Painting outdoors without breaking the bank (and my back!)
Join the #1 Art Workshop - LevelUpJoin Premium Art Workshop

Results 1 to 14 of 14
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Japan
    Posts
    354
    Thanks
    124
    Thanked 183 Times in 108 Posts
    Follows
    0
    Following
    0

    Painting outdoors without breaking the bank (and my back!)

    I really need to start doing some painting from life of landscapes and outdoor scenery to get a better grasp of light and color. I know that nothing beats painting from life, so it's time to get outdoors. I've tried to look up info on plein air oil painting and have looked through some of the threads about it/outdoor painting on the forums here as well, but all the equipment and supplies needed to set up for it seem really expensive and difficult to carry around. I unfortunately don't have hundreds of dollars to spare buying easels/pochade boxes/tripods, and I also live in a country where traveling anywhere to paint means lugging everything around with me on crowded public transportation for extended periods of time, which rules out a lot of equipment.

    Is there a reason that I can't do watercolour painting instead of oil painting if I'm going outside to paint for the sake of studying? It seems like bringing everything needed to paint in watercolours outdoors is a lot cheaper and easier to carry around and maybe wouldn't even require buying things I don't already have, but I only ever see people posting about doing oil painting outside. I get the impression that I must be missing something if I don't use oils outdoors, or that watercolours are somehow inferior--otherwise I'd see just as many people posting about painting with them rather than oils for practice, right? Is that the case? If so, what am I missing out on/why is it best to use oils?

    If it's imperative that it's oils or bust, is there a poor man's way to git-er-done? I don't mind if I can only do really tiny paintings or I'm limited in what I can do or things don't go as well as if I had the proper supplies, as long as I can find a way to at least get out and do it.

    Any advice or information would be greatly appreciated!

    (Before you tell me supplies really aren't that expensive and I should be able to afford them all, please keep in mind that the price of art supplies in your country=/= prices in my country)

    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote  

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Newbury, UK
    Posts
    266
    Thanks
    13
    Thanked 94 Times in 59 Posts
    Follows
    0
    Following
    0
    watercolour is not comparable to oils. they are very different disciplines and work in very different ways. by all means go for watercolour, it's certainly easier for portability, but it won't help you with oil painting at all.

    i have made some decent size oil stuff outside. but only in walking distance of my home base. it's easy to walk out, much harder to walk back trying not to let the wind slap you with your own wet painting. i have a £20 easel, a plank of wood covered in PVA for a palette, and a plastic toolbox for my tubes and turps etc. i'm sure none of those things are especially expensive in any country.

    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote  

  3. #3
    dpaint's Avatar
    dpaint is offline Registered User Level 16 Gladiator: Spartacus' Retiarii
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    4,655
    Thanks
    2,626
    Thanked 5,883 Times in 2,355 Posts
    Follows
    0
    Following
    0
    With a little ingenuity you can make a pochade box from a wooden cigar box which you can get for around 10 bucks

    The one I made has cork on the inside of the lid that I can pin paper or canvas to with pushpins. It has a plastic palette and underneath the palette I have paints and brushes and razor blade scraper. I put this in a backpack with a roll of paper towels and a brush washer with mineral spirits.

    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote  

  4. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to dpaint For This Useful Post:


  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    1,008
    Thanks
    175
    Thanked 696 Times in 292 Posts
    Follows
    0
    Following
    0
    Nice call on the cork, Armand- great solution. Will probably try that on one I had made where the canvas holder broke in an irreparable way.

    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote  

  6. #5
    Elwell's Avatar
    Elwell is offline Sticks Like Grim Death Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Hudson River valley, NY
    Posts
    16,212
    Thanks
    4,879
    Thanked 16,666 Times in 5,020 Posts
    Follows
    0
    Following
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by Amarok View Post
    Is there a reason that I can't do watercolour painting instead of oil painting if I'm going outside to paint for the sake of studying?
    If it was good enough for Constable, Turner, and Homer, it should be good enough for you. Up until the mid-19th century invention of the collapsible metal paint tube, watercolor the standard outdoor sketching medium.

    Quote Originally Posted by cro-magnon View Post
    watercolour is not comparable to oils. they are very different disciplines and work in very different ways. by all means go for watercolour, it's certainly easier for portability, but it won't help you with oil painting at all.
    See above.


    Tristan Elwell
    **Finished Work Thread **Process Thread **Edges Tutorial

    Crash Course for Artists, Illustrators, and Cartoonists, NYC, the 2013 Edition!

    "Work is more fun than fun."
    -John Cale

    "Art is supposed to punch you in the brain, and it's supposed to stay punched."
    -Marc Maron
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote  

  7. The Following User Says Thank You to Elwell For This Useful Post:


  8. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,540
    Thanks
    46
    Thanked 272 Times in 200 Posts
    Follows
    0
    Following
    0
    I'm sure it's something you get used to eventually, but I've had a tough time getting used to using watercolors outside, because their behaviors varies so much based on temperature and humidity. One day they'd be drying almost instantly on the page and I didn't have the chance to blend them like I expected to, the next they'd seemingly never dry and I had no way of adding details.

