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Supply List -Tuscany - Spannocchia


Ciao Tuscany painters (and friends),
I would write this all in Italian but I only know a few words in Italian...Like: Hello - ciao...and, goodbye - ciao...(and a few more words and phrases...they make an app for that:).
We have a nice size class, but there are a couple rooms if you know anyone who is interested.

Please write back to me if I forgot anything and/ or if you have a specific question.

Remember, weight is a big thing in packing your checked bag... for most airlines it is under 50#.
Most airlines also give you one checked bag, it can be large in size, but still must be under 50#.

We have found that sometimes they will give you two checked bags, if one was going to be a carry on. We usually go with this option (ask), and only carry on our small (under the seat) backpack. In it we carry: snacks, water (buy after security), light jacket or shirt. iPad (for me), camera, cell phone, noise canceling headphones (you can buy headphones for a couple of bucks on the airline), and GPS (for my rental and I also use it for walking around sometimes).
I do not check anything really valuable.
*If you are renting a car at any time in Italy (or Europe), it is very helpful to have a GPS.

Check list:
1. Travel easel.
This and your oil paints will be your heaviest items.
If you don't have one, send me an email and I can make some recommendations. I have used or seen almost all of them on the market and I have collection of them (it's a problem:-)
Umbrella-optional. I bring one if I have the space and I am not over weight.
I pack all my art stuff in one rolling suitcase (Eagle Creek), ...easel (with my easel backpack), oils, tripod, brushes, and etc.

*Note: if when checking your bags NEVER say, "paints" they are artist pigments or colors.
In all our trips overseas, flying with art supplies, I have never had a problem (knock on wood).
Here is a link from the Gamblin web site with some useful information:

2.Turps can. Make sure this is clean and dry and lid off. I put mine in a small zip lock baggy.
My favorite one is by Gorilla Painters/ Judson's Outfitters
You can also get it though Dick Blick.
It has three closures for a tighter fit.
Any kind that is not glass is fine.

3.Paint tubes: my complete list of colors are on my website but you don't need to get them all.
I will probably take my limited palette. Truth is, you could have just the primary colors and be fine.
You can also use half tubes or order the smaller 20mm tubes from companies like Holbein.
Just make sure the the paint is still buttery if it is a partial tube.
I use a $3. tackle box for my oils paints. They come with movable dividers and pack pretty small. I also have a very small one for my palette knives.
*You could buy your paints in Florence. Look on line and see if they have your favorite colors and/ or brands.(addresses below)
If you have any questions about what colors to bring, send me an email.

4.Brushes: I will take a variety of flats and filbert bristle brushes...size 9-12, a few softer ox hair, synthetic, or mongoose flats, and a couple smallish (#9 +) mongoose rounds.
Any brush holder will work or even a mailing tube.
Take larger brushes than you are comfortable using. To quote John Singer Sargent, "Start with a whisk and end with a broom."

5.Mediums: (Liquin or other driers, mineral spirits) buy there.
I Have some empty paint tubes, sold my almost all art supply stores, that I fill with Liquin.
You can also pick Liquin, or any medium, up in Florence at Zecchi or Lory.
That is where you can pick up some mineral spirits.
I will go in to Rosia, about 10-15 minutes from Spannocchia) for some hardware mineral spirits. It's smelly stuff but we will be outside.
You can also buy cans of regular mineral spirits at the art stores, along with the odorless type.
or Lory


6. Panels: I make my own but there are plenty of great places to get pre made panels.

I take a few 8x10s, 9x12s, 11x14 and maybe a couple 12x16s.
You could take all of one size.
There is also a list of panel companies on my website at:
including You tube video about Arches Oil paper. It comes in 9x12, 12x16 pads, large 22x30 sheets, and rolls.
You can get "Featherweight" panels, or panels on Gatorboard.
I make my panels using Claessens #15, mounted Gator Board, and Miracle Muk...all the web address for all these products are on my information page.
I take enough panels for two paintings a day but I also take a few sheets of linen, and/ or oil paper to tape to a board.
Taping linen or paper to a board is a very lightweight and convenient way to go.
I recommend using regular masking tape or drafting tape in tan or black and NOT the blue, as it really distorts my color sense.

I'd like you to tone a few panels, pieces of linen, or paper... Medium warm grey works well. I use Ultramarine, Venetian red and white. Quick dry white speedup the process. Using a toned canvas is a great way to do quick sketches because you can immediately see the values.
You an experiment with any color. Sargent used a bluish green. For landscape I still prefer the warm grey.

