The flying artist

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Dear Artist,

This morning Dianna Burns of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, asked about taking oil painting equipment and canvas overseas for an extensive trip. “While I’m used to dragging my oils around the country,” she says, “I’m not so sure what to drag out of the country.” Dianna paints large — all above 16 x 20 inches. She wanted to know about tacking canvas over plywood, rolling up for shipment back, and proper stretching later on. Oil is her game  –she’s not about to do watercolours or acrylics.

Thanks, Dianna. Heading overseas is not like throwing everything in the old SUV. You have to think things out and pack carefully. Also, with the current terrorist paranoia, you have to make sure things don’t get turned around at airports — both coming and going. If you must have favourite pigments or palette knives with you, don’t take them as carry-ons. Pack them deep inside your checked suitcase. Buy bottles of oil and volatile spirits there. Never take spray cans on planes. Here are a few ideas:

You don’t really have to take a lot of stuff. Art materials are excellent on both sides of the puddle. There’s actually a benefit of buying there: While you may miss your comfort zone, you’ll be using stuff that may be slightly different than what you’re used to. This never hurts anyone. For those of us with practical interests in standard size pre-stretched canvases, you’ll find the Continental inches-metric difference. Tacking canvas over plywood just doesn’t cut it for those who cherish the “spring.” A sweet solution is to take along a few favourite stretcher bars — or buy them in England, if you happen to go there. You can get yourself a staple gun (with short staples) and stretch and pull off as you go.

A total of eight stretcher bars of four lengths bundle up nicely and can be used to make six different sizes. Consider a pair each of 16 inches, 20 inches, 24 inches and 36 inches. I recommend sauntering into a Paris or a Prague supplier and asking politely for a fresh roll of Belgian linen. Check the priming for cracks. Rolled too long, priming can have cracks. You’ll just love the fresh stuff.

When packing to come home, roll your canvases with the paint side outward, interleaved with blank newsprint. Don’t sign your work. Your own unfinished art is never dutiable. Give your leftover paints away. Abandon your staple gun.

Best regards,

Robert

PS: “My favorite thing is to go where I’ve never been.” (Diane Arbus)

Esoterica: “One’s destination is never a place,” said Henry Miller, “but rather a new way of looking at things.” Mixing the familiar with the strange, foreign art-material stores are great places to start. Many of them can be found close to famous art schools. By the way, buy a giant, long-handle Hog’s Hair and a Rubens’ palette while you’re at it. Be prepared, and be prepared to stretch (no pun intended). Abroad, don’t push yourself. Most of us find new and enriched environments daunting and difficult to exploit every day. Undisciplined wandering is part of the travel game. “Not all who wander are lost.” (J.R.R. Tolkien)

 

Mounting canvas onto boards
by Bertram Lewis, NY, USA

 

When I travel, I often paint (in oil) on canvas sheets that come in pads, which I tape to foam core. It’s not quite the same as painting on stretched canvas but it is more resilient than painting against a hard surface like Masonite. When I return, I like to do my own framing. I’ve been experimenting with affixing the paintings to masonite or stretched canvas. I’ve been using PVA size as the adhesive. Any other suggestions?

(RG note) Thanks, Bertram. Excellent prepared mounting boards, both plain and cradled, in all sizes in plywood hardwood and composition can be had from ArtBoards of Brooklyn, New York. I like the ones prepared with heat-sensitive archival glue that can be warmed up in an ordinary kitchen oven and the canvas or other support laid down with a brayer. The process is eternally reversible by reheating.

 

Painting on Mylar
by Tom Bruce, Taos, NM, USA

 

I might suggest that instead of taking canvas, stretching, et al, that you take sheets of Mylar frosted on both sides. It makes an excellent and durable painting surface that can be quickly taped to a slightly larger masonite board. The finished painting can also be shipped back with minimal protection.

(RG note) Thanks, Tom. Unless you really love working on that surface, I wouldn’t recommend painting on Mylar. Many synthetic supports “release” traditional media after time. I don’t believe in giving unnecessary employment to conservators of the future. Traditional supports make for long term happiness.

