Kit Miracle -Contemporary Impressionist

How to bike and paint

Rolling Studio - Gear and biking suggestions

BikingandArt/BikingwithPanniers.jpg
Bike with rack and panniers

EQUIPMENT - THE BIKE

You don't have to be a racer to be a biker / artist and you don't have to have a fancy bike, either.  My first bike was a Roadmaster on which I put 15,000 miles.  I now use a Trek Hybrid (on and off road bike) that is only medium priced but sturdy.

Your bike should be in good working order.  You can use a back pack, but I recommend having a rack put on it for comfort's sake. 

BikingandArt/Bikewithpanniers-rearview.jpg
Rear view of bike with safety flag.

BikingandArt/Safetyequipment.jpg
Safety equipment is a must. High visibility and a helmet.

The rest of my advice about equipment is just based upon what works for me.  Feel free to adapt your equipment to your own needs.  A major consideration, however, is weight.  Adding 20 pounds of equipment may not seem like much but you'll sure notice it when you're pumping up a big hill.

Easel - I use an aluminum Stanrite travel easel (model 100) which is very light weight, adapts to both watercolor and oils, and best of all, it has spikes which can be driven into the ground.  Even with a canvas on it, it has withstood some very heavy breezes.

Sketching - your favorite sketchbook, Ziploc bag of pencils, pens, charcoal.  You may just strap a small bag to your rack or use a back pack.

Watercolor

  • Covered palette filled with enough paint to last the day.  It should fit into your pannier top or on the rack.  A Robert E. Woods or similar will do.
  • Brushes - 1" flat, #8 and #4. Think about what you will actually use.
  • Paper - I use quarter sheet watercolor paper which I mount between two pieces of mat board or Plexiglas for support.  Anything larger might be awkward but it's your call.
  • Masking tape - to secure the paper.  Paperclips or spring clips will do, also.
  • Water and water container - A bottle of water will probably be enough for the day.  I use an old cottage cheese container for my water holder but there are some nice folding containers on the market.
  • Pencils for sketching, paper towels, etc.

Oil

  • Covered oil paint palette filled with enough paint for the day.  You might also need to bring a ziplock bag of a few paints that you know you use a lot, such as, white, blue, green, etc.
  • Canvas or canvas board - A 12 x 16 will fit nicely into your top pannier bag.  You could use larger canvases but you might end up creating a sail on your bike.
  • Brushes - just an assortment of your favorites, flats, brights and liners for trees. I roll these up in a paper towel and insert them into an empty cardboard roll to prevent them from getting misshapen.
  • Travel container for turpentine or mineral spirits which will lock and not spill. This is used to clean your brushes.
  • Small secure containers for linseed oil and turp.
  • Paper towels or rags, sketching tools, Ziploc containers for used brushes or rags.

Other handy equipment

  • Water bottle for yourself.
  • Lunch or snacks.
  • A hat.
  • Bug spray (swatting flies all day is distracting.)
  • Money, keys, identification.
  • Glasses and / or sunglasses.
  • Band aids or necessary medications.
  • A folding stool.  I personally don't use one as it adds extra weight.  There's always a handy stump, rock or just the ground to sit on.
  • Sunscreen - apply ahead of time and you won't need to take it with you.
  • Cell phone for emergencies.
  • Maps.
  • Camera - regular or digital, film, batteries if necessary.  I used the last shot on my digital recently to  catch a newborn fawn.
  • Bungees of various sizes.
  • Lock for your bike if you think you might need it.

GENERAL ADVICE

If you're just getting starting with biking and painting, take a few practice runs around your neighborhood.  You'll soon learn what works for you.  Don't expect every painting to be a winner but enjoy the process and the outdoors.  You will probably end up finishing your paintings in your studio.  Bike at your own level of comfort and ability.  There is nothing wrong with pushing your bike up a hill that is too steep. This is an adventure, not a race. 

Most importantly, have fun creating art from the back of a bike!

Kit Miracle PO Box 209  Birdseye IN  47513  812-630-0314
© 1997 to present