My personal tools for the “En plein air watercolor painting”
Here I briefly introduce my current watercolor tripod, which is easy to build and transport. I deliberately did without trays and other devices on the watercolor tripod, because they always disturbed me while painting. Therefore, I use a second smaller swiveling with shelves. Thus, I am much more flexible with my color box, water cups and brush holder. My watercolor tripod can also be converted as a table tripod. For this I have developed a special substructure. But I rarely use the table version. I prefer to put my tripods in the room and paint inside and out …
(Picture 1 – Nuremberg 2018 – At the castle: view on the museum – Picture 2: Everything on the way: watercolor easel and working stand with structure – Copyright on all pictures)
This one in the photos is the “fair weather” version. I’ve put together cover options and hangers to weight and stabilize the tripods. This is important in stormy and rainy weather. The workplace tripod for water cup, ink fountain, etc., is rotatable (pivoting is possible here, but probably not useful … (:-)) – The watercolor tripod is in all directions swivel, so that the wet color can run in appropriate directions. The maximum pivoting position for the painting board is perpendicular to the front and almost vertical to the rear, left and right … The special feature of this tripod is the possibility of shifting the center of gravity of the edition. This allows the painting board to be positioned further away or closer to the body. Everything is made of aluminum, can be plugged together and is fixed with thumbscrews. As a maxi version, there are longer and stronger center strips. Currently I have a 6mm thick painting board with the dimensions 80 × 60 cm. The tripod legs must therefore be spread apart to stabilize everything optimally. The important thing is that it works. Anyone who has ever painted watercolors of this size knows how bulky such a large painting board without watercolor easel is.
How is everything stowed and how heavy is the luggage?
Amazingly, I was traveling in Nuremberg with the lightest luggage. The paintings hardly weigh anything and everything else is made of aluminum. I have a big backpack made of tarpaulin, which is also suitable for canoeing, so water protected. – FOLLOW PHOTOS – The two tripods with the small plates and an aluminum seat, fit very well in the backpack.
Slightly bulky is an A3 soft plastic box, in which my watercolor paper and what ever fits, is stowed away. An A4 version includes foldable pallet, water tank, brush box, clamps, etc. See photo above
Here are the A3 boxes – they protect my watercolors, sketchbooks, etc. from filth. Bumps, water. In smaller versions, I stowed my painting utensils safely. As a backup, I use rubber bands. My brushes are much more protected in the box. SEE the top … The flat brush lies on the box. A cloth, which I put in the box, presses the brush when closing on the rubber strips in the box and hold the brush firmly in position. The brush tips do not bump against the box. In the meantime I have removed the rubber strips and it works without it.
All of this has proven to me in practice very well and has been repeatedly revised from painting trip to painting trip. Everything has now been arranged in two main boxes and can quickly pack everything together when a storm comes up. The backpack then weighs about 10kg, even if the paint water is taken. This is already the maximum equipment. It’s actually already a Qutdoor studio, if you really carry everything with you …. The workstation tripod is not needed if you’re only on the road for urban sketching. Since I often sketch while standing, the tripod is always there. I still have a mini version of the edge and center sheets, so I can work here on sketchbook size and do not need the larger sheets.
What do such tripods with a ball head cost? Both together in any case under 100 € with a removable plate and the aluminum self-construction. Depending on how many removable disks you would like for a flash conversion, the price increases by a few euros. Lightning remodeling? Yes, who would like to quickly paint another larger or very small format, can change the structure directly in 10 seconds. But you can also solve the metal strips if the format is too big and replace it with other sizes. The standard version already fits 12 cm to 45 cm formats between the sheet metal angles. Secured with two clamps can also be painted upright in sizes of 70cm x 45 cm. The brackets then keep the painting board from slipping – for the “Plein Air Malen” this standard size is however completely sufficient.
What should one think about when traveling and painting? Here are some useful things
- Plastic bottle with water for watercolor painting – I use the spray bottles – see picture above
- Plastic garbage bags, which can be quickly put over both tripods, when suddenly rain starts. I have bought thick bags of suitable size, but also use these as underlay in rooms.
- In the winter I have a mini gas cooker with me. It has the dimensions of 13 × 20 cm – This also allows the wet watercolor paper to dry well. Of course, with some distance. So you can warm up your fingers again.
- Wool gloves in winter with shortened, open fingers.
- Shoe soles pads for the winter – I do not use whole insoles, but only for foot balls and toes. They will be warm and keep the heat for a few hours. Especially nice if you stand / sit for a long time.
- Hat for the summer. In the heath I have a “Crocodile Dundee” leather hat. For some areas a hat with mosquito net would be useful.
- A seat. Here I have an aluminum tripod seat with extendable feet. This saves space. I use it only in between, because I paint mostly when standing. (Walkstool Comfort 55)
- Glasses / sunglasses
- Photo Camera / Smart Phone
- Trekking Poles (I use Leki)
- First-Aid kit , medicine