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Is anyone else here an artist that enjoys painting on hikes?

I enjoy hiking and taking pictures but I also love watercolor painting  and ink and wash sketches.  Taking pictures are good if I want to use it for reference later but it doesn't always seem to capture the same feeling or emotion I had while there. I'm hoping to be able to use watercolor paintings to expand and capture more of the emotion of places I visit.

I'm in the Portland Oregon area and would love to find a group to go hiking and paint with, I'm not much for the urban sketching environment but would love something similar for the outdoors. 

I'm also always interested in gear setup other artists have for painting outdoors.

8 Replies

Hi @RichChabot - Thanks for sharing this with us! It's great to hear about your passion for art while out in nature. 

While we are hopeful some other community members will also weigh in, we wanted to pass along these resources that might be helpful in finding other plein air painters in the Portland area:

Hopefully this helps!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Thanks, I am a member of PAPO but they are based out of Bend Or so not local to portland. I'll have to check out the facebook group .


I love plein air painting when I hike! It's hard to find good people to go with, though, because usually nobody wants to sit around and wait for an hour after you get to the best scenic spot on the hike, I've found. They all want to keep going...

My set up is water soluble graphite from ArtGraff (in an altoid tin), and a watercolor sketchbook. I also have a set of Escoda Brushes in a travel set, which I strongly recommend. 



I haven't tried water soluble graphite yet. 


Water soluble graphite is great because you can draw or paint with it! It's very much in line with the backpacking spirit of packing multipurpose items. Caran D'Ache also has a little tin I really like of pencils, it comes with a green, blue, brown, and some dark values so it's a great middle ground also between painting and washing. 

Here's the set I have: 

technalo set.jpeg

Also, all of this stuff will last you forever, I haven't bought a new tin and I've had these items for about 5 years. 

thanks i'll have to look into them


After years of wanting to be sketcher (but 'never having the time' - or so I told myself) I finally started sketching during lockdown. I'm still figuring out what I'm doing, my artistic style & voice and my tools, but I'm having so much fun. I bought myself an art toolkit pocket palette for my birthday and it's perfect for taking on the trail. 

@cavalier I also just bought some water soluble graphite and love it for monochromatic drawings. 

I'm in the Bay Area, so I can't join you IRL, but I'm with you in spirit!

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one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

I've been looking at the art toolkit myself lately.  Still trying to figure out my setup  for painting.