Outdoor kit recommendations

We are very excited at the extra opportunities for painting and sketching outdoors that Cecil Rice will be including in his workshop this year. In order to fit these excursions into the programme, our attendees are going to find that the timetable will be more flexible in order to make use of the best of the weather so as to get out and about when the sun shines of course!


For those of you who do not ‘know’ Venice, Cecil has devised a useful list of kit recommendations for working ‘en plein air’, based on his own experience as a wandering painter. To his list we have added a few suggestions of our own, based on our experience of Venice and the logistics involved in moving around town amongst the crowds.

You will find several questions and answers regarding clothing and wellbeing in our FAQs section, but let’s just highlight a few points here too.

  • Dress like an onion to peel off and put back on items of clothing according to your task and the temperature. Many of the narrow streets of Venice can be cool — whilst some of the larger squares can seem to be like the Sahara desert at high noon!
  • A lightweight backpack is ideal — as also is a nylon k-way/kagool jacket which you can roll up small and which can also double up for seating when nothing else is to hand.
  • Check what equipment you can borrow from us at Creative Retreats before you start loading yourself down with extras on your journey to Venice from home. We have a few items of bulkier equipment such as folding chairs/stools that you can borrow — plus some less considered items such as plastic cups for drinking from the local fountains.
  • Cecil quite rightly says that easels can be a hazard in crowds — there are some areas where you will not create an obstruction, but if you can do without one, you will probably save yourself the extra baggage weight, and find an alternative method less stressful where there are lots of people milling around.
  • Useful tip from one of our past participating artists, Lyndsey Smith — take along a roll of inexpensive toilet paper to clean your paint palette and dry off brushes during outdoor painting excursions.
  • Take the time to look at Cecil’s recommendations — if you already work with him, you will probably have an idea of what his ‘modus operandi’ is, but otherwise do check all the resources on this site to be sure to have what you need for his workshop and get the best out of your time with him.