Wednesday, December 18, 2013

'Twas the Week Before Christmas...

7" x 7", Oil on Panel
Yes, it is the week before Christmas already. I have managed in the past week to accomplish ALL of my Christmas shopping. I even managed to get several presents wrapped. In the midst of this, I am dealing with children's mid-term exams, lots of cleaning and prepping, a strange sounding washing machine, and a stinky dog (haven't figured out what he got into - ugh). Also, because of the stress my husband has been dealing with for his job and the stress of the kids getting prepped for exams, I decided to go and pick out our Christmas tree all on my own - a first. I brought it home, took it off the top of the SUV, dragged it into the house, set it up, and decorated it all on my own. And it's a big, fat tree, too. I LOVE IT! They were grateful for this, I know. I can't wait until they tell me that, too. Riiight.

I also managed to sell three more paintings this week through my show at Beauregard Gallery. My friend and I were able to go and have lunch together at the gallery last week where she had a chance to see the paintings up close and personal. We talked earlier this week and she loves them. So, these three paintings here, "Plume", "Far Shore", and "Tree By The Levee" will go to a new home at the end of December. So grateful. (Heart swell).

"Far Shore"
7" x 7", Oil on Panel
I have also managed to get in a little bit of painting time this week. I am working on a painting for my sister and I do not spend enough time on it. This painting has moved up to the top of my painting "to do" list. My apologies to my sister and her husband for making them wait so long. They are understanding - at least that's what they tell me - and patient. I'm hoping they don't ask for a discount on the price because of this. 

So, with the season of Advent (I am a good Catholic girl) and in the spirit of the waiting and anticipation for what is to come for us on Christmas, I also look to the new year in anticipation for things to come for me and for my art. I know that I am grateful for the support of those that have bought my art for their homes and offices; those that now follow and have taken an interest in what I do for the love of it; for the friends that I paint with on a regular basis - they have indeed provided much laughter, advice (whether solicited or not), encouragement; and especially my family which includes my parents, brothers and sisters plus all of the rest of the family clan, my kids, and most definitely my husband.  My husband now more than ever because I just found out what he got me for Christmas and it's gonna be good!

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah and to you all the Merriest of Holidays!

"Tree By The Levee"
8" x 8", Oil on Cradled Panel

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Can't I just get some painting accomplished?

Art Exhibit and Sale for the Month of December
Beauregard Gallery and Bistro

Well, I finally made it to the month of December. I had a busy November 2013. After the Associated Women in the Arts Archives Gallery Show in October I was ready to have a short break just for painting. However, my friend and trainer, Tonya, offered her house for an open house in the middle of November. I told her I wasn't ready for that but she convinced me - and she was right - that the middle of November was best, especially before Christmas.

So, November 15th found me and four other artists having an Open House. It was my first open house in someone's home. I was a little nervous but thankfully I had my Wednesday Painters there with me showing their work.  I sold two paintings that night. Yipee!!! Debbie sold a couple of paintings and Dana sold a painting and a print and Marylyn sold a painting. What a great and successful night.  The other great thing about this open house was the people that came. There was an overlapping circle of friends among us so it was even more special than I had hoped it would be.  Thank you, Tonya, for convincing me and hosting this for all of us.

Purple Iris
14" x 14"
Oil on Panel, Framed

Red Flowers
8" x 8"
Oil on Cradled Panel

The lady that purchased the Purple Iris was so excited about the painting.  She told me that she was putting it in her home office so she could look at it every day. How cool is that?

The Red Flowers painting was purchased by a friend of mine that I typically show all my paintings to as soon as I've finished them. I hadn't shown her this one before the open house. She told me before the show that she wanted this one but waited until the end to purchase the painting. So glad she did. I know I can go visit it anytime I want.

I do believe my heart inflates each time someone buys one of my paintings. Does this happen to other artists?  I have no idea but it is an awesome feeling.  

On Friday I hung my art for the two-person show I have in the month of December at Beauregard Gallery and Bistro.  I really like the owners. I met them through my brother, David, over a year ago. Later, I realized that their daughter was one of my high school classmates.  Small world.  Also, AWA had a group show there in February that I participated in and it was a beautiful show.  Each time I go over there and visit, it's like spending time with my extended family. Friday was no different. I brought my Dad and my husband along with me to help with the work. I think more time was spent chatting and sharing stories with Mrs. Terrell than hanging the paintings. It just figures that's how it would be - we are southerners after all and everyone loves a good story.

