THE MAIN CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE PLEIN AIR EASEL
Before you go out and purchase your easel check that it’s: –
- lightweight and easy to carry; Especially if you plan to paint abroad.
- stable and wind-resistant.
- quick and easy to set up and breakdown.
- has plenty of storage.
- umbrella friendly – to protect you from the sun and rain.
- supplied with carrier straps.
- able to accommodate your chosen canvas/panel.
- pallet is a decent size to suit your needs.
The other option is to make your own easel. Many handy artists have done this and have also developed and marketed their creations to other artists.
ADDITIONAL ITEMS YOU WILL REQUIRE WHEN OUT IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Apart from your Oil Painting Materials you will also need to have appropriate clothing and sunscreen to suit the elements. It can get extremely cold when you are sitting or standing in one spot especially when the wind picks up or the rain starts, and you can fry in a matter of minutes when out in the blistering summer sun.
Other items you will require include:
- a wet panel carry box or system for carrying wet canvases.
- an umbrella and attachment.
- a small fold-up stool with a carrier bag attached.
- a viewfinder.
- rags/kitchen roll.
- double-dippers with lids or leak-proof containers for solvents/mediums.
- a brush case and washer.
- a bag for rubbish.
- drinking water and insect repellent.
If you are not set up right its messy business painting outdoors.
When I first started, I was very badly prepared. I had one of those tear-off paper pallets which kept fluttering in the wind, a small sketch easel that constantly blew over and the canvases I brought with me were not up to the job.
The other factor I had to get used to was people.
You become this curious beast when you are out there with your easel and people will stare and stand behind you. They will interrupt you and comment or advise you on your painting. In Wexford town, a few years back, I had a group of men who set up camp behind me. They drank and commented, while I painted. Then in Hook Head, I had a fellow artist whom I did not know tell me my sea was crap and then when I had it sorted to his liking another artist came along and told me my sky was also crap. Lucky enough, from all my years in construction, I had developed a tough hide and took it all in jest. But be mindful when you do venture out. Especially, if you are a beginner. Do not take any notice of others – this is your day out and journey and the more you venture out the better you will get. Another unfortunate factor to consider is always letting someone know where you intend to paint that day and what time you plan on returning home especially given the recent and extremely sad death of Sarah Everard in the UK.
Annual Events and Plein Air Artists
On a final and lighter note, to get you started on your plein air voyage, you could enrol in the following annual outdoor events which hopefully will be running again this year: –
You can also have a look at https://pleineire.ning.com/ a web site for Plein air artists and check out other Plein air artists such as:-
- Norman Teeling (Irish) he’s published a lovely book “Around the World in 80 Paintings”,
- Hadidee-Jo Summers (ROI) also has a book published “Vibrant Oils” and a demonstration video.
- Peter Brown His Instagram feed is great.
- Jim O’Callaghan While he is a photographer, he has been taking and posting amazing photos of the people of Dublin in lockdown. Orla Ryan of thejournal.ie did a lovely write up on his life. (the oldest street photographer in Dublin on why its never too late to change careers.
Next week we will look at the Canvas.