Tips for Travel Painting by Plane

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“Did you hear about the artist that always took things too far? She did not know where to draw the line!” :^)


Painting in Tuscany


I have been asked many times by students and colleagues how to prepare their painting gear for travel abroad or simply by plane. It can be a little more complicated with international travel, but there are a few tips I would like to impart about this when you do get on a plane to go and plain air paint.

There are many things to concern yourself with taking oil painting gear on a plane. You have to try and make it easy for security to evaluate your stuff.

First rule is to always “check” you painting gear. I have done it over the years both ways, carry on and check and found it much more hassle free to check your gear. However, when you do check it, try to keep it separate from your clothes or other valuables you might have in case a tube decides to leak.

Second rule is to always remove your paints from the painting box and put them in a study plastic bag with a description of what is in the bag. I try and do it in several languages appropriate to where I am traveling. Another key factor is to not use the word paint! Airlines and security don’t seem to like that word. I substitute the word color which translates well in most major languages.This is very important to remember.

Third rule is to make sure you box or easel can be accessed and has no lock.Artist box and easels can look very suspicious goin through and scanner. Have traveled and painted in more than 30 foreign countries and only have had one mishap.

Fourth rule would be to go to the different websites for the paints you are taking and find the different flash points for each color and brand and make a list and put that also in the plastic bag with the words Flash Points at the top. I have never been hassles about this before when I did not do it ,but it is a good idea to include.

Fifth rule is one that you are all aware of I’m sure but it is the most important! No solvents or liquid mediums. Those will have to be purchased when you get to you destinations.

Hopefully I will cover some tips on the complications painting in foreign territories on my next post.

Happy painting!

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