Instead of carrying a supply of water for your painting, pack a simple container to fill with water when you get to the coast. Think seawater, streams, rain-filled puddles or shops. ‘Found’ water also helps to tie your work to its surroundings. Don’t worry about the myth that seawater damages your work; Turner used seawater and his coastal watercolours are still looking good!
Why carry and struggle with 30 colours when you can work with just 3? Choose your colours before you set out or work with the few colours that you already have with you, which can lead to exciting, unexpected results. I use Winsor & Newton Artists' Acrylic Colour and Liquitex exclusively.
Do you need an army of brushes when painting studies on location or just one or two? Or even any brushes at all? You could try creating a painting using found materials.
A good Pochade box can be really useful, not only to pack your items into but also to act as a small easel. And for larger plein air work (reproducing the actual conditions you see), a box easel, sometimes called a French easel, is fantastic. My favourite is my bamboo windrush easel.
I always carry a small handful of freezer bags. These are for collecting materials for later use and inspiration - shells, sand seaweed or beach junk. For studio work, open the bag, close your eyes and take a good sniff, and you’ll be transported back to the location instantly. If you have a smartphone, record sounds such as waves, gulls and boats.
Work quickly and with energy, the end results will have much more life. Detail isn’t as important as atmosphere. Finished is better than perfect. Unfinished is fine too! Have fun painting outside and let the elements - sun, rain and wind - influence your process. Capture the essence of your surroundings. And celebrate.