    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote  

  9. #7
    JeffX99's Avatar
    JeffX99 is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    5,234
    Thanks
    3,512
    Thanked 4,896 Times in 2,544 Posts
    Follows
    0
    Following
    0
    Watercolors are fine for outdoor painting. The reason many people don't use them is they are much, much more difficult than oils. Being a transparent media they are not very forgiving - you have to really have your chops down to use them. So yeah, for beginners they add quite a bit of difficulty to the learning curve.

    What would Caravaggio do?
    _________________________

    Portfolio
    Plein Air
    Digital
    Still Life
    Sight Measuring
    Fundamentals
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote  

  10. The Following User Says Thank You to JeffX99 For This Useful Post:


  11. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Williston, Vermont
    Posts
    550
    Thanks
    38
    Thanked 156 Times in 102 Posts
    Follows
    0
    Following
    0
    You could also do what James Gurney does... watercolor pencils. He's got a lot of demos on how to do it and he carries it his entire setup around in a small belt pouch. Seems to always have it on him.

    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote  

  12. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    325
    Thanks
    46
    Thanked 200 Times in 98 Posts
    Follows
    0
    Following
    0
    Gouache is also an option. More opaque and easier to get bright colors than watercolor, though often just as unforgiving when it comes to fixing mistakes.

    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote  

  13. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    112
    Thanks
    41
    Thanked 20 Times in 17 Posts
    Follows
    0
    Following
    0
    I don't mean to derail or take over or anything, but does anyone have any info or images of alla prima water-color painting? Whenever I try to do them, I always run into the issues of having to use a lot of dry, choppy strokes, or, if I use washes, having the paper be wet too long for me to be able to do anything other than washes (or incredibly bleedy brush strokes).

    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote  

  14. #11
    dpaint's Avatar
    dpaint is offline Registered User Level 16 Gladiator: Spartacus' Retiarii
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    4,655
    Thanks
    2,626
    Thanked 5,883 Times in 2,355 Posts
    Follows
    0
    Following
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by snacks ex machina View Post
    I don't mean to derail or take over or anything, but does anyone have any info or images of alla prima water-color painting? Whenever I try to do them, I always run into the issues of having to use a lot of dry, choppy strokes, or, if I use washes, having the paper be wet too long for me to be able to do anything other than washes (or incredibly bleedy brush strokes).
    Yeah, here are some of my alla prima water color paintings. They are 12x16 inches.
    I use thin washes of ocher or cerulean depending on the scene, to draw the image first no pencil at all, then I build up my color, light to dark careful to preserve the white of the paper for my lightest lights. You need good paper 140 lb paper is the minimum weight I use. 300 lb is better.

    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote  

  15. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to dpaint For This Useful Post:


  16. #12
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Montreal
    Posts
    3,234
    Thanks
    860
    Thanked 847 Times in 457 Posts
    Follows
    0
    Following
    0
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote  

  17. The Following User Says Thank You to Qitsune For This Useful Post:


  18. #13
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    3,168
    Thanks
    751
    Thanked 2,344 Times in 1,208 Posts
    Follows
    0
    Following
    0
    You can start out whatever way seems reasonable to you and buy or build stuff as you discover problems that you need to solve. Don't create problems for yourself before you've even gone out once.

    When I first decided to do some painting outside I took my regular paints, a field easel and a plastic bucket out into my backyard. After that I had a better idea of what I would need to carry with me and what I needed to change about my process. Try painting outside your building or on your balcony or in a nearby park and see what works and what doesn't. Then if you realize you need something you can just run back home to get it. (Bring a camera with you, then you can take a reference photo and finish the painting at home if something goes wrong. Take the reference photo first, or take several as you're painting in case something changes.)

    *** Sketchbook * Landscapes * Portfolio * Store***

    "There are two kinds of students: the self-taught and the hopeless."
    - Dr. Piotr Rudnicki
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote  

  19. The Following User Says Thank You to vineris For This Useful Post:


  20. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Japan
    Posts
    354
    Thanks
    124
    Thanked 183 Times in 108 Posts
    Follows
    0
    Following
    0
    Thanks for all the input, guys! I'm not sure why one of you thought that I want to practice watercolours to get better at oil painting or that I said that I think they're virtually the same, but everyone else had good advice/information! I think I'll go ahead and try heading out with watercolours for now and see how that goes. I actually feel much more comfortable with watercolours than oils, so I think it'll allow me to focus a little better, too.

    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote  

Members who have read this thread: 1

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •