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A new and bigger pochade box

edited June 2017 in Studio & Supplies
I bought my new bigger pochade box to produce finished paintings. I got the idea from Stefan Baumann's 1920 box. Design of this box was very thoughtfully executed. Three panels (no standardization at that time), palette, oil etc and brushes. The previous artist who owned it put cardboard separations for tubes. This is very similar to what the Hudson River School artists used. They sat on a tripod chair and painted straightaway. No business with tripod and other stuff (observe Bierstadt surrounded by American Indians). This box will serve its true purpose if it is put inside a Gloucester easel (now Take it easel). Need a folding chair similar to the one artist Milind Mulick has.

I looked over the internet and found only this box from a maker called Brustro. It is intended by the manufacturer to be a mere pallet and color box (not sure why) but its size is perfect, light and good looking.

Palette, brushes, tubes etc. I pasted a few wood chips as palette rest.

I prefer rags as against paper towels. Need five colors of Mark Carder palette and a few extras, a plastic medicinal spray bottle filled with medium and I am in business.

This is 8X10 canvas panel but you can add masonite/ply panels as well. I had to make some temporary arrangements. The maker could have gone straightaway a size like below for an 8X10 or a 9X12. Will make further changes to the design. There is no urgency. :)

This is how the box would sit on my lap; the hand grip is to maintain the position of the box. Perfect size.

Box shut. As I said earlier - this box is for finished paintings of 8X10 size. I will be using my little thumb box most often for ideas, value training and sketches. I can put this on a tripod if I make the base a little harder.



  • Kaustav

    Very nice.


  • Thanks @dencal The box is really nice looking. Below is the marketing shot of it. I am not really worried about two panels etc. If I can finish one painting in a day, I will be damn glad about it. I wonder how Van Gogh could finish three in a day! :/

  • dencaldencal -
    edited June 2017

    If you fitted a lid stay, you could free your left hand.
    Some hook and loop Velcro will prevent the box slipping around on your lap.
    Swap out the wooden palette for a piece of toughened glass.


  • dencal said:

    If you fitted a lid stay, you could free your left hand.
    Some hook and loop Velcro will prevent the box slipping around on your lap.
    Swap out the wooden palette for a piece of toughened glass.


    Thanks for the suggestions Denis . I am holding it to keep it on my lap. The lid is secured in position by hinges that have rests on the back. You are right about velcro. I have understand what could be the most efficient way of secure it. In the earlier days artists would tie it to their belts. :# Need a hanging brush holder too. I will carry a lot of brushes.
  • That's a wonderful kit you have there! excellent!
  • edited June 2017
    @Forgiveness I am a little confused about the panel holding stuff. It is not permanent solution on the left hand side as you can see. How to attach and remove when there is a bigger size panel is a big question. Can you suggest an easy to remove tool? There is a wasted space on the left if I go with 8X10 size only.

    Baumann suggests to go out with one size and be done with all the complexities and I agree with it. :s  I can fit any subject in a painting and get a good composition out of it by adding or deleting things. Shall I stop thinking hard about a bigger sized panel and go to a carpenter to fit the other holder for 8X10? :/
  • edited June 2017
    I found that keeping things compact and convenient the best and not worry over complexities. I recommend going to a carpenter fit your other holder 8 x 10. The less wear and tear on the sense of enthusiasm and passion for painting outdoors, less stress, all the better, both physically and mentally. Also makes unpacking and set up much more convenient and packing up again when finished a session especially when you want to leave in a hurry. This of course adds to self confidence, very important. Attaching extras, mechanisms, just looking into it myself, there are many removable bracket systems available that I am investigating. Once I tried painting watercolor 18" x 24" en plein air, took me 4 years to complete, one year it rained too much. I found it inconvenient size to be carrying around and had a very large painting palette(great for amount of colors and mixing area) and a gallon of water from home. My favorite size for outdoors is 8" x 10", just a little smaller than my watercolor palette, 1/2 the water. If I were traveling with vehicle, I would do larger paintings as I have observed in other artists. Oil painting I hope will be real joy in comparison.
  • @Forgiveness thanks very much for your feedback. I will go with 8X10 and stop thinking about it.

    I still need a few things add such as two latches to fix the upper side of the palette. There are many easy ways to attach a brush holder. A plywood on the base to make it stronger.

    18X24 is a bit too much for watercolor but I have seen artists do it. Here is Milind Mullick and Prafull Sawant painting on a similar size. Milind Mullick is probably the best watercolorist in India today in terms of style and content.


  • edited June 2017
    If ever you want to attach to a tripod I recommend 1/2" plywood 4" x 4" glued underneath, or an entire strip of hardwood on the longer length, 1/2" x 4" wide, glued. 
  • Thanks for the input on that @Forgiveness tripod is certainly on my cards (not today perhaps but in the future). You see this box will travel all over India! :) :
  • At least in India you never run out of interesting people, buildings and scenes to paint. Good luck with your new box.
  • @BOB73 I want landscapes. Grand ones. Now it is vanishing. But everything is paintable if you have the eye.
  • edited June 2017
    "But everything is paintable if you have the eye." This is absolutely correct and I see infinite possibility in this. Many artists prove this again and again, time after time. Aim for little pieces of heaven is what I am going to do, just as the others. I have limited space and environment to paint in, no worries and getting closer to completion building a pochade box. Great things come from small packages, I will be looking for "diamonds in my own backyard". In the zen tradition/philosophy, "less means more". I'm much encouraged.
  • Here is Kinkade's set-up; pretty similar to what I have in mind for future. 
  • edited June 2017
    New panels and brush holder. Big brushes are placed to the rear. Only thing remaining is to fix the panel holders in place and create an L for smaller panels. 
  • edited June 2017
    These clips are fantastic. You can hook things to hang into these as well if needed. I expect to post photos of my box in just a few days or so, in a new thread.
  • edited June 2017
    My outdoor painting box is almost done. I bought a powerdrill and attached the left panel holder onto that woodblock that I cut all by myself. This box can now hold three MDF panels.

    There are a few D clips that I ordered on amazon. I am gonna put two of those on the sides of the lower base to attach a strap. I will tie this strap around my waste tightly so that the box doesn't fall off when I am a little less attentive of my posture.
    I need an extremely portable stool/chair; it needs to fit into my backpack, along with this box, bottle of water and packed food items. Any suggestions for a chair?
  • Kaustav

    This is less than $20 Aust. The bag is a zip closure freezer bag, insulated to keep things cool. Very light weight.


  • edited June 2017
    I'm glad you modified your box to your own (that's the way), fantastic and enjoy your new stool when you're out there. It's a great stool, comfortable and lasts for years. You may be able to attach it to your pack sack with bungee cords. I'm almost finished making my box, will be posting any day now in new thread.
  • I'm happy that you have a good box and support for your panels. You seem to really enjoy your en-plein air adventures. I enjoy seeing the results.
  • edited June 2017
    Thanks guys. I am planning to take this box to the places where I wanna go. Right now it is not possible because my baby is very small and I have my work too. But in the future... I still got my thumb box for local sketching tours.
  • edited June 2017
    The strap of my old violin case came into use. This is for tying the box around my waist so that it doesn't fall off. I attached D rings. 

  • edited June 2017
    Would you believe it!? Somebody else thought like me! Here is a box same as mine on a tripod. Box of artist Malcolm Dewey. 

    pochade box

    Forgiveness[Deleted User]
  • Attached box corners. Now it looks good.
  • That's fantastic! looks real great! and protect your corners from serious damage over years.
  • Richard_P said:
    @Richard_P ; I have seen this a lot of times. This is good for studies and there is no need for a paper palette. Tin is enough for that purpose. Good for studies. Not for commercial purposes. 
  • edited February 2018
    Slowly but steadily developing my plein air gear.
  • edited March 2018
    I have a question regarding the system above. Any ideas are welcome.

    Is it really necessary to carry a brush washer outdoors? I have it but bringing that outdoor could be cumbersome as you can see that the box is getting really crowded with things. I got covered dippers. One will carry medium and what if I use the other one with turps for brush cleaning purposes?
  • Can't see why you'd need a brush washer with slow drying paint. Carry more brushes so you don't contaminate light with dark or vice versa, and also a folded up sheet of aluminium foil. Wipe off your brushes, then wrap tightly in foil to keep the air out until you get home.