 

Limitations challenge creativity
by Dena Crain, Kenya

 

Heart's Aflutter detail original quilt, 24 x 28 inches by Dena Crain

“Heart’s Aflutter detail”
original quilt, 24 x 28 inches
by Dena Crain

Look on the Internet before you go so that when you arrive you can go straight to the supplier and make purchases without wasting time. Do purchase whatever you can in the new location. It’s good for local business, and it ensures that you will have what you need while you’re there. And it allows you to pack light! Carry with you only those tools and supplies that are your very favorites (irreplaceable in another venue) and those which are completely unattainable there. Carry brushes in carry-on baggage, in case your stored baggage gets lost – a much more common occurrence these days than is commonly appreciated. Palette knives, of course, go into checked baggage. Also, be prepared to do without some non-essential supplies. You CAN work with a limited selection of supplies, and that will challenge you to be more creative in your approach.

 

Nasty duties in France
by Ellie Clemens, France

 

Fields of Colza oil painting, 34 x 24.5 inches by Ellie Clemens

“Fields of Colza”
oil painting, 34 x 24.5 inches
by Ellie Clemens

I notice that you suggest interleaving blank newsprint with rolled paintings. Good luck on finding such a thing in Europe. I’ve been living in France for 4 years and have yet to find a supplier, local or mail order, French, German, English, or Belgian, that has newsprint. Also, in case someone reading this decides to send their art supplies to France by mail let me say “Don’t! Although they seem to be applied randomly and irrationally, French customs charges on artwork and art supplies are horrendous. An artist visiting a friend here recently sent her pochade box — not new, one she had used for years — and paid 90 euros import duties! When I moved to here I had one unframed watercolor sent to me and paid over a hundred euros in import duties. (Also paid over 50 euros for a box containing a pillow and a hammer but that’s another story!)

 

Chroma Archival Oils for travel
by Robert Bissett, Naples, ID, USA

 

Wood Storks - Costa Rica original painting, 8 x 10 inches by Robert Bissett

“Wood Storks – Costa Rica”
original painting, 8 x 10 inches
by Robert Bissett

On a recent trip to Costa Rica, after much research, I decided to take Chroma Archival oils, Lean medium and Smooth Gel medium, and their Solvent. The reason I settled on this brand… it will dry overnight when mixed with the media and the flash point for all, including the solvent, is high enough the airlines and TSA will permit it onboard. I packed with the MSDS for each product. I’ve also traveled with water soluble oils, but they take days to dry.

 

 

Gamblin oils for travel
by Sheila Psaledas, ME, USA

 

Reflections at the point pastel painting, 19 x 33 inches by Sheila Psaledas

“Reflections at the point”
pastel painting, 19 x 33 inches
by Sheila Psaledas

I traveled to Tuscany this summer for a painting vacation. I “settled” for using only travel safe mediums made from vegetable oil and nonflammable solvents. Instead of my usual canvas I packed small canvas panels that were lightweight. I also called the airline and asked them if these products were ok to travel with. I went online and printed out a manufacturer’s statement about the travel safety of these items. On the day before leaving, I packed my art materials and my pochade easel in one suitcase and my smaller suitcase of clothes and other necessities. I had these put through to go into the belly of the plane. I only carried on a backpack of a few more personal essentials with a sketching journal. The last thing I wanted was to have to lug a heavy suitcase full of art materials when I needed to change planes. Everything arrived safely. I painted smaller works and when it was time to return everything went back into the art suitcase. Returning home I examined my work and found some that I wanted to frame right way and some that I wanted to develop into larger pieces. All in all, it was a good experience and I’ll do it again the same way! Incidentally, I used Gamblin oils. They can be found online complete with nature friendly solvents and mediums, and a safety Flashpoint statement from the manufacturer that I printed out and placed right on top of my art supplies, in case the suitcase were opened in passage. I also carried a copy of the statement, again, just in case.

 

Thumbtack the canvas down
by Maria Mask, Ottawa, ON, Canada

 

Land's edge oil painting, 20 x 24 inches by Maria Mask

“Land’s edge”
oil painting, 20 x 24 inches
by Maria Mask

When I travel I use thumbtacks to fasten my canvas onto the stretcher bars. They are easy to fasten and remove and save the bother of a staple gun and staples. Even at home I use tacks when doing studies as I won’t pretend everything will turn out and this is much simpler than removing a stapled-on canvas and allows me to re-use the stretcher bars when something needs to be discarded.

