Two scary questions popped into my head as I prepped for my very first plein air adventure:
How does one carry a wet oil painting back to the car?
Much less put it in the car to get home?
Especially when you drive like me.
(Ok, that was for you John Mackenzie you earned a gold star after our harrowing I-405 drive many years ago. But hey, you lived to tell the story.)
There are a lot of really good solutions on the market but I’ve always had an affinity for the original MacGyver series. As a result, I decided to make my own wet panel carrier. As it ended up, I made three sizes: 16×20″, 11×14″ and a 9×12″.
What follows is an incomplete attempt at showing you how I made it. Maybe it’s a good thing I got out of instructional design after all? Using one sheet of foam core board I cut it into the following as shown in the picture:
Side (Left) – Side (Right) – Top (Lid) – Bottom – Front – Back
But how did I know the size to cut? Good question.
For each size I knew it had to be slightly larger than the panel it was to carry. I laid a panel on the foam core board and then eyed it. Not the most scientific method but it worked. If it’s a little off nobody will take away your birthday as a result. Besides – duct tape cures all.
Once I had the panels cut I then glued the balsa wood channels in place using gorilla glue. Make sure you have a good flat surface to work on and also a really heavy book helps hold everything in place and flat. I took my panels and held them on edge and drew a line so I would know where to glue the strips
I also had to think about the handle. A 9×12″ box is different than a 16×20″ box hence the different style of attachment. The 9×12″ got a ribbon whereas the 16×20″ got a threaded screw with some washers. I even drilled through the balsa wood on the large so it would help provide structural integrity.
Last summer I spent a lot of time in Toronto and that meant I was using their wonderful public transport system. I wanted to be “hands free” as I roamed the city streets. My 9×12″ wet panel carrier was designed to fit inside my backpack meaning I went all over town and only had my backpack to contend with.
What’s fun is that you can paint a diptych (using duct tape to hold the center together). Just fold and insert back into your wet panel carrier. In fact, this diptych was field made as I tore some duct tape off my box to hold the center together. See, duct tape cures all.
Hope this helps you think through if you want to build your own wet panel carrier or after all this, just go buy one and save the hassle… either way, you still have to get a wet panel back to the car and home…
onwards and sideways,