KAREN’S SUGGESTED PASTEL SUPPLY LIST
There is no need to go buy a lot of supplies for the workshop. Plan on bringing what you
have and your own preferred materials. I have put together a list of suggested supplies.
These are the materials I will be using. We will be working outside (plein
air) so I am including some suggestions for plein air supplies and packing as well.
Feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about supplies.
• PASTELS: A selection of soft pastels. It is also helpful to have a selection of harder
pastels such as Nupastels for wet underpaintings. It is best to have all of your pastels
in one box which makes it easier to handle for plein air painting.
• PAPER: Sanded pastel paper. Note that LaCarte sanded paper cannot be used for
I suggest at least 5 pieces for each day in a variety of sizes: 5x7, 8x10 , 11x14.
- (optional) Rubbing alcohol and a cup. I use 70% rubbing alcohol.
• (optional) workable fixative for texture techniques. I use Blair Low Odor workable
- small watercolor set (any kind)
- Brush. Inexpensive brushes are preferred. Either stiff or soft.
- Backing Board. Foam core is fine.
- White artist’s tape or clips to attach paper to backing board
- Easel and small table for pastels
- A small sketchbook
- A pad of tracing paper to store finished paintings.
- A selection of reference photos. (in case of rain) Preferably your own photos!
Suggestions for Packing for Plein Air with Pastels
Keep it simple so plein air can be easy and fun!
All of the pastel boxes, easels and carts sold for plein air look so enticing but the lighter
your load and the easier it is to set it up, the more you will want to go outside and
paint.....so remember to keep it simple! This list cover the basic equipment you will
need for a successful plein air outing. Feel free to adjust it to suit your needs.
How should I carry my pastels?
There are many pastel boxes and systems you can buy and the best is the Heilman Box
backpack size which also makes a great box to bring to classes and workshops.
I encourage you to just make your own box and keep it packed and ready to go. It is
easy to make a box using a cigar box and foam.
How many pastels do you need?
You only need a small selection of pastels for your plein air kit. If you break your pastels
into smaller pieces you will fit a bigger selection. 60 pastels is a good number to have.
Make sure you have a warm and cool version of each primary and secondary color and
5 steps of value for each color.
*Depending on your painting location you may want to add special colors, for example
more turquoise for the caribbean. Look at photos of the location for colors.
A french easel is a nice thing to have but it is heavy and takes time to set up. All you
really need is a lightweight portable easel such as the Bristol easel. I use a Heilman
sketchbox with an easel attachment and a tripod. Keep it simple and manageable!
3. PAPER & SUPPORT
• You need a support board for your paper. I use foamcore or gator foam cut to
about 11x14. I use artist tape but you can use bankers or bulldog clips to attach paper
• Paper....you will probably want to work no larger than 8x10 so bring an assortment of
your favorite paper. Bring several small pieces (5x7, 6x8) for field studies. I put my
paper in a clear plastic folder/envelope or a thin portfolio book.
• You need to protect your finished paintings. I put my finished paintings back into the
portfolio book. A pad of tracing paper works great!
• If you only plan to paint 1 or 2, bring 2 support boards with paper and glassine already
attached. Hold the boards together with binder clips for protection.
4. OTHER SUPPLIES
I like to put my extra supplies in a small zipper pouch. Some of the items I carry are:
artist tape, small scissors, pencil, markers and mini sketchbook for thumbnails, extra
* sometimes I bring a leakproof container of rubbing alcohol and brush or small
watercolor set for underpaintings.
* Baby wipes for clean-up
- garbage bag to pack out trash
5. COMFORT ITEMS
You will be outside in the elements so be sure to bring along items to make sure you
stay comfortable. I pack mine in another small zipper pouch. Some of the things you
bug repellent, sunscreen, small first-aid kit, plastic bag in case of sudden rain
6. BACKPACK or WHAT TO CARRY THIS STUFF IN!
You need something to carry your supplies in. I recommend a lightweight cart on wheels
or a backpack.....something that you can leave packed and isnʼt too cumbersome to lift
in and out of your car.
Final thoughts.....Donʼt forget your cell phone and camera. Dress for the weather and
wear a hat. Bring water and snacks.
Above all......enjoy the experience of being outside and experiencing nature with all of