Story Time
Hubby and Daddy listening intently to a great story.

I went ahead and framed this 7" x 7" painting of one of my peach day lilies right before hanging this show. It came out gorgeous. This photo doesn't do it justice. This is just one of the paintings hanging in the show.

At Beauregard, there are already screws in the walls that stay in place from month to month so I was challenged, in a way, to find the right array of paintings for the wall.  Also, I needed to keep in mind the other artist, Diana, and how her paintings would fit together with mine.  

So, now that I'm finished with the Archives Show in October, the Open House in November, the hanging of my December show, I look forward to the reception at the Louisiana Art and Artists' Guild Annual River Road Show reception which takes place on December 13th at the Louisiana Secretary of State Archives Gallery (yes, the same one as October). This show, which is hanging right now, has 75 artists and 75 pieces of artwork. Can't wait.

Maybe, just maybe I'll get some Christmas shopping done this month. Maybe not.

Oh yeah. I'd really like to get some painting accomplished, too. Seriously.

Now, where is that cold beer?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Painting Up On Top of the Levee

"Tree By The Levee"
8" x 8", Oil on Cradled Panel
Click Here to Purchase Through Daily Paintworks

As I'm trying to figure out what to bring tomorrow to paint (we're doing still life paintings cause it's gonna be cold - brrr) I realize that I never posted last week's painting.  This is it.

We sat up on top of the levee near LSU. I sat down and painted this because I forgot the attachment to connect my painting box to my tripod. Then we were interrupted by the Ponchartrain Levee District vehicles because some congressmen from D.C. needed to inspect the levee. I'm not sure how they were able to do that in the back of an SUV with tinted windows, but...I'm just grateful they didn't run me over. Plus, it was really windy this morning.

There was so much to paint because there were so many view to choose from. Jodi was able to paint in the opposite direction and painted LSU with Tiger Stadium in the background. Marylyn was able to paint looking toward downtown.  The two others went back to the LSU lakes to paint. Everyone was satisfied with their paintings and that is highly unusual. Really, five women happy at the same time is a concept my husband just wouldn't believe.  But it's true!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

My pretty face made the paper today!

Associated Women in the Arts
Archives Gallery Show and Sale
October 17, 2013

This is a clipping from the paper this morning. I didn't even see it. My husband had to tell me about it. This is how that went...  Husband - Hey, Nanci, did you see that you're in the paper today? Me - What!?!  (dance, dance, dance around the kitchen) Daughter - See, Dad, I told you she hadn't seen it yet.

We worked so hard on making this show a great show and reception and it turned out beautifully. Several paintings were sold that night, too. And thanks to Pat Wattam for taking this photo and having it submitted to Pam's Party Line in The Advocate. So cool.

My next adventures include one Open House next Friday night at Tonya Polozola's house, with my plein air painting girls (Thank You, Tonya); and then, in December, my own show at Beauregard Gallery and Bistro. Beauregard is located downtown Baton Rouge at 715 Europe Street and is open for lunch during the work week. So get down there next month, grab some lunch, and do some Christmas and holiday shopping. Oooh, gettin' ready, gettin' ready.  

Monday, October 28, 2013

And it was already a good day...

Yellow Flowers
24 x 24 x 2

Well, I was already having a good day because I was able to go out for a run (weather was great), I talked to one of my favorite sister-in-laws, I confirmed my next month long show for December at Beauregard Gallery & Bistro, painted ALL afternoon, didn't have to cook dinner because my hubby did that yesterday, and THEN I get a call from Stacey at Lagniappe Frame Shoppe to tell me someone bought "Yellow Flowers". How awesome is that?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Archives Gallery Show for Associated Women in the Arts, Update

"Far Shore" (Plein Air)
7" x 7", Oil on Panel, Framed
$135.00 (Special Price)
Available for Purchase Right Now at AWA Archives Gallery Show
October 1 - 30, 2013

A few weeks ago I was out at the LSU Lakes painting.  You may recall my story about my encounter with the goose that wouldn't hush up.  Well, I painted "Far Shore" on that day.  I also painted "Plume" the same morning.

These two paintings are in the Associated Women in the Arts' Archives Gallery Juried Exhibit which is taking place this month at the Louisiana Secretary of State Archives Gallery.  Our reception is tomorrow night, Thursday, October 17th from 6:00 - 8:00.  We'd love for you to come out and see our work.  

