Thursday, May 27, 2010


I leave for Alaska in exactly two weeks. This trip has been in the works since last September, and has fed my daydreams through the winter (yes, I realize how strange it is to daydream about Alaska to escape from ones winter). I have my ticket, I've reserved my hostel, we've rented an RV, hilarity must ensue! I'm so excited!

Now comes the tricky bit as I try to encapsulate my studio into an airline approved backpack. It's been nearly two years since I traveled with paints and the rest; I've gotten spoiled by the luxury of studio with four walls and places to put all of my things. My landscape kit includes a lightweight aluminum tripod easel, a homemade box of sorts (made of a masonite-like boards and fabric from a pair of old jeans) that holds my canvas and my palette, a brush holder made out of a bamboo placemat, and a Tupperware container full of paints. Not quite as classy as a French easel, but much lighter and more compact. My friend Kelly, who's coming to Alaska as well, and who has done considerably more landscape painting than I have, told me yesterday that in addition to all that I now need MSDS forms for each individual paint to prevent airport security from confiscating the tubes from my checked luggage. MSDS, or Material Safety Data Sheets, explain, in this case, that the paint isn't explosive, particularly dangerous or likely to take down an airplane. They also tell you about any health warnings that may belong to the materials in a particular pigment. Unfortunately, the sheets are often several pages long, luckily, the DickBlick website has them for every applicable product they sell, so you can print them from there. So, it seems my luggage is going to contain a change of underwear, a toothbrush, my painting materials, and ten pounds of explanatory paperwork. We will be outside most of the time, perhaps I can get away with wearing the same clothes for two weeks. Then again, perhaps not.

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