2014 En Plein Air Artist Travel Gear Top Award goes to….
the over-the-shoulder easel bag I made to carry the bizarre en plein air easel given to me by my watercolor mentor, Betty Stroppel, many years ago.
To be honest, I find Betty’s easel to be too heavy and a bit useless in the field. I haven’t totally given up on it. However, the bag I made has proven useful in every travel situation.
My light-weight tripod stool, my sun cap that stays on my head regardless of the gusts of wind and a water bottle are the essentials, wherever I go both locally and long distance. There is plenty of room for a sketchbook, my mini pack of paints and brushes and my passport/ID/money/credit card if I decide that I need both my arms and hands for climbing over boulders and I don’t want to carry an additional shoulder bag. And …… in addition to my painting supplies, I am able to fit my sleeping bag, bivvy sac and sleeping pad in it when I dash off for a night in the mountains. There’s still room for a small treasure found on a trail. No need for a backpack. My easel bag is flat and folds up nicely to fit into my carry-on luggage when I fly.
When I’m not trying to be ultra light-weight, I can fit my tripod plein air easel and my plein air umbrella in the bag instead of my stool.
The bag was made from fabric left over from making my favorite cook apron when my kids where very young. It was long with a giant pocket on one side and big button between my shoulder blades. Good memories!
Check back in a day or two to find out what the Runner Up Award goes to.