Traveling with Acrylics

When traveling by plane, I put my easel in the backpack and carry it on board. Inside the easel are all my brushes, needle-nosed pliers, a short Phillips screwdriver, and the folding palette I have described. There is room in the easel drawer for a few tubes of color; if you use jars or want to take more than the three primary colors, put them in a plastic baggie in your suitcase. Usually there is room to fit a camera in the backpack as well; I pad the contents with rags wherever they fit and hand-carry the empty fishing tackle box unless there is room for it in my suitcase.

When you arrive at your destination, buy a couple of liters of bottled water and keep the empty bottles on hand for carrying painting water. I pack my oldest T-shirts to wear. As each is ready for the wash it becomes the next day’s paint rag.

When my heart is set on taking canvases by plane, I find buying sizes that nest within each other is a space-saving trick  (24×24”, 18×18”, and 12×12”, for example). Or if I’m hesitant to take all the same shape, I try to get one dimension the same so they are easy to bind together with a strap, for example 10×20”, 20×20”, and 20×30”.  I own a zippered portfolio bag sold at Aaron Brothers that is convenient for carrying canvases in the latter sizes. After removing the heavy cardboard stiffener this fits in the overhead compartment of most airplanes.

Recently I’ve pared what I carry down to two sizes and shapes—18×20” and 10×18” New Traditions panels; these can be layered so the two smaller panels exactly fit between one larger panel, the whole package bound with a Velcro strap in each direction.