2 weeks is a long time, so we each brought our favorite pastimes…my paints and his guitar. We created our own little art colony!
I put into practice the things I learned about travel and plein air painting, packing carefully and as lightly as possible. I tried to limit my palette; which means bringing as few tubes of paint as possible, but still ended up packing 10 tubes. I'm so impressed by those artists who get by with 4 or 5 colors. Each tube ended up in it's own snack sized ziplock, labeled "artist color" because, apparently. the TSA gets all edgy with the word "paint"…I learned this on an art forum. Also, to include the flammability (which is zero) of each brand and a note that artist colors are vegetable oil based. I don't think my suitcase got inspected, but I was sure ready if it did!
So I packed: tripod, pochade box (french for the thing I stick on top of tripod that holds my canvas and palette), paints…I mean, artist colors!…canvas panels to paint on, brushes, plexiglass palette, metal turp container, and a few miscellaneous items. Since it's an international flight, we could check 2 bags free so were able to distribute the weight between the bags and still be ok.
The only thing I couldn't bring along was odorless solvent…needed to thin the first layer of paint. There must be a way around needing it, but after much internet searching for alternatives, I gave up and emailed an American artist living in Mazatlan for the location of artist supplies. No problemo…she sent me the address and we went shopping a day after arrival for a tiny bottle of artist solvent. (Oh yeah, that was the day they nabbed the Drug King…a few blocks from the art supply store)
I was a little nervous about setting up and painting around other vacationers so I took the easy way out and started my painting in the privacy of our condo using photos taken with my iPad. I figured if I could get a good start then I wouldn't feel like such a dork about people watching me. That actually worked well since painting from life requires quick decisions on color, value, drawing etc…that darn sun moves so fast, changing everything! I took my show on the road with a partial painting the next day at the same time so the shadows were in the same spots. And people were impressed! 2 people. The rest just walked by, avoiding eye contact. Ha! I tried to not take it personally.