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Nick Baxter: Live Without Dead Time!

By Nick Baxter 
“Live without dead time!” One of the slogans, courtesy of the Situationists, that I try to live by. To me it means making productive, efficient, and enjoyable use of one’s short time on this earth. I find it easy to embody this ethic at home in the familiar environment of the studio, where steady progress is made on paintings and other projects. But it can be tough to halt progress and pull away in order to travel, and even tougher to get back into that same productive, creative sweet spot after returning…

One solution to this interruption is to bring the studio with me, if I suspect I’ll have some free time during my trip. I’ve developed a system that helps me fit all my painting necessities inside a cloth-bound, folding brush and paint holder that’s approximately the size of a thick 3-ring binder. This makes it easy to travel with art supplies and be ready to work wherever I may be. My most crucial travel items consist of:

  • approx 10 small tubes of paint
  • approx 30 brushes
  • small vial of Alkyd medium
  • small vial for OMS
  • collapsible mahlstick
  • small rag

I usually stick to smaller sized paintings while traveling, to make packing and transport easier. To save space in my bag, I wrap my painting panel with my packed clothing, for padding and protection.

Sometimes a simple tripod-style collapsible easel is necessary, but often enough my destination has adequate desks or other furniture to take advantage of and provide a makeshift studio setup.

I make sure to work with quick-drying mediums while on the road, so that my painting will be dry enough to pack again into my luggage, after working on it the day before departure.

Painting at my parents' house: mid-afternoon, overlooking the water.

(Nick Baxter is a tattooer and blogger for Tattoo Artist Magazine. Nick can be found here: www.nickbaxter.com)


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