Here is a sneak peek of some of the art work in the show.  In the top image you can see my two small paintings framed and hanging on the left.  Thanks, Monica Bishara, for the photos.

I hope to see you there!

(Photo credit: Monica Bishara, AWA Member)

(Photo credit: Monica Bishara, AWA Member)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The New Bridge versus the Old Bridge

The "New" Bridge
(Plein Air Study)
8" x 8"
Oil on Canvas

Last Thursday I went with my Wednesday Painters out to the Farmer's Market. It was a beautiful day. There was delicious, fresh produce and different types of breads and hummus (yes, I bought all those things). I met new people. I loved it. Well, I loved all of it but the painting I ended up with.

This is an image of it. It's all that's left of the painting because on Monday I sanded it down and put a new layer of yellow ochre paint on top.

Farmer's Market - Now Erased Forever
Lucky for us, it IS October after all, we have been blessed with several days of perfect weather. Clear blue skies, minimal breezes, temps in the upper 50s to mid-70s.  It's been amazing. I don't want to miss too many of these days to go out and paint.

And so all of the girls were in agreement today that we would go downtown to the top of the levee and see what we could find. We hit the jackpot. We found a concrete paved and covered walkway that led right over the side of the river. The three of us took advantage of three different views of the river and the downtown scene. It was perfect.  

So, with the sanded panel I decided I would try to paint something better that I did at the Farmer's Market. I used this sanded panel for the painting  of the "New" Mississippi Bridge (see above)

If you live in my town, you know that we have an "old" Mississippi Bridge and a "new" Mississippi Bridge. Our new bridge has been around as long as I can remember and I am forty-something years old. I'm not even sure how long the old one has been around! Today we had views of both but I chose the one that was closest to us.  

It's strange but this bridge has meaning for me personally. For years and years of my childhood the only time I traveled over this bridge was to go with my big family to visit my grandparents. It wasn't until my high school years when I started playing sports that we had to cross the river to play other high school teams. And still today I rarely cross it unless I am traveling somewhere far away from here. I like to think that when I see this bridge and cross this bridge, I am on my way to my next adventure. It's a part of this town. It's a part of my life.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Orange Tree Minus the Oranges

Orange Tree - No Oranges (Study)
6" x 6", Oil on Cradled Panel

It has been a week and a half and I haven't painted outside.  The last time I painted out doors was at the Farmer's Market.  It was quite distracting with all those people there looking at your work and talking to you.  So, today, I spent my time in my own yard.  This is the second painting I painted this morning.  The first painting was on this panel first but I wiped it off.  It just wasn't working.  The morning was crisp, the sky was blue, and the sun was quite brilliant today.  You would think that these conditions would be good for painting but it was hard to adjust to the glare.  I used my umbrella but I had a breeze and I was distracted with the thought that my whole set up would be blown over by a strong gust.  So, I got rid of the umbrella and change positions and started over again.

On my second attempt I focused on my orange tree, I decided to start off with colors that I just felt like using.  I started with a mix of quinacridone pink and transparent red to color in the tree and the shadows.  Then I pulled in a mix of phthalo turquoise and alizarin crimson for the darks and started putting those areas in.  I played with several other unusual colors just going with whether they were high key lights and darks.  I ignored the green oranges in the tree because I was happy with the way this all turned out without them.  Plus, I was really hungry at this point and wanted some lunch.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Upcoming Juried Shows and More

The Associated Women in the Arts is having a juried show for its exhibiting members October 1st through October 30th at the Louisiana State Archives Gallery on Essen Lane.  AWA's reception is Thursday, October 17th from 6:00 - 8:00 pm.  There were more than 75 paintings that were entered and approximately 40 pieces were chosen for the show. I submitted the three top paintings (shown below) and all three were juried in.  Our juror for the show is Malia Krolik.  She is the Coordinator for the LSU School of Art Galleries.  It's important to note that one other AWA member and I are in charge of the reception for this event.  It is important to us that we make this as welcoming as possible for you.  We want you to come and visit and see the art and buy the art and share the art.  So please come spend the evening with us!

The second juried show that I have been accepted into is the Louisiana Art and Artists' Guild's 44th Annual River Road Show.  This is a first for me.  I received the notice just this morning.  Yeah!  This is a nationally juried show and was juried by Judy Betts. My painting was one of 75 paintings accepted.  There were over 400 entries submitted by 131 artists from 26 states.  Each of the artists has one piece in the show. 75 artists. 75 pieces of art.  The last photo (below) is my entry in this show.

