What to do if you forget your sketchbook or run out of paper

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Firstly, apologies for not posting the last two weeks. We have had huge problems with our internet and Wi-Fi services but fingers crossed it was all fixed yesterday.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have looked at what art supplies to take with you when travelling on holiday by plane or overland. This short and sweet blog is about what to do if you have been so prolific that you have run out of paper or canvases and have nothing left to paint on.

If you are like the person who was driving to Scotland for their holidays (see the week before last week’s blog), it is going to be tricky. What I am going to suggest here is a bit radical but if you are prepared to make work which is simply for your own reference this solution might be for you.

Even in the remotest of places you travel to there is likely to be a hardware store of some kind. The locals still need to live and repair their homes just like us so ask around to find one near you. What you will need is a small pot of white paint. An undercoat is preferable but basically what you are looking for is water-based white paint.

This will work for watercolour, acrylic and oil although with oil paint I should warn you that there is usually a large amount of chalk in these paints and this will quickly draw the oil out of your oil paints. You might need to counterbalance this with some additional oil but it will also mean you don’t have to worry about drying times too much. There is always a silver lining if you look for it.

Next you need to find a stationers, corner shop or supermarket. They tend to have a supply of cheap paper in the form of children’s sketchpads and colouring books. It’s cheap quality paper but practical for keeping the kids happy and, in this instance, it will be perfect for you. Now all you need to do is to paint the pages with the undercoat, let them dry fully and you will have yourself a surface to work on,  photocopier paper works too.

If you are a watercolourist you might find that your colours are a bit cloudy. This really depends on the quality of the undercoat paint you have bought and the amount of water you use with your paint. You do really need to keep the water usage to a minimum.

For oil painters, as I have already mentioned, you will find that the oil is sucked out of your paints but if you have nothing else available this will work for you and you may find that it is a good solution for your large works on canvas when you get home. I have used this myself when working on an oil painting project and I was short on time. It was a great solution.

For acrylic painters this is a perfect solution for you. The undercoat will give the cheap paper some “tooth” and the acrylic paint will seal and give both flexibility and stiffness to your painting.

This method will also work well with your pencils, pastel pencils, ink pens, watercolour pencils, pencils etc. in giving you a workable surface on cheap sketching paper. This is not archival by any means, but it is a practical solution if you run out of paper whilst away from your home supplies.

Clearly if you are somewhere where there is a good art store, none of the above applies. Just go and buy more canvas or paper. But remember, paper weighs a lot; it is much heavier than most people think. If you have a weight restriction or if you don’t have enough space to store your masterpieces, one option worth considering is to mail them home.

Happy summer painting.




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