Painting on Location

Plein air painting is a challenging yet rewarding pastime that requires a little preparation. The correct equipment for plein air painting, such as pochade boxes and portable easels, will make plein air painting easier and more convenient. Here’s how.

Plein Air Painting in the Landscape

Oil painting in the landscape poses challenges for the artist on making quick choices of colours and application. The resultant painting will often be vibrant and fresh. But painting from life requires a little planning. The following materials will be required before setting off.
 Equipment for Plein Air Painting
  • A large, sturdy backpack
  • A collapsible stool or a foam pad on which to sit
  • The short-handled variety of art brushes. The beginner might like to purchase 2 size 3 round sables for soft brushwork and detail, such as buildings and foliage; and 2 size 6 flat bristle brushes for rough brushwork such as skies and cornfields
  • A disposable palette can be made from clipping a sheet of plastic over a rigid surface. The plastic can then be folded inwards when finished with
  • Art surfaces no larger than 10 x 14in (25.5 x 35.5cm) can be transported easily across the countryside inside a travel box. Sized MDF or hardboard is ideal and is cheap. Stretched canvas is more bulky and therefore awkward to carry
  • A pochade box in which to slot away the oil paintings. Making a home made pochade box is easy
  • Rags.
  • A small bottle of artist’s solvents
  • A rubbish bag
  • Sunblock, sunhat and insect cream might come in handy
  • Not forgetting lunch and a hot flask.




Everything the Artist needs can be found within my shops


UK oil painting art materials

US oil painting art materials

UK oil painting bookshop

US oil painting bookshop


Or browse through my oil painting websites for


Step by step oil painting demonstrations

Oil painting medic

Capacity of Artists' Pochade Boxes
The illustration shows how much can be stored in an average-sized Tupperware box. Several 38 ml (1.25 US fl.oz) tubes of paint take remarkably little room. A pot of spirits and several brushes are also shown. The pigments that will cover most colour mixtures required are:
  • A large tube of titanium white
  • Lemon yellow
  • Cadmium yellow (pale)
  • Cadmium red
  • Permanent rose
  • French ultramarine
  • Pthalo blue
  • Viridian
  • Burnt sienna
  • Burnt umber

Plein Air Painting Equipment

Painting out in the open requires a little preparation to make it a pleasant and hassle-free experience. A remarkable amount of art materials can be stored inside a sturdy backpack. However, weight is the essence and it is important to keep these items to a minimum. This "mobile studio" can be easily stored away when not in use. However, with the artist’s first experience of painting plein air, this pastime might become addictive.

This site comprise of pictures and excerpts taken from my 2 art instruction books. Oil Paintings from Your Garden can be purchased direct from the author, or through Amazon.


My other book, Oil Paintings from the Landscape can be purchased direct from Amazon.


© Rachel Shirley 2010