The exhibition is open from Friday, November 15th through December 19th, also at the Louisiana State Archives Gallery on Essen Lane.  The reception and awards presentation will take place on Friday, December 13th from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.  Please come by and visit and enjoy the refreshments on this evening as well.

Associated Women in the Arts
Archives Show

"Trail to Avalanche Lake
"26" x 26", Oil on Panel$835.00, Framed

11" x 11", Oil on Panel$135.00, Framed

"Far Shore"
11" x 11", Oil on Panel$135.00, Framed

Louisiana Art and Artists' Guild's
44th Annual River Road Show

"Magnolia 9"
14" x 14", Oil on Panel$325.00, Unframed

Friday, September 13, 2013

In The Corner of the Yard

"The Corner of the Yard" (Study)
Oil on Birch Panel, 7" x 7"

Wednesday is the day I paint with some friends, also painters.  I was having a hard time getting started because I wasn't getting inspired for some reason.  It's been a busy hectic week and I think I'm finally feeling the effects of the go, go, go of back to school and work.  So, as everyone else was getting started, I continued to walk around and around until I finally noticed the way the light was filtering through these banana trees in the back corner of the yard.  That was all I needed to see.  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Ahhh, the smell of wood and varnish in the morning!

It's here. It's here. It's here. It's here!!  Yeah!  FINALLY!

I have been waiting a long six weeks for this to show up at my door.  It finally came yesterday evening.  However, I was so busy dealing with "stuff" that I decided to wait until this morning to open the box and savor the gift that is this Open Box M pochade box!

Open Box M in the morning light
There's nothing like the smell of fresh cut wood and varnish in the morning.  I can't wait to put it all together with my new tripod and go painting tomorrow.  Today is an "in studio" day but tomorrow we will be out "in the wild" (well, not too wild) painting.  After having borrowed and used a French easel and an open box m, I am pleased with my purchase.  Both have their benefits, but I love the ease of use and convenience of this small box.

Closed view of the box from top down. 
Can't wait to see what happens now.  Especially since I just nailed down a two-person show for December.  I really need to get working!  And with fall coming up on us, the weather will be beautiful. Timing is perfect.  (I'm dancin', I'm dancin'.)

Another view of the closed box.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

That Goose Just Won't Leave Me Alone

Cedars at the Lakes (study)
9" x 12"
Oil on Panel

Yes. I did it. I went back to the lakes today to paint and it was much more interesting today than it was yesterday.   I started off with the maintenance personnel cutting the grass and edging all along the sidewalks.  Of course, it just so happens that they hadn't started cutting under the tree where I wanted to work.  I waited to see if they would get to that area.  Finally, after 15 minutes when they didn't, I decided I will just plant myself in that spot and they would have to work around me.  And they did.

I didn't want to take a picture of him while he was coming toward me.  He'd probably think that was a little creepy.  So I waited until he turned to go back the other way.  Still creepy, I think.

After that, a woman came up to me to observe my amazing painting talent - okay, that's what I thought at first.  We all have egos.  But, she wasn't there for that.  She wanted to talk to me about herself and how she used to paint.  She told me how she had gone to an art school up in Canada and ended back up in the states after going back home (she's oriental).  Now, she's here and her husband is a professor.  So, we chatted awhile until her friends showed up for her to go exercise.  An hour later she was back and we chatted some more.  That was followed by a lady that was on an "exercise scavenger hunt" - which is something I've never heard of, but I totally love the concept.  She wanted to take a picture of me painting because they had to photograph something that made them smile.  When I asked her if she would forward me the photo, she realized she lost her phone.  That led to an unsuccessful search for her phone.  I guess something that made her smile led to her not smiling so much.  I did decide to stop painting and help her look.  But, as I said, we were unsuccessful.

I've heard that you always meet new people when you go out and paint outside.  Since yesterday was so relaxing and tame, I thought this day would hold the same.  It didn't.  It doesn't mean it was less meaningful.  I met two nice people and who knows, maybe we'll meet again.  Maybe my first visitor will get back into painting and find something for herself again in addition to her family, husband, and children - kind of like me.  And if you found a phone at the lakes, please return it.  It's the right thing to do.  It would bring her smile back, too.

And, in the end, it was the goose that tried to get me again.  He actually followed me from one end of the lake to the other while I was searching for the phone.  I thought for sure he would bite me this time. I'm starting to not like him.  

Oh yeah, I did finish another painting.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Does a goose ever get hoarse?

