Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Best En Plein Aire Box?

"The Way Forward. Malibu"
Johanna Spinks
Oil on Linens 4"x10"
Purchase at my online store :click

Painting at Peter Strauss Ranch yesterday with my "secret' box. It magically paints everything for me.

Recently I have been out and about painting a lot of sketches en plein air taking a much needed break from the rigors of portrait deadlines in the studio. More deadlines starting next week so I have made use of the time. It has felt marvelous. It has also felt like the ONLY thing I wanted to do. Nature equals nurture.

I have been around a lot of artists during these recent 'landscapades', and some GREAT ones, many from far afield, including at Jeremy Lipking's February workshop in an assisting role capacity to him. Now there's a guy who can paint landscapes!

There is a ton of  talk about painting boxes. Which is best?  Paint boxes seem more fascinating than how Marilyn Monroe really died or did O.J. do it? Along with a few other of life's great unanswered questions. 

Soltek versus the current hottie Alla Prima? Guerilla Pochade versus Mabef?  And all the other whizz boxes I don't even know the names of and can't spell. Sorry to say, I don't know the best one.  All I do know is these boxes are more expensive than a Mercedes monthly car payment, not that I have one of those. 

I also know expensive boxes won't make you a good landscape painter and they lend somewhat toward personal taste, like shoes.

I also know understanding values, composition, drawing, edges, and color temperature will make you paint well from an old shoe box.  Along with soul. A few creature comforts packed in that box, will also help you stay on location well.  Clothing in layers, hand wipes, trash bags for rags, sunscreen, bug spray, hat, water, cell phone, snacks, and I now keep my car keys on a tie around my neck. Lost keys on location? Big problem. I know to my expense.

So what do I use? I have spent my inheritance on every single thing Guerilla Painters pochade company ever made owning two of its boxes and every super sexy slinky dinky accessory. I was among this company's earliest of fans and sent many people to its' way. I have enjoyed these boxes. I have travelled internationally with them many times but my paintings often looked far from sexy or the way I wanted them to. Nothing to do with Guerilla. 

Now I use a box and set up that works for ME. It is a very personal thing. Only learned perhaps by doing it. These days I  like a very small lightweight compact set up that can be carried/rolled in one trip. NO going back to the car. I don't like to sweat and puff. Best of all, I have no care to defend it to those  art box purists.

My box was made for me by a retired police officer, the lovely Bob W.,  who I first found out about from the stellar artist Morgan Weistling during a workshop I did with Morgan in 2003. Bob was the model. 

Bob is a real craftsman as well as a dedicated artist. He makes art boxes for artists whose work he wants to collect. He and his lovely wife now have  an outstanding HUGE art collection by the way,  worthy of a museum, including, I am honored to say, two of mine.

Bob and I reconnected two years ago when I was lucky enough to assist Morgan Weistling at Weekend With The Masters. I told Bob how much I had wanted one of his boxes for a decade. Soon enough, I was invited to his home having a lovely time with him and his wife.

I can't tell you how much I treasure my box. I use it ALL the time. And I think about Bob, about to turn 80 years-old, each time. I know I will paint on it for the rest of my life. It gives me good vibes and confidence somehow whilst fitting my compact needs.

So that is what I think about art en plein aire boxes. Find what works for you. You will probably spend a bit of money so perhaps try an old shoe box first.

Bob, if you are reading this, I covet  that little attachment. You know the one I mean. Just saying...


Gexton said...

awesome! It's true haven't seen you put much painting up here in a while, but really

painters edmonton

painting contractor edmonton

Portrait Painting By Johanna Spinks said...

Thanks Gexton. There have been LOTS of sketches though. Can't always post the commissioned stuff.