Where to Go …. and What to Take?

“Whose dream life am I living? Because it’s certainly not mine” (MacLeod, 2014, p. 9).

That statement, while perhaps totally appropriate for Ms. MacLeod at the time when she was unlinking her life from the corporate milieu, is not exactly true in my case. I must be relatively old school as I still enjoy working, I love to teach, I appreciate my current team of highly intelligent and effective individuals in the business world, and I certainly don’t have a problem with the direct deposits that magically appear in my checking accounts twice a month. Nonetheless, I am neither defined by my work nor by my itinerant lifestyle as an online instructor or as a Cyber Security auditor in the electrical industry space. It is merely an enabling feature of my own dream life that allows me to pursue my painting interests in exotic locations.

PCH-005 I like painting in the plein-air style and nothing better than to haul my Pochade paintbox to paint on-site wherever I go. I refined this process domestically when Miss Cyd and I did our Two Oceans in Two Weeks tour back in 2012 when I painted the lighthouse at Pemaquid Point in Maine, then Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach in Oregon the following week. As you can see from this picture, I can also easily fit my Pochade box and tripod into the Tour Pack of my Harley for weekend trips like the one I made down the Pacific Coast Highway in 2013.

IMG_3239 However, I carried a smaller Thumb box to Italy on our trip in the fall of 2013 and painted a view of the Cinque Terre from the balcony of our hotel room (the Albergo Suisse Bellevue) high above the bay. While the Thumb Box is not capable of handling a large canvas, it can support up to a 9″x12″ Gesso board quite well with the new easel mount I built for it. Since a single check-in bag should be capable of hauling the necessary painting supplies to Aix-en-Provence and Paris to support four weeks of plein-air painting in my case, as well as sketching materials, watercolors, and pastels for Miss Cyd, it appears the Thumb Box, a few small canvases, and a limited palette of paints are perfect for this trip. Of course, when we return to Paris to work on my Les Ponts de la Seine series, the close proximity of our flat in St. Germaine to Le Sennelier and Charvin means we can always re-supply as needed. Now, if I could only figure out how to pack two months worth of clothes for two people into another single check-in bag….

Joe and Cyd


MacLoed, J. (2014). Paris letters. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks.


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