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Trying Out a Pochade Box

I had an old box for storing photographic transparencies that wasn't being used any more. It was just the right size to make a good pochade box, so I thought I would see what I could do with it. I fitted out the lid to hold two 8 x 10 inch panels, with the base holding the paints and brushes and a palette holding everything in place.

For its first trial I took it out to the same location as the previous post. This time it was raining, so it was an ideal opportunity to see how I would get on painting with the pochade inside my vehicle. It worked very well in the cramped conditions and was very easy to use.

When I had finished I just closed the lid and went home. Later, when I opened the box again, I found a blob of Pthalo Green right in the middle of the painting! I think the wood that I used for the palette was too flexible, so it had got pushed up into the lid. I was using acrylics, so normally it would have been easy to wash the green off. Unfortunately, I was trying out Atelier Interactive acrylics, which can be reactivated when they are touch-dry. Wiping the painting removed some of the paint underneath, so I had to repaint that area.

I think I have solved the palette problem by using a thicker piece of wood. At the moment I am using greaseproof paper taped to the wood for easy cleaning. I have also modified the lid so that I can carry a wet painting face-down, so the surface should be protected. Hopefully that will prevent any future disasters.

The Moorland Road
20 x 26 cm


  1. Hi Keith!... Just the initial glitches that one faces with a new tool or trial!

    You won't regret your conversion into the world of the pochade - most especially on those days when plein airing is impossible because of the elements!

    Stick with it! This piece is certainly commendable for inspite of all of the hangups that you faced!

    Good pochading Keith!
    Warmest regards,

  2. Keith. How I love these kind of handmade boxes for paint sets. I've even gone onto some blogs that make these.. I've used wooden cigar boxs and made interesting holders for all sorts of art supplies.. I'm such a 'bag lady' (collecter) .
    Too bad about the green blob but you were able to redo it and the painting turned out really well. BJ

  3. Your homemade pochade is looking great Keith and your initial test with acrylics is excellent. It may take a few tweaks before you get the box just right for you but I think there's a great deal of satisfaction to be had from something you've designed and made yourself. As Bruce has said, pochades really open up the plein air experience with oils and acrylics too. I was thinking of using a piece of glass from a cheap photoframe to use as a slip-in palette to convert mine to acrylics, which I'd seen someone else had done somewhere online.

  4. Hi Bruce,

    Yes I certainly enjoyed my first trial with the box. It was so much easier in the cramped conditions than watercolour, where you have to keep the paper at the right angle and the palette flat etc.

    All the best,

  5. Thanks Barbra Joan. It was seeing all those boxes on other blogs that inspired me to do something with mine.

  6. Thanks for that tip Michael. It might be a bit fragile, but I suppose it would be protected inside the box. I've got lots of pieces of glass, so I think I'll certainly try that. I was also thinking of perspex if I can find a piece somewhere. I suppose I could have several different interchangeable palettes.

  7. Great kit Keith and I like the result already!!

    The Best English artists painted this way,   > Look here <

  8. Thanks for the link René. That was one of the discussions that got me interested in doing something similar.

  9. What an adventure you had Keith with the green paint! glad you have sorted it all out. I love the painting box and also the moorland painting it really is very lovely. Hope those midges stay away, I was getting really bothered by them when gardening before tea time.

  10. Thanks Caroline, it was quite difficult painting over the Pthalo Green; it's such a strong colour.

    The midges don't seem to have been too bad here yet. Fortunately the man-eaters of Sutherland don't get over this far!

  11. This is wonderful, the contrasts are so fantastic. I'd like to contact you be email, but I need the charactaers to type in. If I click on your email address, it does not work...weird!
    Sue x

  12. Thanks Susan.

    I'm not sure what the problem is with the email link, but I'll send an email to you.

  13. Keith it would be great if you could make contact by email. Yours wants to open in 'outlook' and I don't have an outlook email account.If you click on my name you will find my email address.
    Sue x

  14. Hi Sue, I've sent an email to that address.

  15. been using my little box in spain keith,so much fun,like a little notebook and so easy to set up and clear up let alone carry along

  16. Yes I've just seen some of the results Rob - very nice.


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