Wednesday, January 08, 2014


Here’s how to make a PAINT BOX that fits in your pocket.

Many artists are timid about painting in public. And this is the perfect solution.

You may recall that I recently encouraged artists to take their paints outside and work directly from nature. I even showed a do-it-yourself “easel” that anyone can make from a pizza box or something similar, so you can try your hand at plein air painting with no investment in special equipment. If you missed that article, scroll back to my blog post from January 1.

But the paint box shown here is one I call my “pocket pochade.” It’s a small (but complete) paint box that literally fits in your pocket. And best of all, it costs next to nothing.

I used it to create the 4x6-inch painting shown here. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to paint without drawing attention to themselves as they paint.

This paint box measures about 3x5 inches, small enough to carry in a pocket. It’s a small clamshell storage box made of plastic. The base of the box holds wet paint, and I use the inside of the lid for my mixing area. I simply wipe the inside of the lid with a tissue when I’m done.

It’s easy to make one of your own. You’ll find boxes like this in pharmacies where they carry pill cases, and in craft stores or office supply stores. Any similar container will do, as long as it closes well.

Here’s a good tip: I like to line the base of the box with a piece of disposable palette paper (or plastic-coated freezer paper) before squeezing out my paints. It simplifies things when I need to refresh the paint supply.

You can keep paints fresh between uses by smearing a couple of drops of clove oil around the insides of the box. A tiny dab is all you need. The fumes prevent the paint from drying out at the normal rate.

Another way to extend the life of oil paints on your palette is to put the palette in the freezer between painting sessions. Oils dry by oxidation and freezing slows or prevents oxidation.

A couple of small brushes were all I needed to capture this colorful memory on canvas. When I finished, I wrapped the brushes in a tissue until I had the opportunity to properly clean them.

I also prepare sheets of wax paper cut to the same size as the canvas panels. I lay a sheet over the face of the finished painting to protect it until I get home. This way I’m able to carry several wet panels face-to-face without any mess or damage to them.

If you’re too timid to set up a full sized easel in public, I hope you’ll give this a try. It’s a perfect way to get out and paint from nature without attracting attention.

If you’re enjoying these tips, keep an eye on my blog for more tips. Including instructions on how to make handy studio equipment for pennies.

I’ll also have valuable tips for collectors, to help them choose art that will stand the test of time.



Thanks for looking and HAPPY PAINTING!
Tom Brown


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