 

 

 

Multimedia Artboard
by Helen Opie, Granville Ferry, NS, Canada

 

Bog Pond oil painting, 12 x 12 inches by Helen Opie

“Bog Pond”
oil painting, 12 x 12 inches
by Helen Opie

How about forget the staple gun and stretch (more loosely) with thumbtacks or push pins? I take oil sticks: no solvent, no leakage; they don’t alarm baggage-checkers. One can always paint over for more detail or colour back home. I like to use Multimedia Artboard
(formerly non-buckling painting board) available from Dick Blick and others, sandwiched between two pieces of foam core, as it is really brittle. I mount it when I get home, and don’t tend to work large when away… but I would if I were staying for months, not days. It is so thin about 4 or 6 of them = 1/8 inch. It comes in sizes up to 30″x 40″ bigger than you probably need. It will not bend!!

 

Packing and shipping
by Lois Jackson, Corinth, VT, USA

 

Flowers original illustration by Lois Jackson

“Flowers”
original illustration
by Lois Jackson

Flying out of Canada may be a bit different from flying from the US. On a recent sojourn to take some courses in London, I carefully boxed my necessary art supplies (padded by a few extra clothes) and shipped them to myself about 3 weeks before my trip was due to commence. I packed my brushes in my carry-on, which was my only luggage. I had paid the USPS $40 extra to ensure shipping by air, but the postal clerk had not followed the correct procedures for air shipment, so my package of palettes, paints and other necessary equipment went by slow boat and never caught up with me. It was a salutary lesson in how little I can actually get away with when I go abroad to paint. I remembered that most of the paint and pigment manufacturers are European, and that I was ‘carrying coals to Newcastle.’ The same goes for papers. In London, I found Green & Stone, Daler, Rowney and other fabulous art supply shops, as well as some specialty paper stores where I found wonderful stuff that never makes it to the US. Never pack your brushes to ship (nor I would say even in checked baggage) and don’t cart all of your brushes around with you. Select a few and leave the rest at home. Now, even when I fly within the US, I take a lot less with me. On occasion, it pays to step out of the comfort zone of taking it all along. Part of the adventure of travel is what you find at your destination.

 

Method of dealing with metric
by Pixie Glore, Spain

 

Pixie camping

Pixie camping

I’m an ex-pat (USA) living in Spain. I spent a whole year painting in Provence, France three years ago and then again in the fall of 2006. I buy my stretcher bars in Europe in two sizes which suit me and correspond closely to US standard sizes. You can bring your paints in your checked luggage, but no solvents. Sometimes the art supply stores are small and don’t carry much, so it’s important to bring your favorite indispensable colors. In a bigger city you can find some really fun colors. It’s a lot cheaper to buy paints in the States right now with the dollar hovering around $l.40 to the Euro. Europe has lots of good quality canvas both primed and un-primed; I prefer the primed while on the road. I always bring my prized sable brushes in my carry on luggage. Be sure to mark at least where the corners of the stretcher bars are on the back with a marker for easy re-stretching. When you get back you can order stretcher bars for all your canvases from Upper Canada Stretchers in metric sizes. I like to stay in camp grounds in the summer and hang my canvases on a clothes line to dry. You can rent small cabins in almost all the camp grounds for much less than staying in a hotel and you have a rare commodity in Europe–space. The camp grounds are close to all the popular places and are very secure with shuttles or busses available to the attractions. They’re also not so picky about the mess you make. I roll my canvases for the return trip and put them in the bottom of my suitcase. For bigger canvases, I buy an “equipment” duffel of some sort. I also don’t sign until I get home just in-case.

(RG note) Thank, Pixie. In former times I rigged a drying line from the Volkswagen bus to a tree. In a dusty campground in Greece my oils were hung inside the VW and we slept outside in the dust. That was during the oil age.

