Last Updated 25 Oct 2009

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My Art Page...


This is a relatively new hobby which I started around 2004 and then pretty much packed it in after a couple of fruitless years of trying to learn how to paint watercolours. I've started to pick up the brushes again though and now that I've resigned to the fact that I'll never really be any good, I can start enjoying the painting for the fun of it!

Very recently, I got a Pochade box and am going to have a stab at doing some small works in oils. The pochade idea appeals to me greatly because the painting needs to contain no real detail and is supposed to be more of a sketch than anything else. My friend Brian paints outdoors a lot, so I'm gonna accompany him and give it a go.

My Art Hobby!

Here's a few of my very amateur watercolours. Don't laugh!!     

This was my first 30x20" painting. It sold for 150 at an exhibition in Horwich


  Competition Winner!

I'm delighted to say that last night (3 Oct 2008) I won the Judge's Choice prize and took home

the Jack Birchall Memorial Cup  for my painting "The Arrangement"




The Jullian Pochade box is a lovely piece of kit, but sadly, it takes canvas panels which are 220x160mm in size and they are extremely difficult to get hold of. Well, the UK importers of the pochade box sell them but they're over 3 each compared to 1 for a similar sized Daler board.

To overcome this, I made some "reducers" which allow me to use common 10x8", 8x6", 7x5" and 6x4" boards. All I did was get a piece of U-shaped plastic trim from B&Q and cut lengths to size, then superglued them onto the 220x160mm boards from Jullian. Works a treat and will save me a fortune. In fact, the Jullian Pochade Box just became a hell of a lot more flexible!!



In addition to the Jullian, I've also got a larger pochade box made by those master craftsmen in America - the Open Box M guys. It's a 10x12 Black Walnut kit and is superbly designed and made from the finest materials. A lot of thought has gone into it.

Some people get a little confused with these OBM's, thinking that the box itself is the pochade, but it isn't. The box is merely a carrier for the much lighter, tripod-mounted device shown below....

The Open Box M Pochade really is very well made. Apart from being incredibly practical and functional, it also gives you great of pride of ownership. They don't come cheap (especially when you have to import them into the UK, but I got extremely lucky when someone else went through the pain of buying one, never used it and decided to sell it on Ebay. For some weird reason, the bidding only went to 45. The lady had paid around 350 for it with all the accessories she'd bought.

Although the whole box weighs around 6lbs, it comes with a very comfortable shoulder strap which makes it barely noticeable as you trek around looking for that perfect composition. Don't forget though that you need to carry a tripod as well. Having said that, there are lots of fantastic tripods that are ultra-light and compact. And remember, if you want to travel light, you can simply pop the panel/palette into a rucksack with your paints and brushes and leave the carrying-box at home.

The box not only carries the palette/panel, but it also holds your paints, brushes, knives, and it even has a built-in wet canvas carrier! The kit I bought also has a spare brass tray which fits on the side, a kitchen roll holder and a brass brush-can. You'll see from the photos that it also comes with a palette-extender which fits very neatly to the side (left or right).

The 12x10" pochade will actually hold painting boards up to 18" wide, so it's extremely versatile. Needless to say, you can't store an 18" panel in the box though. In addition to the convenient canvas panel boards that are so common now, it is also perfectly capable of holding a traditional stretcher canvas with its unique mounting system.

Unlike my Jullian Pochade, the panel-bracket is extremely well designed, holding the panel very firmly in place with no fear of any unwanted movement as you paint. Overall, an excellent bit of kit!!




All image and text are Copyright protected. Tom McQuiggan 2009