I plein air painted at Ramona Grasslands with the new portable palette I recently crafted in my workshop. It was the “maiden voyage” for the palette, which I based on the Jim Coulter palette system–a clamshell design with an adjustable mast to hold various sizes of panels or canvas. If you’re not DIY inclined, you can see (and buy) Jim’s version of this plein air painting system, here…
…or another version based on similar concepts is the “Daytripper” easel system by Joshua Been, which you can find here…
I chose to make my own, larger than any available from Jim because I like lots of space to mix and lay out my tools of the trade. It worked out well and even though a large palette, it was not difficult to hike in the half mile with everything I needed to paint.
The colors seen on the palette, laid on a piece of grey masking tape for friction (to keep them from sliding around) and ease of cleanup, from left to right, are:
Primary magenta — R
cadmium red light — O
Primary yellow — Y
phthalo green-yellow — G
Primary cyan –B
ultramarine deep — I
dioxizine purple –V
transparent red oxide
…I also used a bit of “asphaltum.”
The panel was toned in advance with transparent orange.
Following are some photos of the easel, “in the wild,” where I bravely set my tripod over the opening to a den of vicious and possibly rabid squirrels. You can see the bucket I use to carry all the necessities, too. Those long, black nylon bags hold the tripod and my umbrella kit (which I didn’t need but brought along just in case). They both have shoulder slings, as does the palette box,which make all three quite easy to portage to the painting site.
I chose to paint a view of the largest oak tree in the grasslands. You can get an idea of the massive size of this old oak, compared to the heavy-duty, park picnic table nearby. You can also see here the beginning phase of the painting where I’m establishing the shape of the tree.
…and finally, in this next photo you can see where I chose to stop painting. I was having a difficult time resolving this one. As I say to myself, “you can’t win them all,” and this one was giving me fits so I decided to pack it in and call it a day. I’ll take time to let it rest and then return to it in the studio to see if I can make better sense of it. I didn’t scrape it off entirely, which I would do if it was a total failure, so I think there is still a painting here, waiting to be finished, signed and framed.
Here’s a skewed (to avoid glare) iPhone pic of the painting…
Here’s an update after some studio work on this painting…