Plein Air Watercolour- DIY Easel Kit

17th Oct. 2016

Plein Air Watercolour- DIY  Easel Kit


My Plein Air Kit

Crystal Cove – McKenzie Beach, Tofino


Making do using the Walkstool as a table 🙁

I occasionally , and usually while camping take along a small watercolour kit to do some travel sketching . Finding a spot where it is both comfortable to sit and have good sight of the subject is not easy .

On a recent trip to Crystal Cove on my first day found a conveniently sited picnic table . The following day I moved to the beach proper where I spread my stuff out along a beached log and impovised a table on my folding 3 legged stool . While this worked it was not very satisfactory as brushes rolled away my water pot slipped off which caused me to hasten my work and retreat thinking I needed to think of ways improve my setup .

The outcome of this is described  here.
“Light and Compact ” being the two main criteria .

Working Desk top

A compact camera tripod from a local thrift shop became the foundation.
First I made a work surface from a piece of leftover 3/8″ polycarbonate twin-wall greenhouse material by gluing a plywood block to it with a 1/4″ UNC threaded insert centred in it . This serves to conveniently attach the board to the tripod.

Kit Box


Lid opened ready to hang on tripod

That done I began to think in greater detail about how to have my painting gear arranged and handily accessible. I decided that a tray hung from the tripod legs was the best option – this idea grew, just like topsy, it evolved into a box with hinged lid and swing out extension on the right side on which I could mount my pallette and water reservoirs and magnetic strip to retain those errant rolling brushes.



Clasp Catch


Box joints & hinges


Pallette arm with imbedded magnets

I have two travel painting kits – One being ultra light minimalist one made from a VCR tape case . A more complete Plein Air kit was small video camera travel case about 12″ w x 10″ l x 3″ deep with shoulder strap and handle .


Ready to paint .

The two water reservoirs are a shallow a lidded tin & secured with magnets. The adhesive magnet strip in the center is to retain the brushes.


All Set!

My lightweight three legged alloy stool is from Lee Valley – called “WalkStool”,120,43456,65663
It is light and very stable and available in 3 heights.

All of this is very light and can be slipped into a small backpack making it both comfortable and convenient to carry a distance over rough terrain .


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