New article Update – Painting on location sharpens your observation skills and speeds up your painting process. Here are some tips to get more out of this enjoyable pursuit.

Painting On Location


Traveling and painting on location requires a trimmed down, portable collection of paint, brushes and accessories. Everything, including a small folding stool, should be easily carried in a small backpack.

For International workshops we will be walking into and out of many of the painting spots so here is a list of all the necessary equipment. You may want to add a few things to this list, but the important thing to remember is that you have to be able to easily carry everything, so don’t pack too much!
  • French Ultramarine Blue
  • Phthalo Blue ( Green shade if available, or Winsor or Prussian if no Phthalo)
  • Permanent Alizarin Crimson (or Art Spectrum Permanent Crimson)
  • Quinacridone Gold (or Indian Yellow )
  • Burnt Sienna (Used Occasionally)
  • Indigo (Used Occasionally)
  • I also carry Permanent Rose, Cobalt and Aureolin – but you can get by without them.
  • White Gouache
  • Small container of Gesso
  • I also throw in a couple of tubes of acrylic paint Medium Magenta is my favorite at the moment.
Burnt Sienna pigment ink (Art Spectrum) Screw cap on tight and seal in zip lock plastic bag.
Plain dip in pen and nib

The plug in the top of the Art Spectrum in bottles acts as a seal so don’t throw it away. Cutting a larger hole in the top of the plug with a sharp knife, allows you to dip your pen in without removing the plug, while retaining the seal. Avoid travelling with the eye dropper type ink bottles – they always leak.
  • 1 inch flat Taklon
  • 1/4 inch flat Taklon
  • 1/8 inch flat Taklon
  • #1 or #2 Taklon liner Neef are a good brand of taklon brush
  • An old 1/2” bristle house painting brush. (I will bring these for you as they are difficult to find)
  • 2” or 3” Hake brush or wide soft goat hair brush

Handy for adjusting the amount of water in your brush.
Small enamel or plastic folding palette
A couple of  Schwan Stabillo or Conte, pastel pencils
A black and a white charcoal pencil.
A couple of inktense pencils
…and a craft knife to keep them sharp

Small atomizer type sprays are best for traveling. If you can’t find one of these, cut down the tube on a normal spray bottle to screw onto a smaller container. This one is screwed on to an old ink bottle.

I prefer Arches Watercolor blocks  300gsm (140lb) 26x36cm (approx.10″  x 14″) or I carry sheets of arches paper cut into quarters and tape them onto a core flute backing board with masking tape as I paint on them. For two weeks I carry around 25 quarter sheets. Coreflute is the double walled plastic real estate signs are printed on. It is available from large hardware shops or sign writers will often have off cuts. It is easily cut to size with a Stanley knife and weighs next to nothing.
Some people are happy to sit on the ground and paint, some are more comfortable sitting on a seat. The most stable small stool for its size is the type shown here. There is a smaller three leg stool with a triangular seat available, but they are not very stable.


Masking Tape
Plastic cup for water
Painting Water Bottle (easily acquired at your destination)
PVA Glue or Acrylic matt varnish (small container)
Small sketch pad
Sunscreen and hat
I normally work sitting down with my painting flat on the ground, but for demonstrations I stand and use a light weight easel. I much prefer to work flat, but using an easel gives everyone a clear view. This easel packs into my backpack in place of a stool. It is a simple device cobbled together from a couple of sheets of lightweight ply, some aluminium right angle, corrugated plastic pipe and a small Manfrotto photographic tripod. Hanging my backpack from the center of the tripod keeps everything stable in windy conditions. If you do decide to bring an easel, make sure it is small and light weight, and you can easily carry it with the rest of your gear. Remember though, watercolor behaves better when painting flat!