Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Building a Pochade Box, Part 2

My woodworking skills are crap, and my measuring skills are even crappier (hooray for poor math skills!) So I employed my girlfriend to help figure out the separate sizes and parts. The wood we got from Michaels was 1/4” thick, 12” x 24” birch plywood, so the plans were made to fit as many pieces as possible on as few boards as we can. In the end, 3 pieces were used.

Above are the plans for the box. You’ll notice some pieces marked trays; these were to eventually be trays I can clip to the side to hold water cans, tubes of paint, and possible brushes when not in use. I unfortunately didn’t get them done in time for the trip, but I did find a decent solution in time, which I’ll cover later. These aren't scaled up to 100% - I used the plans just as reference for drawing the lines on the wood. Each piece should butt up against another one to converse wood (in the event you muck up something and come out with a bad piece, like I did a few times.)

With wood and plans ready, all that was left was the hardware. I got everything from Home Depot, so hopefully finding these won’t be too hard for anyone else. Here’s a rundown of the supplies:

-3 pieces of Birch Plywood, 12” x 24”, quarter inch thick.

-Packet of small craft hinges (they’re brass colored, and are the sort of hinges that would go onto a jewelry box.

-4 packets of L-Shaped “Decorative Brackets”, to reinforce and strengthen the box.

- Bag of #10-24 x ¾” machine screws (Should contain both the screws and nuts)

- Bag of ¼” – 20 x 5/16” Tee Nuts (to attach the tripod to the box.)

- Box of ¾” brad nails (to reinforce the box while the glue dries.)

- Elmer’s Wood glue

- 2 3/16” x 5-1/2” Turnbuckle Eye/Hook (For holding the box open)

- Jigsaw or something else that can cut quickly and accurately

- Drill

- If possible, a Dremel tool with the small drill bits, or an equivalent type of tool (for pre-drilling screw holes.)

- Sandpaper

- A few hours of time

As I’m going over the construction, I’ll explain some of these supplies in more detail when we get around to using them.

In the next post, I’ll go over cutting and putting the two halves of the boxes together.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Building a Pochade Box, Part 1

There it is. My homemade pochade box. It’s probably the ugliest box in existence (not to mention slightly wonky, as my woodworking skills are lacking,) but it’s a terrific solution for someone that can’t or won’t* shell out the big bucks for a professional pochade box. I’m still trying to figure out the total cost (on account of a few mistakes and jigsaw that needed to be purchased,) but I think for the materials the cost rests somewhere between $20 to $30.

*(I should note that I DO eventually plan to get one of those wonderfully handcrafted pochade boxes…it’s just not in my budget at the time, unfortunately.)

For the unfamiliar, a pochade box is a portable outdoor painting kit - developed as a convenient way to carry supplies out into the field to perform plein air painting (French for “in the plain air”.) There’s a wide variety of pochade boxes in use today that fulfill different needs of an artist. It’d take a whole post to go into this, but fortunately Charlie Parker of the blog “Lines and Colors” covered this topic before when he was purchasing a pochade box. For the curious, here’s a link to the exact article: Lines and Colors' post about Pochade Boxes.

I would also recommend that if you haven’t seen his blog yet, I heartily recommend it – it’s easily in the top ten of art blogs on the internet.

So what made me decide to build a pochade box and try my hand at field painting? Vacation.

I went up to the Smokey Mountains this past week, and after looking at some photos of the area, I decided that it’d be a perfect place to give field painting a try (as a forewarning, I should mention the results were a bit atrocious, pretty much because of my lack of skill in traditional painting AND landscape painting. But it was a great learning experience!)

My budget wouldn’t allow me to actually get a nice pochade box, but I was able to construct one. In the end I think it’s design is somewhere trapped between an Open M box and an All-In-One (though if it had to be categorized, it’d fall into the latter.) And I decided to go over the construction in the next few blog posts to hopefully help some other people that are curious about how to go about it.

So, onto the first step: Figuring out my goals!

I made a short list of things I wanted out of my box – these were going to help me figure out the design and dimensions of it:

-Light, but sturdy

-Cost affordable (it should not be more expensive than $50, even that would be pushing it.)

-Able to hold a 9 x 12 watercolor block in portrait or landscape orientation

-Able to hold most, if not all, of my painting supplies

-Mounts on a camera tripod without modifying the tripod itself.

On Tuesday, I’ll go over the plans and supplies.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

World keeps on turning...with sketches!

As is often the case, life gets in the way, which can hold up something like blog posting. Fortunately it wasn't anything terrible, just the usual hustle and bustle of things.

Most of this stuff is digital this time around, and in color! There's a few things here and there that are observational paintings (a panel from Batman: Year One and a 10-minute still life study), and a few imaginary things.