Eagle’s Nest Rock and travelling light

I’m just back from a spectacular week of teaching on Madeline Island with Uma, Jim and Paul, but before I post any of my sketches, I thought I’d report back on travelling light.

I was pretty determined to travel for the week with carry-on luggage only. So many people wrote to me with suggestions and ideas. Thanks for that! I know a week is not a long time but when I teach I like to carry a lot of art supplies with me, and I appreciated the advice.

I’m happy to report that I was successful in reducing my load, and even happier to report that at the end of the week I sauntered out of the airport in Montreal with all my belongings, and breezed past hundreds and hundreds of lost bags that have been accumulating there over the past few weeks.

Full disclosure: I did have one extra bag for the week. My friend drove to Madeline Island from Montreal, and she offered to bring some of my completed sketchbooks so that I could participate in an evening exhibition with the other instructors. Merci Nathalie!!! I would not have been able to bring those with me in my small suitcase.

Travelling with tubes of paint

People often ask me if you can bring tubes of paint in your carry-on luggage. I tested this out and yes, in North America you can, as long as you follow the 3-1-1 rule. All your liquids and gels need to be in a clear bag that is not bigger than one quart, you can only have one of those quart bags, and no single tube of liquid or gel can contain more than 3.4 oz or 100 ml of liquids. I brought along a tube of Titanium White watercolour and am happy to report that it did not trigger any alarms at security. After all, what’s the difference between that and a travel-sized tube of toothpaste?

Art Supplies

I carried one A4 sketchbook, and two pads of paper with me. That was plenty for the week. In fact, it was too much. I also filled two travel palettes, and that turned out to be sufficient, although we did have some paint from our sponsors Daniel Smith and Winsor & Newton, so I might have refilled a few wells of blue after two days of painting. All of my brushes, pens, pencils and erasers were in my Maxpedition bag, and the only other item was my lap easel from Stablo.France.

The lap easel is wonderfully light for travel, but after this workshop, I realize that I will have to bring along a tripod easel for teaching. I think students get a better view of the demo when it’s on an easel. Plus, the next time a deer fly bites me right through my socks, my sketch and my art supplies won’t end up in the dirt.

And since I can’t resist adding one image to my post, here’s a sketch I did of Eagle’s Nest Rock (reproduction quality is poor), at Big Bay State Park on Madeline Island.

25 Comments on “Eagle’s Nest Rock and travelling light”

  1. Donna Skelcy says:

    I was at this Sketching retreat taught by Shari and for anyone who has not experienced the delightful Shari Blaukopf as a teacher, her teaching is a absolute “must-do” experience. She is so generous with her time and a wonderfully friendly person!


  2. Barbara Beynon says:

    Good for you for traveling light! Now I’m sure a number of us will be using your tips! Looking forward to seeing more work from your time on Madeline Island this year.



    Your posts are always so informative! Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I recently purchased the Stablo lap easel and it seems like a good option for carrying light at home or on travel. If you were not concerned with teaching and demonstrating would you be happy with it for personal use?


    • Hi Christine,
      I love the Stablo easel for my own use, and I find it PERFECT for travel. It is just for that teaching I am always moving around to see student’s work, so it is not very practical for that because the water is always spilling!
      But if it was just me, I would carry it everywhere.


  4. TonyU says:

    Great sketch Shari and so pleased everything work worked out for you!


  5. De says:

    Your painting is great! Applause, Applause for your success with carry-on luggage. Glad your trip was successful with a good learning curve.


  6. Laura Kate says:

    Hi, Shari thanks for the report. I am just about to start a trip to NW Wisconsin and your travel tips are helpful. I hope that you will be teaching at the Madeline Island school in future years. I am considering attending. You seem to have so much fun there. (except for the deer flies.)


  7. Denise says:

    Wonderfully informative post, and fabulous sketch. Glad it was a successful trip for you!


  8. Glad things worked out with your traveling light plan. I smiled when I read you sauntered out of the Montreal airport past all the accumulated luggage. Love the rugged rock painting!!


  9. sandidureice says:

    Thank you for this detailed overview of your trip to Madeline Island. Such a pity about the lost luggage situation at the moment. Love the painting; it has so much beautiful texture.


  10. Betty Dickerson says:

    I love this Shari!!! It seemed like it was such a lovely time. How did the folio palette work for you? Did you have enough mixing space? That’s what I am worried about as I learn how to pre-mix a puddle of wash before painting.


    • Hi Betty,
      The folio palette is just great. You can always keep the extra mixing space that the palette comes with. I added pans instead but having the mixing space is probably a good idea!


  11. Patti Waterfield says:

    Those damn deer flies!! Live this sketch Shari!!


  12. mcammeehan says:

    Great sketch and congrats on having a lighter load!


  13. Rlschaffer says:

    I just received a bamboo sketch easel made by Taylor Seamount on Etsy. It is beautifully made, and 11 ounces, so much lighter than the CharlieUSK easel you have. Taylor based this on the James Gurney design but makes very clever use of thin bamboo to make it light and strong where needed. I am very impressed by her easel. I bought the additional sketch board also. The easel can be used as a lap board or tripod mounted. I think it might serve for your light weight travel and teaching sessions.


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