Sunday, August 17, 2014

Chess Board Pochade

I like to visit thrift stores to find interesting stuff to use for my art - either as a reference subject, a tool for the studio, or to build things for painting outdoors.
A few months ago, I found a nice wooden folding chess board with the chess pieces inside for $2.79. My first inclination was to use it to store art supplies. A woman saw me carrying it around the store and remarked that some of the chess pieces were missing. I remarked that I didn't care because I wasn't going to play! She probably wondered why I wanted it - too hard to explain to non-artists why we do the things we do..... hahaha.  The board actually prompted me to use it in a still life setup for an oil painting for an upcoming show! I will be unveiling that painting in a couple weeks.

This week, I got back to building something with the board. I am a fan of James Gurney and he recently created a new video Watercolor in the Wild. In this video, he shares his pared down art kit for painting outdoors. I have painted in watercolor in the past and thought that using some of his ideas would be a great way of capturing some scenes on some of my upcoming trips. I am hoping to go overseas and although I paint in oils or pastels now, it can be difficult to travel with those. I also want to spend more time enjoying the scenery without painting. Doing quick sketches in watercolor will accomplish both and be easy to travel with.

SO! With some ideas from James, I created a new Chess Board Pochade kit! I wonder if I am the first artist to have such an elegant painting box? I mounted a "tee nut" in one side of the box which attaches to a tripod quick release adapter. I have a nice small Manfrotto tripod which travels well - it is a full size tripod but folds down to about 18".

For the inside, I added a lightweight piece of chain (adjustable) to hold the bottom half at whatever angle I require. (By the way, since I am left handed, I put the chain on the right and I work on the 'backside' of the paper in the booklet.)

I used some items I already had - an older watercolor box already filled with my preferred pigments, a sketchbook with watercolor paper, and a tin with brushes, water brushes, watercolor pencils, pencil sharpener, and paper towel.

 The only things that would not fit inside when closed, were the tiny plastic water jar, and a collapsible water bottle.
I recently ordered one of the watercolor sketchbooks which James recommended (shown below) which is a bit larger. I have also ordered one of the mini folding metal watercolor palettes he recommended and it should be here soon. It will give me more mixing area.
I'm tickled that this worked out. I can see using this locally for oils or pastel also. It makes a simple organized painting box!

UPDATE - I have created a new painting box from scratch! Please check out my new post here:

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