Lines and Colors art blog

My simple portable gouache kit

My simple portable gouache kit
Lately, I’ve been painting on location in gouache, a wonderful and often overlooked medium (more on that in a later post). In the process, I’ve worked out an inexpensive and simple portable kit for carrying my supplies, that also makes an impromptu lap box for painting.

It consists of two shallow (Rubbermaid style) food storage containers, one of which fits well inside the other when open. The bigger one is roughly 10-1/2″ x 8″ (27 x 20cm); the smaller one is 9-1/2″ x 5″ (24 x 13cm). I’m sorry I can’t tell you where I got them, as I’ve had them for a while, but try Amazon if you can’t find something at your local K-mart or dollar store. In my case, they are two different brands.

They don’t fit inside each other when closed, I stack them. The larger one carries the sketchbook (Stillman & Birn 6×8 Beta Series), folded paper towels, a few small sheets of wax paper and a square-sided spice jar. Into the smaller one go my paints (my usual colors for a limited palette, plus Viridian and Burnt Sienna), brushes and 2 small plastic watercolor trays. These are 3-5/8″ × 7-1/8″ (9 × 18 cm), and are less than a dollar at Blick.

I also have a plastic water bottle with a screw cap that I got from the travel container section of the drug store.

All of this goes into a small, lightweight gym or duffel bag that sits flat and opens at the top (something like this one or this one), and has pockets for the water bottle, my ubiquitous Thermos of tea (without which, nothing else functions), and whatever else I feel compelled to carry around that day.

In use, the food storage containers fit one inside the other, and just leave room for the spice bottle to act as a brush holder and the sketchbook to be propped up in the outer one (this is the tricky part about matching sizes of containers). In the inner container are the paint trays, stacked one on top of the other and switched as needed, under which is a paper towel for wiping brushes, separated from the paint tubes by a piece of waxed paper.

The whole deal sits pretty comfortably in my lap, and is decently functional, despite a bit of fuss to get at the paint tubes. The water bottle sits outside, wherever convenient, waiting to be knocked over when I’m not paying attention.

Images on Lines and Colors are usually not linked, but in this case, click on the image above (or click here) for a larger version.


4 responses to “My simple portable gouache kit”

  1. Looks like it does the does the job quite well . . . all in a nice, neat little package!

  2. Wa hooo!, a larger image!
    Very cool Charley, the set up. While many similar posts on other sites focus on buying or making more complicated ones yours shows how easy inexpensively and immediate you can put one together. Most people have this kind of stuff already laying around the house.
    Put it together and go!

    Keep painting…

    1. Thanks, David.

      Don’t get used to it (the larger image); that’s what links are for (grin).

  3. … oh and gouache IS a grand medium.
    (more on that in your later post)