wouldn’t be against that. I just think this is a very good, useful product and it could be a good addition to your plein air equipment.
Why use a wet painting panel carrier at all?
To carry and store your wet paintings when plein air painting
It’s a necessary piece of equipment especially when you’re producing multiple paintings
Convenience! It removes the hassle of carrying a wet painting in your hands
Advantages of using the Raymar carrier?
Every company that produces a pochade box most likely makes a wet painting carrier. Sometimes, the panel carrier is incorporated into the pochade box and sometimes it’s an entirely separate item. The problem with both of these options is that they’re heavy. In comes the Raymar wet painting panel carrier. It has 3 slots that can hold six 1/8” painting panels back-to-back (although I only use it for three panels). It’s made of fluted plastic making it lightweight and waterproof.
NOTE: this product holds painting panels not canvases.
As a backpacker, I’m very conscious of how much things weigh and what a drag it is to carry unnecessary weight. This product’s light weight was a big selling point for me. The price depends on the size. I went with the 8” x 10” although they have different size carriers and multi-width carriers. My 8” x 10” set me back $35 (including tax and shipping). This seems a bit pricey for plastic but it’s worth the cost (and convenience) as it’s a very sturdy item.
Above is the Raymar wet painting carrier in action. See the two canvas panels in one slot? It has a velcro closing lid and adjustable strap for easy transport
A dedicated wet painting carrier will simplify your plein air painting process
The Raymar wet painting carrier comes in different sizes (and multi sizes) to hold different size panting panels
Have you ever worked on a plein air painting only to realize that some serious compositional issues existed halfway through the painting? The purpose of this post is to show you how you can use thumbnail sketches to work out these problems before you lay down any paint.
What are the advantages of using thumbnail sketches?
To quickly sketch different views of the subject matter
To crop a view to make it more visually interesting
Thumbnails help establish a strong composition
They reduce visual elements to values and shapes thereby making the painting process easier
What’s the process for creating thumbnail sketches?
I start with a 5b or 6b drawing pencil which allows me to get a dark black. I quickly sketch a small box (approximately 2”x3”) that’s proportional to the canvas or panel that I’ll be painting on. I sketch loosely and reduce the subject matter to simple, large shapes and tonal values. I limit my sketching time to 3 or 4 minutes to avoid getting bogged down with any detail. Finally, I use this thumbnail to lay out my painting.
Using this method I can create different thumbnails from different angles giving me options to choose from. Additionally, these sketches help me decide what view will work out best as a painting.
Examples of usage
Please note the four thumbnails on the top of this post. I’ve sketched out a couple of thumbnails to choose from. I think the top two are boring . The bottom two have a better composition with a strong focal point. But the bottom-right one is a better value study and I chose this one to create a painting.
Below you can see the quick thumbnail sketch that I used to begin the painting on the right. Looking back, I should’ve better developed the different values in the thumbnail.
How they improve your plein air painting
A thumbnail sketch will quickly show if a view is worth painting
Give the ability to crop or change elements that won’t work in the painting
Help in the painting process by simplifying the view to simple shapes and tonal values
You can quickly rework elements to improve the composition
When painting plein air, use thumbnail sketches to quickly lay out your painting
Sketch out approximately 2”x3” boxes that match the proportions of your painting surface
Work out any compositional issues in the thumbnail
Establish tonal values in the thumbnail that can transferred to the painting
Use the thumbnail to lay out your painting
Do you use thumbnail sketches when painting plein air? How do you avoid compositional problems?