 

The pain of oils
by Paula Walden, Anguilla

 

One Mile Beach original painting by Paula Walden

“One Mile Beach”
original painting by Paula Walden

I have painted in Italy, France and England with oils and now am in Hawaii and using acrylics. Painting with oils is a pain. I have tried water-based oil but still a problem with drying. I have had so many problems storing, traveling with and shipping my oils. One time painting on the beach on the Amalfi coast a bus load of tourists stopped and several people loved my paintings and would have bought but the paintings were wet! You can buy exquisite oil paints and brushes in Europe for much less than in North America so don’t take paint with you. Linen is also much better in Europe. So this trip I took acrylics, some medium to keep it wet a bit longer and I having a most interesting time learning a new medium. Not that much different and I have dry finished paintings to roll up or sell. I buy a cork tack board, take along my portable easel and some tacks, but then I don’t mind the solid surface and I paint 11″x 14″ more or less. Cork boards cost about $4 so not a big expense. When I get home and want to repaint some of them into oils I will do that in my studio. If you use the disposable paper palettes they are hard to find in Europe so take one with you. The stretcher bars is also a good idea.

 

One with the locals
by Ellie Harold, Norcross, GA, USA

 

Ellie Cornwall country side

Ellie
Cornwall country side

As an American abroad, I’ve always enjoyed visiting my husband’s childhood haunts in a seaside village on the Cornwall coast. When I started painting, however, our visits to Boscastle took on a new dimension. The villagers would stop by to check on my progress and freely shared their opinions as to whether I’d captured the scene to their liking. I no longer felt like a tourist but part of the scene itself, so much so that, believing I belonged there, many tourists stopped to snap my photo. I like the experience of living in a place for as long as I’m there, and that means not intending to exploit the environment, but to somehow become a part of it. This is often a challenge to do this in the face of time limitations and the greedy self that wants to take all those gorgeous vistas home with me.

 

Hot climate travel
by Margie Guyot, Farmington, MI, USA

 

Mr. Zippy oil painting on canvas, 9 x 12 inches by Margie Guyot

“Mr. Zippy”
oil painting on canvas, 9 x 12 inches
by Margie Guyot

If you’re traveling in Mexico, Central or South America, be aware that it is next to impossible to buy turpentine! If you’re lucky, you might find an art store in a large city. I recommend switching to water-soluble oils when traveling to these areas. As for painting surfaces, I cut pieces of primed canvas and bring along several pieces of foamcore or thin Gatorboard, plus a roll of masking tape. Just tape the canvas to the board. When dry, pull off and tape a new, blank canvas to the board. You can get quite a number of paintings stacked up in a small space this way. It works especially well if you are painting with alkyds, which dry relatively quickly. Another tip: use alkyd white instead of regular white. It works well with “regular” oil paints and dries a lot faster. Painting rather thinly helps, too. Don’t think you can wrap a wet oil painting in Glad Wrap and expect it to look good when you arrive home! I always check my oil paint colors in my baggage, not my carry-on. If you’re using a small paint box (such as the Open-M), wrap it in towels or sweaters. I’ve had damage happen even inside my checked luggage. And don’t forget your hat!

 

Homeland Security Act
by Donna Marshall, Belize, Central America

 

Here in Belize there are no proper art supply stores. Since the Homeland Security Act it is against the law to mail or transport on planes (even in checked luggage) any oil based paints. So I cannot have my sister mail me oils nor bring them back here from a visit to the States on the plane. The only way is to buy them here or transport them by ground transport. I have had some watercolors sent to me — thank goodness. But I have had to curtail my desire to get back into oil paints because of this idiocy! It is not practical to buy a whole set of oil paints at your destination and then what when you return home.

 

Research gave best approach
by James LeClare, Powell River, BC, Canada

 

As I have been traveling in Canada, Germany, Italy, France, Thailand and Singapore I gathered information on travel restrictions from each of these countries. After exhaustive research I found that the best approach was to take my pigments, brushes and knives with me and purchase everything else there. I did however pack 3 12×16-inch boards with me to ensure a start. I was advised by several airlines that the transportation of the pigments was not a problem so long as you call them “Artist Colours” if queried and yes, of course nothing in carry-on. I found it quite easy to purchase supplies in Europe and was delighted at the range of selection. I mailed home my works which proved effective although a little pricey as I left all the canvases intact. I decided that I would also use a little cobalt driers in my medium to aid the drying process and add some peace of mind in regards to smearing etc.

