8 basic items needed to paint watercolour overseas

As told by Janette Garbuio

Below is how I approach my trip to have a relaxing, trouble-free painting workshop. With many restrictions imposed when travelling by plane, it can be difficult to keep up to date with how, when and what to pack for a watercolour painting workshop overseas.

The primary rule: Ensure everything is no bigger than A4 or A5 size (we are travelling after all…).  I would suggest bringing the following:

  1. An A4 Plastic document holder – This can be purchased in any department store and its can also be used as a board.
  2. A thin plastic palette with a lid – Squeeze your preferred amount of watercolour paint and let them dry.   This process can take one to two weeks. Bring only ½ tubes in order to save space and weight. My six most used colours are Ultra Blue, Red, Raw Sienna, Burn Umber, Burn Siena and Yellow.  
  3. Four Brushes – Ensure one of these brushes has a nice mop head for overall wash. Cut a piece of cardboard to fit the brushes and use an elastic band to secure them to the cardboard and these can be placed in your plastic document container.
  4. Two 2B pencils , two waterproof pens  – These are great to mix with your watercolours.
  5. Two soluble graphite pens –  This enables you to draw, then wash over with water and instantly – a painting!
  6. A collapsible water pot – I usually purchase these at any art shop. Quick and easy and I can take it anywhere.
  7. A4 or A5 300gsm sketchbooks – if you have the space, bring both so one can be used for a diary/illustration purposes as It is a great way to record your overseas trip.
  8. Good quality watercolour paper – You can purchase a pad of A4 or A3 watercolour paper. Otherwise, cut a full watercolour sheet to the size of your painting  board,  which can fit inside your carry bag, before you depart.  This is my preferred option as I then place the paper with the painting board and place the plastic document holder on top. I then secure it with a bull clip or elastic so nothing gets damaged. Estimate for 2 pictures per day.

Other items:

My Easel is the lightest tripod, which the attachment is super glued  to a piece of wood which is secured to the painting board.  There is no need of any stools unless you really want one with you.  If you feel you need one a cheap light fold up stool is all you will need. I also carry one small water bottle with lid (for water) and masking tape.

Everything is placed inside my medium size suitcase for easy travelling and when I arrive I take out my art bag and everything is placed inside.

Light, easily and simple is the way to go for your overseas painting workshop.