    I used to shoot a 4x5 view camera in the field. The godfather of field photography, Ansel Adams, reputedly said "anything more than 500 yards from the car just isn't photogenic..."
  • @Observer Thanks for your reply. Actually I am not using slow drying paint as I don't have it. I am using regular tube oil paint which is thick. So I have to use a medium in any way. You are right about carrying more brushes and organize them according to value scale. So, I guess I don't need to use brush washer in any way. If I need turps for cleaning then I'll carry it in a plastic eye dropper bottle and squeeze some in that extra dipper. It won't spill. It is just too much hassle carrying many things!

    BTW Idea about aluminum foil is also superb! Will do that even in the studio.
  • @Observer that was actually a Edward Weston Quote. Adams sometimes didn't leave his car. Adams is quoted "There is nothing worse than a sharp photograph of a fuzzy concept."

  • @BOB73 funny that I feel that fuzz is better in a painting than too sharp.  ;)
  • edited May 2018
    Found something that can be used as Mahl stick. This is a broken radio antenna  :# but can be put into the box and taken out. I saw something like this used by Thomas Kinkade. I am becoming like a scavenger everyday  :open_mouth:

  • Boudicca said:
    What a great idea @Kaustav
    Thanks  =)
  • @Kaustav ; Over morning coffee I am happy to read that you think fuzz is better in a painting than too sharp as I am just about to spend the rest of today on the fuzziest painting I have ever done in my life.  The timing couldn't have been more perfect to read your words.  Thanks so much.  Summer  :)
  • @Kaustav ; I just had an awesome thought that your plein air "studio" is turning into a three-year project the same as my indoor one.  Hmm.  In the beginning, three years ago, I thought: 6 months tops!!!  Hmm.  Evolving.  It is what it is and we just have to roll with it.  I like watching your evolution.  Summer
  • @Summer thanks for your kind words. My goal is start a plein air oil painting trend in my country gradually. We got watercolourist who actually paint outdoors and they are fabulous but not much for canvas or boards.
    My lack of knowledge about nature and lack of time are creating hindrances in my landscape painting. This can only be remedied by painting outdoors. Fuzz is certainly important. If it is too sharp do this ;)
  • @Kaustav ; I didn't realize that you had an agenda of that magnitude.  I agree that lack of time is a great hindrance but just the same you are pushing forward and seeing results in your own work.  I tried your suggestion to close one eye to see fuzz and it works--haha.  I'll certainly use it from now on.  Summer
  • List of the things to take along:

    Inside backpack
    1. Pochade Box
    2. Cheap tissue box
    3. food items and water (optional)
    4. wet wipes
    5. multi-use hammer (optional)
    Inside Pochade Box
    1. Two / three panels
    2. Colors: titanium white, cad lemon, cad orange, alizarin crimson, Prussian blue, pthalo green
    3. Brushes: 6-7 small bristles, 3-4 medium bristles, 2 big bristles, 2 sable medium (for blending), 2 detail (1 bristle + 1 sable). All stored inside brush holder with a bulldog clip
    4. Two diamond shaped palette knives  long and small
    5. Antenna mahl stick
    6. Covered dippers (for medium and brush cleaning)
    7. Spray bottle containing medium linseed oil turpentine mixture
    8. Spray bottle containing turpentine only for brush cleaning
    Carried separately
    1. Tripod stool
    2. Wet panel carrier (optional)

  • what is a bull dog clip. and what is the hammer for?
  • Bulldog clip
    Image result for bulldog clips
    Multi-utility hammer is a useful thing for cutting the panels if the size is inaccurate for a composition. Fixing if anything broken etc. This is not needed generally but useful for trips.

  • Thanks, been using them for years never heard of that name for them.
  • It's what they are called here too.

    I guess they are called crocodile clips in Australia..
  • edited August 2018
                                                                                                                                                                    They are called Bulldog Clip here in Canada too. The above is an old fashioned one, Bulldog printed on it, Made In England.
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