Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Leavin' on a jet plane

Posted by Maggie

Tomorrow we're off to New York for the reception at the Pastel Society of America exhibition, and then on to Spain a few days later for a plein air painting workshop.

Not surprisingly, we've spent a lot of time getting ready. In addition to the obvious packing part of the preparation, we had deadlines to meet, and the house to get ready for the people who will be staying here while we are gone.

The packing's the hard part. Dressy clothes for New York, painting clothes for Spain. All the art supplies needed for the two of us to paint and teach a workshop.

I have a good checklist of the things I need to take when traveling by car to teach a workshop, and another one for traveling by air. I much prefer the car. I like picking something up, saying "I might need this, so I'll take it," and tossing it in the car. With the airplane bag limits, everything has to be considered in terms of weight and size.

We take one carry-on bag each, with our pastels, paper, and absolute essentials for painting. If our checked bags are lost, we can buy clothes, but art supplies can be tough to replace, especially in the area of Spain (a small village in the Genal Valley, in the mountains of Andalucia) where we hold our workshop. The nearest art supply store is probably 6 hours away, and I doubt if they carry my favorite pastels. Carrying pastels on the plane means allowing extra time for TSA to scrutinize our bags. Sometimes it takes a long time; other times they don't open them. Sometimes we get pulled out for extra inspection. Maybe it's because of the art supplies, or maybe we just look suspicious.

We put the easels in the checked bag. I use the Sun-Eden set-up shown here, and Bill uses a lightweight, inexpensive Winsor & Newton easel. If they get lost, it won't be convenient, but it won't be the end of the world. Also in the checked bags are extra paper, bungee cords, sketchbooks, watercolors, pens, pencils, hats and jackets. We take as many changes of clothes as possible (there are no laundry facilities in the village of J├║zcar), but art supplies come first.

It's hard to decide what to leave out. I opted not to take my umbrella, much as I wanted it, but everything else in the photo here is going. The bag that's hanging off the easel is my carry-on bag; in this photo, my Heilman backpacker-size pastel box is already in it. 

The moment of truth is when we weigh the bags to be checked. We did well this time; one was 47 lbs. and the other 37. I moved a few things from the heavy one to the lighter one just in case the airport scales aren't as accurate as mine.

So, we're all ready,  and will soon be on our way. I'll be posting to this blog as often as possible during the next few weeks, with images of plein air paintings, painters and places. Hope you enjoy it!


  1. Maggie and Bill!
    Have a fabulous workshop! Wish we were on our way to meet you there! Best Wendy and Dave

  2. Have a great time in New York, wish I could have come! Then on to Spain, what a packing horror, but by now you're on your way!! I agree, anywhere I can drive is best, flying (or packing for flying) is only for the strong of body and mind.