Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Travel Planning for Artists

Painting at my first Paint-Out
(I took too much stuff)

     Whatever you do and wherever you go this summer the key phrase is Pack Light. Take only what you actually need; pack only what you will actually wear or use because there are all sorts of problems in store for those who overpack.
     The airlines are charging extra for each suitcase and the limitations on weight are being watched with an eagle eye. But even more importantly, taking too much stuff just in case you need it will weight you down in many ways. You are the one responsible for carrying your suitcase and if you don't find it easy to handle along with your hand luggage/laptop/purse you may be in for an unpleasant surprise when you're asked to haul everything up 2 or 3 sets of stairs, on and off trains, from one terminal to another, or from your car to your second story motel room.
     I took way too many small bags on our recent road trip... a small suitcase, my laptop, purse, camera case, and tote bag of art supplies, plus we had a couple of food bags. All that stuff created unnecessary misery for both of us even when we could back the car up to the motel door. I'll never do that again. If I can't get everything into one suitcase and one tote bag it isn't going. If I need something that I didn't pack I can buy it or get creative with what I have. And I've found that too many articles of clothing usually isn't the problem because I wear the same garments over and over ... it's all the rest of what I take, "just in case", especially art supplies.

     In this month's Daniel Smith newsletter you'll find a useful list of painting supplies for travel.

     Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson wrote several posts about packing her collage supplies in her RV, here, here, and here.

       John Lovett posted his Traveling Art Material List here, here, and here.

     There's a link in my sidebar to an article I once wrote about packing clothing for travel. This may help if choosing a travel wardrobe is an issue.


  1. Thanks for the great tips and links - I too seem to carry too much then dread the hauling! I am going to be a better packer and a lighter traveler through this wonderful wide world..{even though I usually just travel within a state or two..}

  2. Thanks for once again visiting my blog, Coleen, and especially for taking the time to comment. It means a lot to hear from a reader and to know that some of what I say makes a difference. I’m glad you’re joining me in lightening the load. I’ll bet you leave lots of smiles behind when you travel.

  3. great tips on packing light-- once I started traveling on the plane to teach workshops all over the country I also learned some very hard lessons. By the time my husband and I traveled to London and Edinburgh last summer we had learned to pack very light-- to the point that we bought the underwear that you can wash out every night so we only packed a few for a 10 night trip-- funny story-- when I went to Japan last Oct. by accident I packed husband's underwear-- which I had to wear on the whole trip!

  4. Oh my, you have me laughing at that one... having to wear your husband's underwear the whole trip! That broke any remaining barriers that might be between us, Donna, and I just know that when I see you next I'll start laughing on the spot, just imagining what you have on underneath your totally put-together outfit! We take only 3-4 pair no matter how long the trip and wash them out by hand. Liners work great, too.
    Thanks for the belly laugh.

  5. And then there's the Boy Scout method for packing for summer camp that minimized quantities...

  6. Hi Jo! thanks for linking to my blog. I am actually on vacation now and despite my best packing, I forgot my BRUSH! But since artistic ability is hereditary, My Mother-in-Law saved the day with a brush she always travels with!

    Wanted to say that the last time I flew on an airplane with fluid acrylics they leaked, despite my taping the lids and putting them in a big zip plastic bag. It may be better to purchase small containers at your destination. Also, be careful about what you might choose to pack, I have had varnish REMOVED from my luggage because it is flammable, even acrylic varnish. That's an expensive lesson.

  7. I love using a travel case for hanging files. I can organize papers and small boards in the hanging files and there is still room in the bottom for items in zip lock bags. It is clear, so I can see right away if i have everything befor going out the door. There is a picture of the set up on my blog.

  8. Ted sent me the Boy Scout packing list... what a hoot! Since he was too coward to publish it in a comment I will:
    Only 1 set of underwear:
    Day 1: fresh pair
    2: backwards
    3: inside out
    4: inside out and backwards
    5: trade with tent mate

    At least that's what parents thought when doing the wash after they returned.

    Click on Angie Raw's name and see her travel tote. It's a good idea.

    Elizabeth, I haven't traveled with fluid acrylics, only with watercolors, so I appreciate the heads up. I've read of others taking tube acrylics with no problems but the lids on fluids aren't very secure even in the studio. I don't know the solution to this one. Does anyone else have an idea?

  9. Jo, the pressure I think caused the lids to pop off, despite the tape, and then they leaked into the gallon zip lock. Then TSA searched my bags and opened the zip lock and never closed it back up, so the paint got on my clothing. In the future I'd buy the very small bottles, the ones that are less than one ounce, and put them in the quart sized zip lock, take them as a carry on. As for the varnish, leave it at home and varnish your pieces when you get back!!

  10. paint on your clothes! That's awful, but i'm sure there's nothing you can do about it. You know that both rubbing alcohol and Murphy's Oil Soap will remove most acrylic paint from clothes, provided it hasn't been in the dryer, and even then it sometimes will do the job. I soak hardened brushes in MOS overnight and then wash and they usually come out clean and soft again.
    It would probably be best to hand carry your paints since the cabin is pressurized and the hold is not. And yes, wait on varnishing.
    I think it's only you and me on the internet today. Happy Fourth.


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