 

 

World of Art Featured artist Bob McMurray, Vancouver, BC, Canada  

'It's a Good Year by Bob McMurray, Vancouver, BC, Canada

It’s a Good Year

oil on canvas by artist
Bob McMurray, Vancouver, BC, Canada

 

You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2013.

That includes James Rizzo of Millington, NJ, USA who wrote, “Rather than newsprint to interleave, I would suggest wax paper.”

And also Gordon France of La Grange, IL, USA who wrote, “As an alternative to loose canvas, consider thin, lightweight canvas panels.”

And also Louise Bunn of Canada who wrote, “When in London, one must visit Cornellison’s. It is a wonderful art materials shop that looks like an antique apothecary. It’s not far from the British Museum.”

And also Angela Treat Lyon of Kailua, HI, USA who wrote, “You can get awesome oil paints in Italy – don’t even think about taking any there!”

And also Dr P.V. Ramachandran of Kozhikode, India who wrote, “Having been one of your readers for the last 3 years, I am sending you and your dear ones an invitation to my daughter’s wedding in Ashirwad Lawns, Eranhipalam, Kozhikode on Sunday, 18th November, 2007.”

(RG note) Thanks, P.V. Thanks so much. 280,000 subscribers will be there, but many cannot make it and send their regrets. We all sincerely wish Pryiamvada and Jose the greatest of happiness.

 

 

Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for The flying artist

 

 

From: Liz Reday — Nov 12, 2007

I’ve been taking my oil paints and easel out of the U.S. for some years now, and although I can’t smuggle paint thinner in carry-on anymore (darn!) I have never had any difficulty with simply packing my oils tubes in with my clothes in a suitcase. No thinner until I get there, and yes, it’s hard to find turps in Mexico. I usually buy lots of the pre-primed canvas boards, but often I give them more primer or add texture or tone them before packing them into Ray-Mar’s lovely boxes with slots for each board. I use the 8″X10″ size boards and box that will hold 8 of them, and the same with the 9″X12″ boards. I used to use alkyds, but I simply don’t like them as much as regular oils, though they do dry quickly. I tried acrylics on the road and really didn’t enjoy them, although I use them in the studio on paper at times, working big. I’m thinking of travelling to places not in Europe now, places like India and Thailand, does anyone have experience in those countries? I’m so used to painting while I travel now that when I go on quick business trips without my paints I feel something is missing even though I immerse myself in museums instead.

From: Laurel Johnson, Tsawwassen, B.C. — Nov 13, 2007

I’m travelling to Guatamala to paint in January. I am undecided as to what medium to take — acrylic or watercolor. Does anyone have any comments on the art scene there? email me at: lartiste@telus.net Thanks

From: Ujwala — Nov 13, 2007

Hi Liz, In India, you’ll find art supplies in most cities and towns but not everyone knows about their location. I could give you the addresses for shops in Delhi and Kolkata. And you’ll find supplies there but they may not have a wide range of non-local brands and even if available they’ll be expensive as they are imported. An easy way to find your way to the best art shops, I guess, would be to give the local art college office a call. All the best with your trip!

From: Scharolette Chappell — Nov 13, 2007

Yes! Thanks for the mention of supports. A few years back I learned the hard way. Canvas is canvas. I was trying to find something to paint on that was more cost affective, I was told Tyvek was archival, so I went to Home Depot and found a huge 9ft x 200ft roll of the stuff. It was great! Like working on silk, perhaps thinner and as strong. I rolled it out across the floor, into 9ft x 7ft pieces, all different sizes and came up with a series of works that really blew your socks off. I loved the fact of hanging the pieces on a cleat of wood at the top and the painting would hang free, all related, free flow of paint, the idea of tyvek that is an insulation for homes, all these ideas were terrific. Then came the shows, great, I could roll them up, easily travel, unroll and hang. NOT SO, THE PAINT BEGAN TO CHIP OFF SOME OF MY PIECES, yikes! Then a snow storm hit at the moment of taking down a show and the freezing temps had such an effect on the tyvek and paint I had so much damage to repair, I was devastated. The only way to save the lot was to attach the pieces to solid wood or masonite, etc. and repaint areas, all this defeated the purpose to begin with and the 9ft x 7ft would be impossible to travel with any ease. I still have my pieces, some are hanging freely, with curling and ripples, Thank God the one that sold was on a board already. I think owners would complain if all this happened after they purchased it! Apparently there is an archival tyvek but it is much more expensive and you have to buy a 1000 ft roll at a time – now where to put a six ft high roll of this stuff? Need a fork lift to deal with it!! Learning the hard way! loveyaschar

