One is always happy to make some painting sales, because it puts money in the bank for more art products. My goal has been to make sure that I have everything organized and in a place I can get to immediately when I paint in my studio. That being said, I have more work to do to continually improve the studio set up but that will come with time.
I also wanted to make sure that I had everything I needed for plein aire painting, so that when I go out, I have a good set up. Initially I had my full French Easel, with my pastels packed in plastic boxes filled with rice so that they would not break. Although this method worked for awhile, I found it to be less than desirable over time. The other thing was, the plastic boxes took all of the space in the French easel drawer and left very little room for stumps, wipes, some pastel pencils and charcoal.
I also decided that I would follow Richard McKinley's suggestion and make sure that I separated all of my pastels into values in a new Dakota Art portable pastel box that I purchased. This box is well designed, and has memory foam that the pastels rest on, and memory foam on the two wood inserts that fasten over the pastels to keep them from moving when you are traveling. I purchased the smaller box that is 13" X 14" and it holds a huge amount of half stick pastels. This box sits comfortably on the drawer of my French Easel. My current pastel count is almost 300, with available space for more. That provides me with a varied pallet of both hard and soft pastels that are with me when I am painting outdoors in some beautiful locale. I am no longer frustrated by not having the color I want to use and making do with something that really is not adequate.
The second item I purchased was an umbrella to shade both me and my work when I am outdoors painting plein aire. After reading all the reviews, I bought the Better Brella canopy, and am very pleased with its design, and vented canopy. The great thing is, it will clamp onto a square or round leg and has well engineered clamps. Someone put a great deal of thought into the design of this product. After roasting in the sun a few times, this will be super, plus it will help by providing me shade for my work so I can actually realize the appropriate color I am putting on my paper.
The third item I purchased was some Dakota Art Boards with Wallis paper already mounted on a foam core so they provide a nice sturdy surface for plein aire work. Thanks Dakota Art for providing this great product premounted, it saves me the hassle, and is light and portable. I had purchased some Courfix Boards also for plein aire work, and they too are a good product. Every artist seems to like a different surface to work on and it has a lot to do with their style, their pastel strokes on the paper, the way they have been taught to work or just personal preference. With all these nice additions to my plein aire kit, one can see I am already to go out this week with my new tools to paint in the high sierras. Happy painting, and do get organized.