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  • Ray Monde

How to take your studio with you on the road.

When the corona virus starting locking down cities around the world, my studio became off-limits. I had to find a way to work without the studio.

I throw some things in a box that slowly evolves into my travelling studio. After three months in hibernation, I drive. From Washington to Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. My travelling studio becomes my life. Here’s how to make art on the road.

Cardboard box of art materials

1. Travel light.

I abandon canvas for something much slimmer and firmer. These acrylic papers from Strathmore are ideal for working on any flat surface – floor, coffee table, kitchen bench. Even though they buckle when I load them up with paper and glue, they dry perfectly flat.

The cardboard box fits snug under my arm, I can move in and set up in minutes. The  box has a paper bag inside. It works like compartments. Glue, rags and brushes in the bag. Collage paper in the box,  outside the bag.

magazine paper overpainted with acrylic paint by Ray Monde

2. Prioritise what’s more important for your artwork.

Overpainted magazine paper is critical for me. Before I leave, I sneak into the studio and paint stacks of magazine paper. I choose the colors I need to create bushfire landscapes.

My work is collage, I can travel without paint. There’s less paint mess in hotel rooms and cabins in West Yellowstone and the quiet streets of North End, Boise.

Key tools glue and brush

3. Streamline your tools for art making.

This was hard. Think about the work you’re creating and what you need to create it. There’s a strange freedom in limiting your tools, like painting with a limited palette. It pushes you, tests you.

In the end,  I have an acrylic binder, a brush for application, an old jam jar for mixing, a rag and – if you look very closely – you’ll see two little pins for sticking down tiny bits of paper.

Collage of a landscape devastated by bushfire, burnt trees and a river

4. Just start working.

Working on the road is never going to be easy. Just ask any one who’s painted en plein air. You make it work.

Tiny bits of paper stick to my feet and the motel couch. I am picking bits of stuff out of a deer hide rug. I damage the edges of some of my work when luggage rolls onto it.

Travel is liberating. To be able to travel and create is freedom.

Round topped barn in Idaho with misty mountains, photo by Ray Monde

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