Hahahaha. You get it?  A play on words.  That's what I was thinking this morning out at the lakes when Marylyn and I finally ventured out there to paint today.  We were greeted by a not so friendly goose who kept honking at us and coming at us in a not so friendly manner. We were hoping to set up closer to the water near some picnic tables but the goose had other ideas.  I even asked the park maintenance guy that question and he said, "That one? No. He fusses at everyone and likes to nip at them."  I guess we're lucky we came away unscathed!  So, we ended up choosing the cool spot in the shade of an oak tree.   We have plenty of these in Louisiana.  I took photos of Marylyn this morning as she painted.  I have none of me.  Perhaps I should try a "selfie" next time.  Hummm.  Tried to take photos of the scene that we painted.  We had a panoramic view and the choices of views was great. As you can see, my second painting was painted with dappled light falling on my painting.  I did take the two photos of my work but I did it while sitting in my car in carpool line.  The life of a wife, mother, and painter wrapped up together.  Good stuff.

"Plume" (plein air study)
7" x 7", Oil on Panel, Framed
Available for Purchase Right Now at AWA Archives Gallery Show
October 1 - 30, 2013

Saturday, August 24, 2013

"Life is just a tire swing"

"life is just a tire swing" - Jimmy Buffett

As you know I took off for northwest Montana in July to spend a little time looking for a new home away from home.  I'm not sure that Montana is the place for me just yet but we sure loved it.  We loved all the people we met and all the fun stuff that we did.  You can see here one of the kids playing on the rope over the Stillwater river that runs behind the property where we stayed.  My husband even joined in on the fun.  This is probably how we should spend most of our free time in life.

It was so peaceful and enjoyable out here by the river that we all decided to hang out and do it again on our last night.  Out in Montana, unbeknownst to me, the summer days are much longer than ours in south Louisiana.  So, even though it seems the middle of the afternoon it was much later.  This gave me more time to do everything I wanted during the day and then come back and still have a couple of hours to paint.  While they played on the rope in the river, I painted.  You have to imagine me standing all the way to the right of the tree and bushes on the right of this photo looking back out to the river.  I couldn't see the kids or my husband going out over the river until they were at the furthest point they could swing out and then drop in.  So, it was quite entertaining as they yelled at me to watch (while I was painting of course) when they each went out.  Of course there were lots of "I'm awesome" and "Cowabunga" being yelled.  They did this for about an hour.  When they finished, I was too.  

"Stillwater, Montana" (Plein Air Study)
8" x 10", Oil on Panel

I miss this place already.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

What happens when my husband works from home...

Audubon Lakes (Plein Air Study), 9" x 12", Oil on Panel

Buy through Daily Paintworks here.

So Friday morning my husband decided to work from home which usually motivates me to work somewhere else. So I did. I pack up Debbie's Open Box M, husband's tripod, and my new Best Brella Umbrella (thank God I did that - it was HOT). I brought the dog with me (for protection and companionship, of course). And I spent the morning painting this. When I posted on FB yesterday I mentioned that I needed to upload it to my blog, website, and Daily Paintworks so I can sell it. However, I needed to take care of cleaning bathrooms because we have guests coming.  Well, come this morning, I'm still cleaning.  This happens when you have children.  You clean, they "clean", then you have to clean what they "cleaned", again.  I'm so glad I painted this before I saw their bathroom.  Ugh!  Daily Paintworks, you're next.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Portable - Painting - Pochade

Day 1 - Figure Painting Group
Me on the left, Dad in Middle (Model), Maryland on Right
That's me on the left with my big, portable, metal, clunky easel.  The first large one I've ever owned.  I decided that I would use this one the first day of our new figure drawing group get together.  Basically, it's all I have that is portable and can use at this time.  Actually, this was at my house so it made the situation someone doable.  On the left is Marylyn.  She has an Open Box M with a separate tripod.  When she folds it all up and puts it together for travel, well, it fits just right into her backpack.  And, it doesn't weigh a whole lot.  Hum, which one is better?

The next week we went to Marylyn's house.  I was going to use the metal easel again.  But, Marylyn graciously allowed me to use her French easel.  This is the easel folded up.  She let me take it with me the following week on my vacation to the lake.  I was able to paint several paintings easily.  I'm still using this as I type up this blog.

The next photo shows me using the French easel at the lake house.  It was heavy enough and sturdy enough to use and travel with me by car.  I like a lot of things about this easel.  But, it's not something I want to bring on a plane with me and it surely will not fit into a backpack.  Although, I might get quite a workout if I manage to somehow strap it to my back and trek with it from place to place.  

