I borrowed this phrase from the recently deceased Canadian painter Robert Genn who believed that there is only so much we can learn about how to paint from the many fine instructors and resources available today. The true learning comes from going off on our own and just doing it - Go to your room!

I have had the good fortune to take instruction from outstanding artists in Canada and the USA. I continue to work on my own development ( Going to MY room!) . I share, through this blog and workshops, what I have learned and what others have shared with me.

I created this blog primarily for those attending my workshops to keep in touch and to further share as we grow together. If others are interested in following that would be great.

Enjoy the journey.

Friday 27 July 2012


Getting ready for tomorrows plein air competition - Prix d'Art at the Old School House Gallery, Qualicum Beach an hour south of here on Vancouver Island. A really fun event that draws 50 artists from the Island and the mainland of British Columbia. 

So this morning I start to organize things, picked up my tripod - and a leg breaks off. Just metal fatigue I guess - I have worked it pretty hard and felt I was going to need a replacement soon. This has been a great tripod, bought 8 years ago from Judsons ( Gorilla Box ) - good tripod at a good price. But I am now tripod-less as needed to support my Alla Prima Pochade that I like best for acrylics - as shown in an earlier post. And I wanted to use acrylics for this event. 

So I set up my Soltek and played with different ideas to make it work. I have used it for acrylics - but don't like it nearly as well as my Alla Prima. For acrylics I like to have a small Masterson Palette for the heavy paints and easy access to the bottles of Golden fluid acrylics that I squirt out as needed - and on to a glass palette where I mix. 

So next I got out my Coulter Art Box system that I have been using for oils this summer. And yippee I think I have a system that will work - in fact, I took it for a "short ride" this morning - spent about 30 minutes at the end of my drive way working on a 9x12 - and think it will do the trick. 

Coulter system set up for acrylics and my transporter cart

Masterson Stawet on the left, glass in the middle and fluid acrylics and medium on the right,
 brushes hanging on the back, two water containers on front

Taking system for a short work out to see if I am happy

Never tried this before - using a cut out view finder - thought it might be good for architectural subjects
Summer traffic in Comox 

Initial block in

The system worked well and let me set up the way I like acrylics to be set up, in fact, having the panel at shoulder height was an advantage over the Alla Prima. The only limitation is that I had planned to work 14x18 but felt it was too big for  the panel holder to support - so I will stick with 12x16 or 11x14. 


  1. I have a Coulter Art Box also and love it. What is the clip you are using to attach the viewfinder? That looks like very cool idea.

  2. Hello Brian! This is James Coulter from Artboxandpanel, you know the "Coulter Plein Air System". I'm glad to see it was of some good use to you. The Masterspm will actually fit down into the STANDARD size palette that I make. I also make an Extra Large Panel holder that will hold up to 20". In closing, I'm just making a few prototypes right now that the Masterson Painter's Pal Acrylic Palette will fit down into and close up with the palette inside. Happy Painting.

  3. I hope I'm not leaving this twice. I typed the comment and then had to type puzzle letters and then my comment disappeared.
    I'm glad to see that my easel is working for you. I am now just starting to make a little bit deeper palette 12x16 that the Masterson Painter's Pal Acrylic palette fits down into and you can close the lid wings with the palette inside.
    I also make an Xtra large Panel holder that will hold up to 20" panels.

  4. Hi Brian,
    I've been a studio painter for years and I'm just getting interested in plein air work. Thanks for sharing your set-up. I'm always interested to see what works for people. Where did you get the clip contraption that is holding your viewfinder, pray tell?

  5. Hi Brian: Looking forward to seeing your painting from the TOSH Prix d'Art. Hope you post the results soon.


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