Saturday, December 31, 2011

Winterizing The Plein Air Gear

We finally have snow,  which means that the winter plein air season can finally start up here. I am getting ready for a trip to Algonquin park for a few days of winter painting soon. So it is time for me to winterize my gear.
Winterizing the pochade is one of the essential rituals of the season. I love working on a glass palette in the summer, but glass is not a good idea in winter at all. Glass and metal are out of my gear in winter. They conduct the cold too readily and when you are out in the snow, that can make your paints harder to work and your painting experience shorter and less enjoyable.
So off comes the glass (notice the nice value setup below the glass. I will miss that), and on comes a fresh piece of plywood.
1 3
Next I season the plywood with oil and later with leftover paints in several layers:
There are times though when painting while standing in the elements is just not possible. Its not really the cold, One can dress up for that. Its the wind or the snow that drives you back. In cases like that, it is a great idea to paint from the comfort of the car. For that I have a simple setup that consists of a steering wheel easel and a passenger seat  tray that holds my open pochade (used as a palette), brushed, tools and of course the turp can.
I actually have a can screwed into the tray and I simply slot my portable turp canister into it (where the coffee cup is now) . It is much safer that way. I don’t get any tipping accidents. Speaking of accidents, this whole setup is placed over a large drop cloth that covers everything from steering wheel to seats. It is too easy to get oil paint on the interior and i just don’t want that.
Here is a quick look at the back of the steering wheel easel. I keep it very simple because I don’t use the setup much, but it works very well and the simple clip on the top is all you need to hold a panel in place while you work on it.


  1. I like the photo of the clips (for the steering wheel). Good idea!

  2. clever!!! I am impressed...have a great new year

  3. Happy New Year Zan,
    Where are you staying in Algonquin?

    Enjoy it.

    FYI I do an oil change for real cold going to Graham paints. Very thin.


  4. Happy New Year Zan,
    Where are you staying in Algonquin?

    FYI, for real cold I often do an oil change to Graham paint. Very thin.



  5. Hi George,

    We are staying at the East Gate. See you sometime this winter at the farm!!

    Let me know when you are going.


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