Saturday, May 08, 2010

Word of the Day - Pochade

We recently had a picnic supper at Barnet Marine Park on Burrard Inlet about a ten minute drive from home. I was on the hunt for potential views to paint and I found at least one hundred. The image here is a photo, not a painting, so don't get too excited.

The next day I tried out my new pochade box. Pochade - pronounced pe-shod - is the French word for a sketch, generally used to refer to an outdoor sketch painted to catch the atmosphere and colours of a landscape. A pochade box is designed to carry the tools and supplies required to make such sketches and it has a built-in easel.  I can report that I felt trĂ©s French and definitively painterly using my pochade box, even though I was indoors at the time!  At least I was looking out the window to capture the feeling of the landscape.  
It was a test run on the new equipment. I learned to adjust the levers and wing nuts, used the sliding palette tray and I found the secret compartments. I am sure it will improve my paintings.
The photo here shows the pochade box sitting in my studio. The painted sketch is sitting in place snugly slid into the holder in the lid of the box. You can see my scene outside the studio window. In the background, top left corner, sits an unfinished still life on my easel.

The photo on the right shows the pochade sitting in my studio.
The painted sketch is sitting snugly in place in the lid of the box. Outside the window is the scene I painted.

The photo below shows the sturdy tripod with a 'rock skirt' in the centre of the legs. On windy days you can place a few rocks or a boulder in the skirt to hold the whole contraption down. My next steps: cut an inch off the tops of my long brushes so they fit into the brush tray and head out to a building supply store to buy a sheet of masonite and have it cut up into 9 x 12 panels to paint on.
More here on pochade boxes. I purchased mine online at Dick Blick. It arrived by Fedex in less than a week, a remarkable feat on shipments from the US to Canada. Now I'm getting really excited about the summer weather and painting outdoors.

Thanks Elsa for your tips on the pochade box.


  1. this is an excellent "portable crafting" post :)

  2. Hiya Shelley, like your little pochade. :-) I have the 'pocket box' pochade of the same brand and just love it. Really sturdy on the tripod, compact...very comfortable to use, aren't they. :-)