Friday, March 13, 2015


A plein air painter recently emailed me asking for a solution to an annoying problem and I’ve decided to share the solution I sent him.

He wrote that when he sets out his oil paints in the pochade box in preparation for a field trip some of the paints are so oily that gravity causes the paints to slip when the palette goes from being horizontal to vertical.

One of the solutions I suggested is shown in the photo below. I made a small tray that fits snugly within the top edge of my pochade’s palette area.

I load my juicy, oily paints on that tray. For travel I slip the tray into a cardboard box (sleeve) that I carry horizontally in my bag. When I set up my pochade to paint I insert the tray of paints at the top of the palette and I’m ready to paint.

Back home I pop the box with the tray of paints into the freezer to keep the paints fresh. Oils harden by oxidation and freezing prevents that. Next day it takes only a few minutes for the paint to return to normal and I'm good to go again. Hope this is useful.

Questions? Email me at

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