Thursday, July 14, 2011

Artists Packing for a Workshop: Lists and Tips

I got a list...
You got a list...
All God's Children Gotta list....

Jackie and I are getting ready to host another workshop. Dawn Whitelaw will be here a little over a week and we are communicating with all the artists who are probably packing. I'm thinking of my own list of things I need to do as well as sympathizing with them. All of the artists will drive in. Most will be in hotels. It's a lot of work to get ready to leave home to go to a workshop. You must pretty much pack like you are plein air painting- well, except for the bug spray!  But of course you have to pack clothes, toiletries, etc..

Not counting what was back in the hotel room, nor the equipment I had set up outside that I was using to paint with at the time that this was taken- here is (no kidding!) a photo of the "stuff:  in my van -that the Gadsden Times took while I was painting nearby at the Southeastern Plein Invitational this spring:

I finally wrote my own travel art supply list as a Word document, and put it in my computer a few years ago. I added to it as I thought of things/ or added to it after trips as needed. I have a "general travel list" and an "art trip" pack list. I'm a simple person and this list is simple. I have it all at the end of this blog.

Then coincidentally, tonight I was listening to an archived e-radio broadcast on Artist Mentors Online - a very good blog by Kevin McPhereson that my friend Judy Crow of Texas told me about today- (THANKS, JUDY!) Joanna Arnette was on a broadcast with Kevin giving tips about "traveling light".These two travel abroad and are all plein air painters. Her tips:

  • Take tubes of paint until they are half full (or empty!) saved from previous trips. She takes them when she wants to go ultra light. Like up a hill walking. 
  • A Benroe tripod (only 1.6 lbs!)
  • Rolling backpacks. I like the half-full tube idea- but I dislike rolling backpacks since they are heavier when you DO carry them. That's something to think about. 
  • She also takes her canvas affixed to multi-media boards. She said when you put 32 together that it only amounts to only a one inch stack! She sometimes affixes these to stiffer boards/panels with clips if she wants them stiffer.
  • Another helpful thing she said is this: Watch how many brushes you use. Usually it's only 3-4. How true! I usually pack dozens and only use three! 

So this blog topic about traveling had to be destiny: Just last night I had been looking at josephineandlaurentina.website where an acquaintance's daughter -a local Mississippian- is the model who is the "face" of that clothing line. Somehow while getting all dreamy about this amazing Kennedyesque lifestyle of living  in the Hamptons and traveling to Rome, etc (dreaming) I ended up on a website called what2wear.com where I saw a travel list [just for women] of toiletries that was quite good. Most of this list is supplies that some may need.  I found it interesting, and you may like it too and find it helpful. Usually, though I don't list toiletries on my permanent list. Here's what I do: As I shower/dress to go on a trip instead of putting it back as I use things, I just toss it into my large overnight makeup bag! I then just grab some painting clothes together and go! Very un- Kennedy -like!
So her's my own
Workshop Checklist :   

 View Finder
Solvent in brush washer
Wet canvas carrier
Paper towels
Drinking water
Bug spray
Compact mirror
Trash bags
Art Notebook
Folding dolly
Business cards

Laptop with plug-in
Camera /charger/ extra batteries
Dot’s pillow
Medicines/ Rx Plus other and vitamins
Phone chargers
Dot’s cell

Things I've forgotten to bring on trips include brush washer, tripod, easel & even canvas!!! 

Honestly I believe that the best tip for artists about lists is to make your own list and put it on the computer. It saves time and headache. 

By the way: I think that there is NO SUCH THING as a "light" art trip!

Do you have good tips for domestic travel that you don't mind sharing? If so, I'd like to hear them! Please email them to me at artist@dotcourson.com or share them here in comments! 
Artist at Work! 


  1. What a great post, Dot! Lots of great ideas and info... :)

  2. Teresa- Thanks for your feedback! Glad you found it helpful. - Dot

  3. I've seen the back of your van on an art trip. Trust me, folks, that photo is not staged. And Dot, thanks for carrying mosquito repellant!

  4. Ralph- You sure have, Ralph! (BTW- That was such a treat to get to paint with you, my friend!) My backpack has some Avon sunscreen mixed with bug repellent...lightweight and "2-products-in-one"! But you got the "more manly" product, the "OFF:Deep Wood Spray" out of the bag o'stuff from the van.