In the beginning, you pack way too much stuff. After hauling it around and struggling you finally sit down on your kitchen floor, unpack your gear, and start tossing things aside, "I don't need this--at least not enough to mess with it or carry it any distance.
Still, I've been intrigued with developing this type of painting. I happen to live in one of the most visually and structurally interesting and pleasing areas in the US: New Mexico. Within a day's drive there is desert, mesas, rivers, forests, mountains. I have a history of long-distance trail-running so being in the wilderness doesn't scare me.
I signed up for a plein air workshop through the New Mexico Art League. We have gone to three different locations so far.
The first location was Placetas, New Mexico.
I didn't really feel like I had a good view of the Mtn, and I wasn't inspired by the dotted houses on the hillside near me. However, I was inspired by weird and crazy tree nearby. I painted it on a gesso masonite board toned with transparent yellow oxide.
The second location was in Bernalillo, New Mexico. And I want to take a moment here to introduce my pleinair set-up
My set-up is the oil package from PleinAir Pro. And yes, I KNOW, I KNOW, FRENCH POCHADE BOXES are the thing but I want to be able to paint without fiddling with a million wingnuts.
I use a SLIK tripod - it's pretty great, and I love having the built-in bubble level to steady the legs. Then I slip on a panel holder, which clicks into place, and then the palette. My palette is glass. I'm just not organized enough yet to use anything else, because I forget to clean it and then need a razor knife.
The outfit is complete with a sport-umbrella that clamps on.
The whole thing goes into a large bag that functions as a backpack, and NO, it was not cheap. But totally worth it.
I'm rarely satisfied. I felt like the first pass was too dark and didn't accurately depict the brighteness of the morning, or the scraggliness of the trees.
I also joined the New Mexico Plein Air Painters association or group or something that. I'm stoked! I can't wait to start painting more scenes outdoors.