Packing Up My Studio

Friends, after nearly a year, I am going home.

At an ungodly hour tomorrow morning, Sir and yours truly will be loading up the car and heading to Michigan for a bit. Now, I’m sure it will come as no surprise that I am a tad OCD when it comes to packing. I tend to freak out a little if I forget anything. So, several years ago, I created a printable packing list that I carry around the house with me, checking things off as they go into the suitcase. I update it as necessary (adding all of Sir’s travel necessities was a pretty big undertaking) and it has yet to fail me (majorly, anyway).

We are also very, very, very, very heavy packers. Because of this, flying is always a nightmare for us. Several times, I have stood at the baggage check holding my breath as our suitcases were weighed. Usually, we are within about half a pound of going over the limit. Whew.

Anyway, the one thing that I haven’t accounted for on the packing list is art supplies. The last time I traveled, I knew I wouldn’t really have time to work on anything, so I left pretty much all of my art supplies at home. This time, with my parents happily keeping Sir occupied, I may be able to fit in a little work. That leaves me with one question: WHAT do I take?

The very, very, very, very heavy packer in me says, Take everything! The limited space in my car says, Uh, yeah…no.

I recently discovered that I can fit nearly all of my watercolor pencils in my Art Bin. So, I’m going to cram as many of them in as I can. I’m also definitely taking my pan watercolors, black ink pens, and assorted brushes (going to have to be careful about not going overboard there). I would love to take some wood panels, but that means hauling fixative and varnish along too, so that they don’t get damaged on the way home. But, it would also mean actually finishing some work, which I desperately need to do. And that reminds me of another question: What finished work do I take?

There is a gallery that I LOVE to visit whenever I go home. It is located in the lower level of a former mental institution. So, you know, my work should fit right in. Heh. Last year when I was there, my body of work was still quite small. So, I chose not to approach them about showing them my work. Now that I am finally starting to build a portfolio, I would really like to show them some of my pieces (as long and I don’t freak out, hyperventilate, and die first). My illustration portfolio travels well, but I am also considering taking some pieces from my two-color series (which may not fare as well, crammed in the backseat between a menagerie of stuffed animals and a bag stuffed with cheese crackers and M&Ms).

The more I think about what I think I need, the more I start moving toward that whole ‘Take everything!’ mentality. I need some guidance here, people. What would you do? Which art supplies do you travel with? Should I schlep a bunch of finished work in hopes of securing a sweet spot in a gallery in my home state?

photo : watercolor pans by yours truly


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3 thoughts on “Packing Up My Studio

  1. ooh how exciting, about the gallery. i can totally see your abstract color pieces in a gallery. good luck!

    i, too, have to battle major “but i want to take everything” tendencies.

    Do you have photos of your work in a portfolio? Is taking a few key pieces plus a lot of photos an option? That way, if they are interested, you just ship them the other pieces as soon as you get home.

  2. HI Ruth,
    I am also in the packing mode, as my office will be going through a remodel this summer (hopefully soon). I have found that the more I pack away, the more creative I have to be and the less I am tempted to resort to old, familiar methods (digital, in my case). So my advice is pack light and keep it simple–pick a medium you haven’t been working with lately but wish you were (I chose watercolors) and make it a ink & wash or cut paper or fabric or rubber stamp or whatever you chose “summer camp.” Good luck and have fun!

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