Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hail to the Heilman (box, that is)

new box with larger pastels

old box with mostly nubs

my box, in action (See the easel attachment)

I have always loved my Heilman backpack pastel box. That box has seen a lot of action from bears in Virginia to peccaries in Costa Rica. It has been around. An indispensable friend would be the best way to describe it.

Recently I have a dilemma and have been wondering what to do. As my plein air pastel paintings become larger and larger I am finding the need to have bigger pastels. Let me explain. Richard has always called my box, a box filled with "nubs." He teases me in a nice kind of way. The size of the pastel did not matter to me before. Smaller pastels meant more choice on location. That was when my average plein air piece was 8x8. So now when I am working in a 18x9 and 20x10 I am seeing why the nubs are a disadvantage. I need more strokes to cover bigger areas and the paintings becomes "choppy."

So I thought about taking the whole box apart and replacing the nubs with larger pieces. But no, I like working with tiny pieces too. That's when I decide that I have so, so many pastels I could easily make up a new box! Did I have time before the plein air event? I would have to have it by Friday.

Marge Heilman to the rescue. I called her in California on Monday afternoon and she said, No problem." She would have it out immediately. Much to my surprise there it was, at more door, at noon today...a mere 48 hours later. WOW!

I just love this box. I love that it just attaches to my tripod and then has an easel arm attachment for the box (see above.) Less to carry. Sturdy and easy to pack. Now I will carry both boxes in my car and chose which one to use depending on the size of the painting!

If you don't have a box, I highly recommend buying this one. This is my third: 2 backpack boxes and 1 large (studio box.) Buy it here.

You can see that this new box is filled with mostly Giraults (my favorites), some Diane Townsend Terrages and a couple Mount Visions, Unisons and Creatacolor. Two rows of neutrals still control the box. There is a small section of "whites" intentionally placed below the darkest blues. This reminds me of the full range of value. These colors are saved for accents or else a painting looks chalky.

That's it for now. Toodles!


Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

It's been a long time since I've seen the white foam in my Heilman boxes. I have the backpack size and the large size both for plein air (and depending on how far I have to walk from my car to the location). I love the soft memory foam in the Heilman boxes and how it does not wear away my pastels while en route.

I love seeing how you arrange you boxes, too! Have you always kept the neutrals separate?

Casey Klahn said...

Does it use white foam for each section, and then a wooden sheet that the toggles hold down?

I spilled my outdoor box on end, and am now looking for a better way to secure the box for future "drop tests."

Donna T said...

I have the medium Heilman for my studio box but I've outgrown it and can't imagine using it for plein air because it would be too heavy for me. Your two backpack size boxes is a great solution for your plein air needs!

loriann said...

Hi Kvan,
I can see you are a Heilman box lover! Aren't they great?
Yes, I always keep the neutrals separate. I will post about that tomorrow.

Hi Casey!
Yes, that is the way it solid ans sturdy. I highly recommend it! Spilling a box is close to tragic!

H Donna!
You too? A Heilman box lover! Maybe you might need a backpack box too!

Brian McGurgan said...

Always nice to see your pastel box, Loriann. Those nubs look like you can get lots done with them but the need for larger pastels for bigger work certainly makes sense. Are you always smiling pleasantly like that throughout your plein air outings? I'm sure I must scowl a lot and probably mutter a few profanities at times, too. Actually, in truth, I generally get into a quiet focused state if things are going reasonably well - not much smiling but pretty nice most of the time. Not sure if that would get me through a plein air competition, though.

loriann said...

Hi Brian,
I am sure you would do great in a plein air event. I think one just needs to gear up for it. For me, that means preparing my head so I feel settled.
You will have to ask your wife to take a photo of you while you are painting. And then you share it with us. OK?
As for the nubs and the upgraded nubs box,I am sure both will be well used.I will let you know if the size change helps.

Nika said...

I got one of these Heilman babies a few months ago ( a backpack size), following your mention of it from before and love it! Thanks. Enjoy your new box with white foam:)Do you ever clean it the foam? How?