Jeremy Sams Art Blog

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My Latest Pochade Box

Agur wrote in the Book of Proverbs 30:15-16,
"...There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough: The grave; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, It is enough."
I believe Agur would have added one more character if he would've know any plein air painters in his day..."the plein air painter saith not, just one pochade box is enough".

This is my 3rd box, and I just can't get enough of the thrill of building my own homemade pochade boxes. So, what's different from this one and the other two? Well, I'm an acrylic artist, and I get tired of my paint drying so fast and being wasted en plein air. Us acrylic artists have several things against us besides the fast drying qualities of acrylics...heat, wind, and transportation from one place to the next while our acrylics sit and dry in transport. The heat and wind I can't help...but the drying-during-transport problem...I can.

I finally bought a sealable palette from Hobby Lobby (40% off coupon, of course) to help with my wasting paint dilemma. So, I had to build a new pochade box to accommodate the 9.25" wide, 13.25" long, and 1.25" deep dimensions of the palette. I used the same materials as my second homemade pochade box...except for the friction hinges as found on my first box. The increase of weight, due to the increase in size of the box, caused me to incorporate some new features. Instead of mounting my water can on the box along with a brush holder, I decided to make a separate panel to mount to my tripod legs to hold that extra bit of weight. See below:

This little panel slips onto the front two legs of my tripod. With the large hole cut into the front center, it snugly holds my brush cleaner eliminating the weight that would have been hanging off one side of the box...causing more stress on the head of my tripod. A slot was cut on the right in order to slip my knotted cotton rag into for wiping brushes. My brushes stand comfortably upright in the holes drilled on the left. It also works well to rest things on top of...such as my spray bottle of slow drying medium/water...or, more palette space, if you needed it.

When I'm finished painting, I remove the panel and place it on top of my sealable palette, close the lid...and, voila! Now, I'm ready to travel again.

Even though the box is slightly larger than my first homemade pochade box, it still fits easily into my back pack. The canvas panels attach the same way as my other boxes, courtesy of the design of Jim Serrett.

Here's a pic of my sealable palette...notice the moist chamois cloth mounted in the lid:

The chamois cloth keeps moisture in the sealed palette to keep the paint from drying. It's attached to the lid by using velcro. You can buy sticky-sided velcro at your local hardware store by the foot. I bought one foot of this material for about $1.60 or so. The velcro is stuck to the lid with it's rough side facing up...Thanks to my wife, Crystal, the opposite piece was sown into the chamois cloth...the sticky side of the velcro wouldn't stick to the wet chamois material, so it had to be sown.

Notice the red and yellow paint on the lid? Yeah, that's my one critique of the Golden Open Acrylics...great paint and very slow drying...but a little runny. Hiking several miles in the mountains...with my palette inside my new homemade pochade box...while tucked inside my backpack in a vertical position...causes the paint to run all over the place making my palette look like a small Jackson Pollock painting. So...back to the drawing board on how to fix that problem.

It just never ends. But, it's all in good fun :)


  1. Hi Jeremy,
    Great work and great blog.
    Did you figure out how to fix this, so the Golden Open Acrylics wouldn't run all over? Thanks in advance for your answer!

    1. Thanks for the comment! I did figure out a system...I made a wooden palette and cut holes big enough to fit small sealable craft containers inside. The hold my acrylics and now they don't get wasted. Here's some pics: