You can greatly enhance your creativity by doing lots of studies in a small format. By using small homemade pochade boxes like these, there is no excuse not to carry one or a few wherever you go to do rapid plein air studies. And the best of it is that they cost less than $10 and take no time to make. Here’s how to do it.
Homemade pochade box: the palette
Make the palette by laying several strips of masking tape onto a cigarette box. You can use the lid for mixing, and the base for your colors.
This is perfect for creating small sketches like this one:
Alternative palette plus panel area
Alternatively, you can make a homemade pochade box using a slightly larger very lightweight plastic box. These boxes are sometimes used for watercolor painting. You can tape a couple of small pieces of linen or canvas to the lid to paint on.
I found this pencil case which is a perfect box for three or four small sketches. If you have a few of these you can carry a large number of wet sketches for virtually no weight. This is a great setup when you are hiking.
Pizza box pochade box
To make the box, simply cover the base of a regular pizza box with strips of wide masking tape. The masking tape makes it easier to clean, and prevents the paint sinking into the cardboard and drying out.
Here are a few of my small quick color sketches I made using this setup.
- Use just one large brush. I use a worn filbert size 12. If you wear it into a triangular shape, you can use the tip for detail.
- Carry a little plastic bottle of odorless mineral spirit with you for cleaning your brush. Or you can use water if you are using water-soluble oils.
- You can also carry a little bottle of linseed oil with you. If you dip your brush in linseed oil when you have finished painting, it will prevent the paint drying on the brush.