Sunday, June 09, 2013

How to travel with Art Supplies

I love to travel and I like painting on location.
A few years ago, I was able to bring all of my painting supplies onto the airplane. I could bring 2 bags for free. Who would have thought that you would have to pay to bring cloths when you travel.
 Those days are gone. But with some common sense and a little pre-planning, traveling with paint supplies isn’t a big hassle at all. Here are some things to keep in mind.

You must put your paints in checked luggage (unless you have dry watercolor cakes). I am currently using more and more watercolors and watercolor pencils when I travel. I use them for studies take lots of photo and do the oil when I get home.

I have started doing watercolor journal when I travel and I love. You can use both sides of the heavy journal pages to paint and write on.

You must put all palette knives and other tools that may look suspicious in your checked luggage along with any paint in tubes oil or watercolor.

If you are an oil painting RarMar now makes a feather lite panel that is great for travel.

Mediums are a maybe. Check the manufacturer’s website for the Materials Safety Data Sheet or MSDS to determine the flashpoint (the temperature at which the paint will reach combustion). Most all art supply manufacturers have this info on their website. If the flashpoint is higher than 140°F, you can bring it on an airplane. This is a good time to think aboout water- soluble oils for plein air and travel.

Do not bring any solvent of any kind. Either plan to purchase it once you arrive at your destination or ship it ahead of time. This is the most difficult item if traveling to a third world country. I had to buy cheap quality (and very strong smelling) solvent in Guatemala. However, I recently learned that Gamsol has a flashpoint of 146°F, so you can bring it if you make sure to bring the MSDS to prove that it is allowable. I have yet to try this.

Bring all paints and mediums in their original containers. and then put the boxes in zip lock bags.

Bring a printed copy of the MSDS for your supplies in case you need to prove the flashpoint. Keep it with your supplies.

I also include a brief typed paper explaining the following points (it is best to use simple bullet points like this example or else they might not read it):
  • These are Artists’ Colors (never use the word “paint”)
  • They are made with vegetable oil (unless they are acrylic or watercolor in which case indicate that they are water based artists’ colors)
  • They are not hazardous for travel
  • They contain no solvent
  • Indicate the flashpoint
  • Refer them to the MSDS for more complete, detailed information
Be prepared to have your bags opened and inspected. Your art supplies will almost always get a closer inspection.

Doing these simple things will make it much more likely that your travels will be hassle free (at least when it comes to the art supplies).

So go ahead, make those travel plans. Take your paints and enjoy capturing your trip in paint.


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