From: Kathryn Wiley — Nov 13, 2007

Over $150 worth of alkyds were taken from my checked luggage by the Transportation Security Authority on a trip from the US to France, so probably not a good idea to count on alkyds any more for travel. They were wonderful before because of fast drying.

From: Diane — Nov 13, 2007

Hi Liz, If you’re traveling to Italy, I lived there for 14 years and only recently returned to Canada. I can give you the names of some of the more well known art stores where you can get almost everything for oils except citrus thinner – it hasn’t made it there (as of this past June). Have fun wherever you’re going… I envy you!!!

From: Susan McDougall — Nov 13, 2007

I have not yet painted overseas, but for those who do, it might be a good idea to start collecting names and addresses of art supplies shops abroad and publishing them somewhere on this site. It would certainly be helpful to those looking for specific items.

From: Esther J. Williams — Nov 13, 2007

I went to Puerto Vallarta in October this year and took a pochade box slotted for 8 canvas panels of 6X8, a painters box slotted for 3 canvas panels of 16X12 and brought all Gamblin Artist Oils with a separate bottle of linseed oil. I also brought the material data safety sheets printed from Gamblin’s website in the artist box that held the paints. I had all of my favorite brushes packed and a few palette knifes too. I carefully placed each tube of oil in a pint-sized Ziplock baggie to insure that they didn’t leak all over everything. I heard a horror story of an art instructor who bought large tubes of every color and customs opened each one and didn’t screw the caps back on in Italy. The paint went all over the place and she used baggies ever since. It’s a pain to wrap each one, but I did it. I brought a rather limited palette too as suggested by master artist Kevin MacPherson in his books on oil painting. It worked out great, the Mexican customs ignored all of my artist supplies. I’ve had much more thorough checks made on my artist suitcase in the state of California where I live. TSA always inspects my bags and leaves their calling card. I fly up to the wine country each year from So California. Now I place a personal note in large letters that I am an artist and these are artist oils made with vegetable oil. I also say please do not throw these away, I really need them to paint on location or something to that effect. I have been fortunate everytime. In Mexico, when you visit Puerto Vallarta, there is a nice little art supply store downtown where the mineral spirits are much cheaper than in the States. I was so tickled with the prices that I bought a few more things. Plus visiting downtown was a delight in culinary tastes. We took either a taxi or bus into town from our resort for $5.00 or 50 pesos which is 50 cents for the bus. I painted on those lightweight canvas over 6X8 cardboard panels and didn’t care about the fact that they cost $1.35 each. I wasn’t going to paint a Monet, I wanted to do work studies with lots of photo references and pencil drawings. When I got antsy, I switched to the 16X12 to do a little more serious piece. I didn’t finish it because the snorkeling in the bay was so much more fun in that hot humid weather or it was Margarita hour. At least I brought back the taste of the Mexico coast with me and have much memories of a beautiful place. I now can plan a larger studio piece someday or wait until I go back there again and do it all again. The colorful fish would be nice to paint if I could do that underwater as I could be snorkeling all day. I just might buy a waterproof camera!

