Saturday, May 22, 2010

Traveling with Oil Paints

Above is my brand new, never used, Yarka easel. It's loaded with paint, brushes, spare parts, hand wipes, and even a few sheets of paper toweling, for packing. I took this photo last year, just before going to India.

This was the second Yarka easel I'd purchased. The first one was made when the Soviet Union was still the Soviet Union; and the one pictured above was made after the Soviet Union broke up. The first easel was a real work horse, but 12 years later, I purchased second Yarka as a backup,
and it was actually $5.00 cheaper, but not as sturdy!

You can see that it held quite a lot of painting materials.
If you were on my mailing list for emails from India last year, you will know that I left this easel in India with a fine young woman artist named Uma.

Here are some tips if you are flying with oils.
In the above photo you can see at the upper right, the small canister for turps. You cannot take solvents, or Liquin, etc., on a plane, not even in your checked baggage. If you use your turp can a lot at home, make sure that you take some time cleaning this turp can - Murphy's Oil Soap is great for this. Pu tin the soap, fill with boiling water, and let it sit. If your can is really dirty, you might have to repeat this several times. You will buy the solvents you need after you arrive at your destination.

In the photo, outside the easel, you will also see some plastic containers with lids, like you store food in. The ones I have, have snap on lids and are great for carrying oil paints. The paint tubes do not get crushed, and if they leak, your luggage is safe! Again, these should be packed in your checked baggage
and labeled with signs saying:
 Artist Oil Colors
 Flash Point 440 °F
The flash point is the temperature that something will burst into flame.
The higher the number the better off you are, but 440 °F
is the flash point for artist oil colors.
Don't use the words "oil paints", which could signal to the airline checkers that there is a petroleum based product involved. Artist oil colors are vegetable based oils, and are just fine for flying.

If you are traveling with pastels, on the x-ray machine, the pastel sticks look sort of like bullets, so let the folks know what you are carrying, and don't be surprised if you get a search.

I have had instances where I have been pulled aside and my backpack searched because of my solvent can. They open it, smell it, wince, then swab it, while I am asked questions about what it is. If this happens to you, don't panic. Let the person checking you know that you are an artist. They are usually pretty interested, and once the swab is complete, they give you your stuff back and let you go!
Sometimes they want to look at your sketchbook.

Now, I just take the turp canister out of my backpack, and send it through through the x-ray with my shoes. Much simpler. They can see it, you aren't "hiding it". So maybe no search.

Palette knifes, put them in your easel, put your easel in your checked baggage
tell the x-ray tech that you are an artist and that you have an easel in your baggage.

When you open your luggage at your destination, you might find a paper with a message about carrying hazardous materials. It's all normal.

1 comment:

graphite packing said...

travel with a paint minyek,
so funny