Monday, August 18, 2008

Pochade Boxes

Today on his art blog Lines and Colors, Charley Parker gives a thorough description of all the pochade boxes on the market. Pochade boxes are popular portable easels for plein air painters. Thanks for the link and the mention, Charley!

As he says, I do recommend an Open Box M, but in fairness to the other brands, I just haven’t tried them. I have the 8x10 and the 10x12 sizes. I made a few modifications to the Open Box M 10 x 12 inch box. Mine came with a side panel, which I drilled with holes of various sizes to hold brushes that are not in use, as well as slots for the palette knife and mahl stick. A lot of artists use a special metal holder for the brushes. I also drilled big holes for Nalgene cups (for Grumtine and Liquin.)

I either clip a rag to the side or hang a paper towel roll underneath. Instead of mixing the paint on the wood palette surface, I cut up freezer paper to 9x12 inches and paper clip it to a mat board, and drop the mixing pad into the recessed area. That way I don’t have to scrape off old paint.
Here’s a post where I explain my set-up a little more, link.
Charley Parker’s post on Lines and Colors, link.
Also, check out the site Outdoor Painting for more on plein air equipment, link


craigstephens said...

Pochade boxes are wonderful in every way. I think that, even if I didn't paint, I would still like 'em. I've built a couple myself and I really enjoyed the process. I have a small 8x10 inch box that is pretty flat. It doesn't hold paint tubes so I have to set up my palette before I go out. I built it specifically for lashing on the back of my mountain bike and I wanted it to be as compact as possible. Last year for Christmas my dad got me a 9x12 Gorilla box. I used double stick tape to attach a piece of tempered glass to the palette board and I use an old soup can clamped to the tripod for a brush holder. It's relatively bulky but I like the larger size. I keep it in the trunk of my car. I also modified an old pack frame so that I can easily bungie the box to it for hiking.

Charley Parker said...

Thanks for the mention, and thanks also for your posts about using your pochade box, which was one of the sparks for my own investigation and eventual decision to buy one.

Did you make your own mahl stick? If so, what did you wrap the end with?

Tim said...

Hey! What a stroke of luck! Today, whils cursing my Julien half box for having all the hingescrews come loose and destroy the wood, I decided to investigate the pochade market. I think I will attempt to build myself one, so it will be suited for my needs. Im very excited, and look forwards to a good read!
Lovely jubblies! (anyone get the reference?)

James Gurney said...

Thanks, Craig. I love the idea of a superlight rig for mountain bikes. Everyone should check out Craig's Daily Painting blog.

Charley, I made a plein-air mahl stick out of a wooden dowel rod. I took a cork from a wine bottle, drilled a hole in it, and glued the dowel into it. It's the same length as a paintbrush, so it fits in the box. I have a longer mahl stick that I take on location made from an aluminum tube with a rubber foot (from any hardware store) stuck on the end.

Sakievich said...

I have one of those open box M set ups as well. I like it quite a bit, my last plein air easel was a metal tripod that had sliding grips at the top attached to a flattened pole that were attached to the tripod, that I used for several years and still have on hand. For 35 bucks it has held together great and was a fast set up, though it did not have a surface for supplies and paint, which is what's so great about pochade boxes.

Great point about drilling holes in the side attachment for the brushes, I'll have to give that a try. Do you still like the big holes for the medium jars? How did you go about getting holes that large?

James Gurney said...

Sakievich--I use a special big hole drill, which fits in the chuck of a power drill. It looks like a cylinder of metal with saw teeth at the bottom.

Antony Bridge said...

the love for the pochade box is growing, heres a few links that maybe of interest to you all