From: Dennis — Nov 13, 2007

I have read that it makes sense that if you are going to take a workshop send your supplies ahead of you. Lois did that but unfortunately USPS clerk messed up. I do not know the difficulty involved if you are overseas in sending materials back home but here in the US I would find a local UPS store and have them ship it home. As for the artwork I would want my sketchbooks and paintings with me so I could start working from them asap. Unfortunately the airlines keep losing luggage so perhaps it is best to work on a smaller scale and take them on board with you. Driving across the country would eliminate some problems but create others. I was surprised that no one posted any comments about pastels either oil or chalk. Helen mentioned oil paint sticks which I think are an excellent idea. Perhaps a tube of oil painting gel medium and some palette knives would be sufficient. It seems that from reading the responses it may not be a great idea to take along your favorite supplies. Items do vanish into thin air. Since 9/11 the quality of air travel has gone downhill making it more difficult for artists to bring supplies with them. I wonder how many screeners bother to read the Gamblin info that artists such as Sheila packed? Kathryn’s loss of $150.00 worth of alkyds stinks. Hopefully she was able to file a claim for the loss but then again if you complain they would probably arrest you or put you on the no-fly list.

From: Mary Ann Boysen — Nov 13, 2007

I took a group of watercolorists to Provence this past summer. We worked on watercolor canvas (a Fredrix product) and it was as easy as painting with oils. Changes can be made on the canvas easily. Therefore, it could be a substitue for oil painting when going abroad. I packed several small stretcher bars in my luggage and rolled the canvas around a tube. The beauty of the watercolor canvas is that it can even be folded! And even though it must be tacked or stapled down….and without the stretching of the oil type canvas…as it shrinks to a very taut mode when you wet it with water. It is quite indestructible. Also to avoid the overweight situtation, I dry-mounted some of it to Gatorbord® in small standard sizes, and placed all of these items in my checked luggage. I use a rolling dufflebag that has two sections (one on top, the other on the bottom). In the bottom I can store an easel (the tripod kind with telescoping legs) and the attachment for the watercolor board. Also my paint palette, brushes and extra tubes of paint in zip-lock bags clearly marked “Aquarelle” “Watercolor” “Non-flammable. Clothes fit in the top of the bag. Although my bags almost always get opened and checked I have never had any trouble with Security. Everything arrives safely. Watercolor canvas must be sealed with a varnish so that it can be framed without glass..or not even framed at all if it is done on the thicker stretcher bars, creating a gallery-wrap as do many oil painters. In Europe, I cannot find the type of spray I am accustomed to using but in Europe and also South Africa I ran across a liquid watercolor varnish for the first time. It is a chemical (non-water-based) so it does not smear the watercolor. I had been using an acrylic spray, then a gel medium for the final finish. Disliking the spray, I was hoping that I could find a liquid varnish in the States….and I did. It is made by Golden and it has a UV filter in it for protection of the pigments. It needs to be thinned with turpentine (not the low-odor kind), and even though it has an odor, it is not as penetrating and wide-spread as the spray. Living in a very cold winter climate, I will relish the thought of being able to apply this to my paintings this winter with an open window rather than trying to find a day when I can go outside to spray (when it is 5 below 0º!). Watercolorists also have the choice of working on Claybord®, smooth or textured, and this can also be easy packing in a suitcase. The traditional watercolor papers run the risk of getting scratched or bent during the travel process…even when it is packed between foam core or Gatorbord®. Finally someone is thinking of watercolor artists and coming up with alternate products that allow a “new” look to watercolor and a new experience for them.

From: Carol Kerner — Nov 16, 2007

I use freezer paper purchased at the grocery store as interweaving sheets to protect fresh oil paintings. It can also be used for palette paper for oils and acrylics.

From: Ratindra Das — Nov 16, 2007

Things may be OK on the other side of the moat, but not so in some other places. In India. I carry my paint (watercolor), some papers and brushes and a device, I call it easel, that fits in my suitcase. There are some art materials stores in the big cities like Delhi and Kolkata, but you’ll end up spending lot of time in looking for it. Indian-made colors are good, but the selection is limited. Handmade papers are wonderful if you find them. But you have to get the hang of it, because they don’t behave the same way as the European made papers do. I absolutely love the papers ! You may buy brushes in the sidewalk in Kolkata. I found one round brush that has replaced my sable. Last week I was in Singapore and I was told that most materials are available. This being a modern city and small has the advantage. It’s best to ask the students of arts school for any resources.

From: michelle — Nov 16, 2009

South of Spain:

Malga/Almeria anyone know of decent art stores?

Anyone yet travel with golden fluid acrylics in checked baggage?

 

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