So, a few days ago I put the word out that I was in the market for a new portable easel and/or pochade box and, I suppose, a tripod to go with all of this.  I have had several responses from different artists.  I've even had one friend that has gone the extra mile for me to contact artists she knows personally that do a lot of plein air painting and gotten their opinions about these "portable painting pochades".  The PPPs (I had to do that.  I said "ppps".)  Okay, just trying to be funny.

Now, the thought of spending more money on another piece of art equipment does not excite me.  Getting a new piece of art equipment that will help me work better and in a happier state of mind does excite me. So, I am taking the time to look at the boxes other artists are using and asking questions.  I have also looked at websites and blogs for input.  One of the first places I ventured to was to Lori Putnam's article on her blog about being prepared for Plein Air painting.  She gave so much information about what important factors to consider when you will be doing this type of painting.  She listed the different types of boxes out there and available for purchase.  She also told us what type of box she uses.  In her article Lori Putnam says the following:
"What do I use and why? 

Although I have tried many of these or friends of mine have them, it seems I always come back to my Open Box M. I have two different sizes. The smaller one works well if I know I am flying with limited packing space. I can still paint up to 16" wide on it so really, I'm not sure why I have a larger one except that I bought the larger one first.  The larger one is called a 10x12 and will accommodate panels up to 18" wide. The palette/mixing area is 10"x12" (hence the name). Just for the luxury of the extra mixing space, I use the 10x12 most of the time. The Open BoxM is light weight and it fits into my back pack with all of my other gear stuffed around it. After I attach the palette/panel holder to my camera quick release plate on my tripod, I can tilt the palette at an angle (see image below). Also see that the palette (bottom portion) is not very deep. I much prefer both of these attributes as opposed to paining on a horizontal surface or into a deep-lipped lid like some other brands have. Tilting the palette helps me keep the sun off of my mixing area (which tends to mess up the accuracy of my values). " 

This is the same box my friend, Marylyn, is using.

My husband was also kind enough to make me a box based upon a box made by James Coulter which can be found here at Art Box and Panel.  I like this box but it is too large to put in a back pack and I still don't have a lightweight tripod to use with it.  James Coulter has three different sizes and also has a separate panel holder which has a fantastic design.  Perhaps I should shop for a tripod first and then a new box second.  Hum.  

Here I am in Montana working off of a picnic table because I still haven't purchased my travel painting setup.  

Linda Nickles (go check out her website) gave me the following advice:
My friend Debbie D. told me you were looking at new pochade boxes. I do a lot of plein air painting, and consequently own several different ones. If you are looking for one that is easy to travel with, especially air travel, I'd go with the 8x10 Open M box. It is lightweight, and sturdy with the Manfrotto tripod. I also own the larger 12x18 size. That being said, I prefer using the James Coulter Artbox system because it sets up quickly and easily. Unlike the Open M box, there are no springs to fight with, in getting a panel in place. I have three different sizes of Coulter's Artbox, and I LOVE it. I often take the 12x18 size to workshops. One of the best features of the ArtBox are the two wings that open up on either size of the palette box. They are great for holding a can of turp, or paints, or brushes. You can get the whole system -- palette box, tripod, and panel holder for under $300. Go to his site and check it out. Hope this helps!
Denise Rose sent me this advice via my friend, Debbie.  If you don't know who she is you can check her out on her website and her blog.  She does a lot of plein air work, too.  Here is what she said:
I would recommend the Art Box and Panel (one by artist James Coulter) at this point in time. It is my favorite and I have the smallest size and also the middle size (he has 3 sizes). She does need the tripod that he sells with it because it fits the little "handles" on the box. It is the easiest to set up and the quickest and for plein air painting, my favorite. Tell her to google them and take a look. You can also give her my email if you want and tell her to ask me anything!!
So, it all has come back to the James Coulter model box and the Open Box M box.  The first one I kind of already have since my husband made one for me based on Coulter's box.  And the second, well, I just finally ordered one.  I ordered the Open Box M and a tripod to go with it.  It was a financial investment for me but I can justify a portion of the cost since my husband is a great photographer and will be happy to use the new, lighter weight tripod for his hobby, too.  If I decide to let him.

So, now the waiting game begins.  I have to wait 2-4 weeks before this new box comes in the mail.  Hurry!  Please!  Hurry!  Thanks.

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