Folding Stool

Outdoor Watercolors - Folding Stool

Various kinds of folding stools are available for artists. All of them become torture devices when used too long. Pick your instrument of torture carefully, for you are likely to spend hours on it.
I once bought an ingenious little stool made of heavy wire and canvas that folded up neatly into a very small package. It was a marvel of engineering. It worked rather well for me until I put on a few pounds (make that twenty or thirty). At any rate, my weight began to exceed the tensile strength of the steel, and it slowly began to twist and bend out of shape until I found myself facing in a different direction. Time and again I straightened it out, but it finally all but collapsed and I abandoned it pending a significant weight loss, which is still anticipated.
I now use a very simple tripod stool with a canvas top. It folds into a convenient package, and the triangular top seems to be compatible with my anatomy. It was purchased as a camping accessory, and was therefore much cheaper than a comparable stool sold in art supply stores.

As with most stools, the ends of the legs are small, so you must be careful of the terrain on which you plant your stool. On soft soil or sand, you will gradually sink into the earth until your knees are up around your nose---a most uncomfortable working position for watercolor sketching!
I become so totally absorbed in a painting that I often forget to stand up occasionally. This can lead to temporary paralysis. Be sure to stand every so often, walk about, and massage the kinks. Standing up from time to time also gives you a chance to look at your painting from a different angle and distance. This is very important! You will see problems and possibilities in your sketch that are not evident when you are working close up.
I make two final suggestions: Take some insect repellent with you, for invariably some local insect will decide to supplement his diet with artist protein. Artists are ideal targets since they are generally motionless, sometimes for hours on end---literally and figuratively. And finally, take a couple of folded paper towels with you for blotting paint and brushes. This can be very important.
This is all the equipment you really need. Keep it light and simple.


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