The painting outfit that I use at the present moment.
I used to sit cross legged on the ground and paint on a block with the pallete sitting beside me when I first started doing watercolours. I always painted out of doors and most often during my lunch break, so ease of transportation and set up were of great importance. Crossed legs are not so comfortable these days and I paint standing up, I can paint from the shoulder and can step back to evaluate the painting more easily.
I have tried a number of setups but this meets most of my requirements . It is light, durable, packs small and easy to setup. I can change the angle of the board to stop the sun shining on my painting and for water flow control while I am working.
A standard photographic tripod with a ball head. I have settled on the Slik sprint pro II after trying many different types. It is light, durable, and compact enough to fit in a small suitcase , the legs spread out to provide more stability when you are painting in the wind and it is reasonably priced.
I have a number of them, all purchased from www.bhphotovideo.com
The paper board, I haven’t come up with a better name for it
I use a light weight board cut to be about 1/2 inch bigger all round than the paper that I am working on, I clip the paper to the boards at the corners. The board can be made of any lightweight durable waterproof material, 1/4 inch ply, Gatorboard, hollow core plastic sheeting (Coroplast). The board attaches to the tripod with a threaded insert to fit the tripod screw, Guerrilla painter http://www.guerrillapainter.com Ken Bromley Art supplies http://www.artsupplies.co.uk/ also supplies them makes a threaded aluminium plate that works very well. I usually carry a couple of different sizes of board with me. The board also help to protect the paper when they are in the bag.
My palette support board
I use a lightweight board attached to the tripod to place my water containers, brushes and sometimes my palette while I am working. It is a convenience that is very hard to live without. My board is made from 1/2 inch Gatorboard, a very strong foam core board that stands up to abuse, 1/4 ply would do as well.
The cutouts fit my tripod and and allow the board to rest on the tripod clamps with the centre post of the tripod adjusted to hold the board in a horizontal position, you can put holes in the board to hold brushes and I have also put velcro tabs on to hold my water containers in place when the wind is blowing.
I use good quality tube paints, I used M Graham brand for many years,I really liked the colours and the strength of the pigments it is very easy to get big juicy washes with it.
Unfortunately the moistness that allows this made the Graham colousrs less than suitable for plein air work here in Bermuda where the pigments would migrate in my closed palette box which I usually carry on its side in my bag. Some of the colours Cobalt tourquoise in particular simply will not dry in large masses in Bermuda’s moist environment.
I have since switched to mostly Daniel Smiths colours, I was using their Quinacridones anyway, they seem to make the only real Quinacridone Gold among all the manufacturers, they must have bought a ton of it before the Pigment Manufacturers stopped producing it.
The Daniel Smith colours and the Winsor & Newton pigments will dry and not migrate in a palette box. I just have to do a little more work getting them moist before I start painting.
My overall palette changes over time as I get interested in different effects. However I do have a core set of colours which I always use and which are always arranged in the same sequence on my pallette so I don’t have to search for a colour when I am busy putting down a wash.
Basically I have a warm and cool variation of each of the primaries.
Cadmium Yellow Medium
Quinacridone Burnt Orange
A long list but my most used colours are Ultramarine Blue, Quinacridone Burnt Orange and Cobalt Teal which I find very very useful for Bermuda water.