How to Travel with Art Supplies

IMG_7017awebSince 9/11, travelling by air became tricky. My air adventures started two or three years post 9/11 and involved packing with an abundance of plastic bags, small containers of liquids and nothing remotely pointy, bye bye knitting needles.

A big part of my current job mandates international air travel, not that I’m complaining there. Frequently, I need to pack my life into two larger checked-in bags, one small carry-on and a backpack that holds my laptop and other much needed electronic devices. This needs to be enough for several months at a time. So it is important for me to bring that part of my life, my life after hours, art.

IMG_7021awebBut how on earth do I pack my paints with changing regulations and the threat of losing them to a TSA agent?

Up until more recently, I just played it safe and put everything in checked-in. But my gouaches did not like the deep freeze, re-thaw process and pinpoint holes developed in the tubes making for a mess and wasting precious drops. Watercolors and other tube paints I would imagine to have similar difficulties.

IMG_7024awebThrough trial and error, I’ve come up with a solution: Bring your non-flammable water based tube paints on board with you.

While they may get you pulled aside by the TSA momentarily, just a quick smile and an affirmation that your potentially dangerous carry-on actually contains friendly water-based paints, and you will be on your way. For oil based paints, do call your airline and if they can travel in your check on, I would get an email confirmation and have a printed copy with you just in case.

IMG_7030awebI haven’t yet gotten to the point of packing all of my art supplies in my carry on, but in addition to my gouache, I stow away my Micro pens, pencils and drawing accessories. Larger, pointer items and liquids that may have the potential to be become landfill waste, all go in my checked-in luggage. That means my palette knifes, inks, scissors, papers, brushes, and art board all get the deep freeze treatment, but I haven’t noticed any difference in the quality of these materials afterwards, so I think that this solution is what will fit.

IMG_7029awebSo if you’re flying out this summer to some place far away, don’t forget to pack your paints! Art and collage journals are often the most memorable souvenirs from the trip!


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