How one outdoor painter is making the most of plein air with this artist hack.
By Marz Doerflinger (www.MarzDoerflinger.com)
Making the most of my outdoor adventures: my “micro-pochade”
I’ve become completely addicted to my mountain bike since moving to the desert. I’ve been charging up the mountain trails almost daily in search of my muse, the muse that abandoned me when I left the Pacific Northwest. After many days of riding I found her, but she doesn’t want to return to the studio with me. I’ve decided there is only one solution … if the spirit of the desert won’t come with me into the studio, I’ll take my studio to the desert. I’ve tried the traditional approach of lugging my plein air gear out, but something is lost in the translation between what I feel speeding down the trail and what I capture standing at my outdoor easel.
I’ve taken my tiniest tin of watercolors, a water brush, an ink pen, and a 4 x 6 watercolor block with me. That was almost perfect. I was able to stop and sketch the poppy-lined trail, tuck everything back into my pocket, and head back down the trail. But as fun as the watercolor sketch was, for me it’s no replacement for plein air oil painting.
The solution was obvious. I needed a tiny oil kit I can tuck into my jersey pocket to pull out when the spirit hits.
With this in mind, I invented my “micro pochade,” a tiny handheld easel fashioned from an empty CD case. I simply tape a blank canvas to the lid, pack my paints in contact lens cases (a split primary palette plus white), grab a paper towel, latex gloves, and a palette knife, seal it in a quart-size Ziploc and off I go.
As soon as I see something that speaks to me, I get off my bike, mix my colors on one side of the CD case, quickly paint the scene, clean off my palette, and shut the case which now acts as a wet panel carrier. I hold my dirty towel in one hand, pull the latex glove over it, and my garbage is completely contained within the used glove. Everything goes back in the Ziploc, well protected as I jostle down the trail, heading for home.
How have you adapted to painting outdoors? Share your hacks in the comment section below!