6.Panel Carrier(s): I take just one panel carrier. I have a RayMar panel carrier that has slots for different size panels
Most paintings will be dry enough after a few days for packing for home (except maybe Cindy's, since she paints very thick:-)
There are some easy methods to for getting damp painting home.
Slightly damp: wax paper between paintings.
Wet: panel carrier or push pins in the corners and taped front to front, back to back.
I just use one size panels for the last few days that will fit in my wet panel carrier.

The earliest we have been to Tuscany is early May... Very close to the same time.
There were cool days, light jacket or a long sleeve shirt, and very warm t-shirt days.
I am guessing the same. I always take at least one warmish item, fleece sweater, and a light rain jacket. I rented a large building to paint in in case of rain.
Silvia, my Spannocchia connection, said it has been a very mild winter there, barely going below freezing.
A good way to think of it is the weather is sorta like Virginia... Same longitude.

Here are some travel tips from Tammy:
Sunscreen & hats, you'll be out in the sun, so protect your skin.

Blow-dryers -- last time we were at Spannocchia, there were baskets in the hallways with hair-dryers that had likely been bought and left by other guests. We have a small one that we bought in France and use adapters for in Italy. The hotels in Florence always have hoses on the wall in the bathroom -- like your grandmother's old hair dryer from the '50s, but without the bonnet. I prefer to use that things to dry the mirrors, not my hair! They blow really hard and really hot and the hoses aren't very long.
You can pick up a hair EU hair dryer pretty cheap in many stores, including the drug stores.
There are many "convienient" stores around that sell water, fruit, hair dryers, wine, and etc.

Mister bottle -- we always carry a small mister bottle that we fill with water to de-wrinkle our clothes when traveling.
Pack the same way you would for Monhegan, but with a couple more things for warm weather and a couple more things for nice (for dinners in the big city). It can be cool in the mornings and evenings, but can be hot in the mid-day. I always bring a light pair of gloves, windbreaker and something warm -- fleece, sweater or sweatshirt. And sensible shoes almost exclusively. :-)

Washcloths -- Italian hotels tend to not have washcloths, so we usually take a couple that are wearing out and then we leave them at the hotel before flying home. I put ours in a sandwich-sized ziplock baggie (for moving between hotels), but prefer to just toss them out before flying home.

Ziplock bags -- come in very handy for putting things like shampoo bottles inside which may ooze during flight pressure/temperature changes. I've also found it handy to pack things like socks or other small clothing items in either ziplock or Eagle creek rip-stop nylon bags for ease of sorting through the suitcase. The keep paperback books from opening and ruffling in the suitcase or backpack, keep things like jewelry, glasses, barrets, scarves and what-not easy to pack, repack and stay together.

Travel Kleenex -- Italian hotels tend to not have kleenex. I like to have it with me in case bathrooms in restaurants or museums don't have paper -- be prepared and you will be comfortable wherever you "go"!

Individually wrapped Purel wipes -- not only do we like to use these to with the controls on the airplane tv/the arm rest/the seat belt buckles, but it's nice to have them for after you touch the door handles on the airplane bathroom and wherever you may find yourself needing to clean your hands. Bathrooms in Italian museums and restaurants can be lacking in paper and soap (and sometimes, lacking in seats, it's true!)
*No one wants to catch a cold especially when traveling.

It is a very good idea to carry some Euros coins on you for if you need to use a bathroom at a cafe whilst you're out and about in the city. Some of the bathrooms are coin operated (and, yes, after paying, you may be glad you brought your own paper and purel wipe -- not always, but sometimes.)

Common sense tip: if you are prone to any type of infection or pain bring medicine for it, just to be safe. Even if you almost never get indigestion or a head-ache, brings your rolaids/Gas-x and Advil! Pack a few bandaids, too! You'll be on different feed and a different schedule and your body may complain. Hopefully not, but it can happen.
*The drug stores in Italy (and France) are VERY good, usually someone speaks English, and you can get whatever you need.

Finally (for now, unless I think of some stuff I wanted to say), though I do recommend picking up a phrase book and practicing a few keys phrases, most people there do speak enough English to communicate with you, especially if you are nice and polite, which you are, of course! So, even though I've probably made you nervous about creepy bathrooms and cooties, Spannocchia is clean and not creepy and your hotel will also be clean and not, that's most of what your experience there will be like! (In fact, we have found most bathrooms are very clean in Italy)
It's a beautiful country and you're going to have a great time!
*If you are in a bathroom in Italy and cannot find the water faucet handles, look on the floor.. Many of the old building have floor mounted controls. Stan liked them so much he found them on line and installed them in his studio).

You will love Tuscany!

If you have any other questions or concerns, let us know. See you sooner than it seems right now in this eternal Winter!


Ciao for now,

Ciao, Stan

Stan Moeller
Cell / studio 207-337-0714

"Details will take care of themselves."- John Singer Sargent