Karen Whitworth posted a highly organized, detailed photograph of the items in her plein air painting kit, and social media responded.

Lead Image: Karen Whitworth’s plein air kit

“According to feedback, the list has been helpful for several artists, especially while traveling,” says Whitworth. “I’m sure many of us have left a much-needed supply at home — maybe even done it several times.” In addition to the photo, Whitworth posted a list of the items to make it easier to check off what is needed in the kit.

Many of the items on Whitworth’s list are obvious, but that’s just her point — if you forget something obvious because you don’t use a list, your day is going to be difficult. So “tripod” is on the list.

Whitworth’s list of items in her plein air kit
Whitworth’s list of items in her plein air kit

Other items are more customized. Some of us won’t need to include a hair band in our plein air kits, and while having a flashlight is safer, not carrying the weight of a flashlight may appeal to others. Whitworth gets that.

“Plein air kits are kind of like hairdos,” she says. “A particular approach/arsenal may work for one person and not the next. But sometimes, there are little gems of genius that we find in our neighbor’s plein air rig that we just have to try for ourselves. I, too, benefit from seeing how other people approach plein air and all the problems that can arise while in the field. So I wanted to share my list of must-haves in hopes of helping fellow painters zone in on their own version of the perfect plein air supply list.”

“Rows of Lavender,” by Karen Whitworth, oil, 8 x 10 in.
“Rows of Lavender,” by Karen Whitworth, oil, 8 x 10 in.

Whitworth unabashedly states some brand name preferences for her art materials, and again, this won’t be followed by everyone. It’s also likely to change. But the artist says that if she helps people by detailing her packing process, she has succeeded in her endeavor.

“No matter how many times I have gone out painting, this list really helps me keep focus while packing and avoid leaving something — often quite obvious — at home,” says Whitworth. “It has evolved over the years, and I am sure it will continue to do so as I find more or different gadgets to make the experience even more enjoyable for me. Painting outside can be rather demanding, so being prepared is a pretty big deal.”


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