Friday, August 20, 2010

Flying with your oil paints

I leave for Spain and Italy in just a few days.   As I'm teaching a workshop in Tuscany, I am bringing my oils and watercolors.  I've heard horror stories of artists arriving at their destination to find their paints have been confiscated by the TSA (airport security).    As a former flight attendant, I can appreciate that the TSA is cracking down on things carried in luggage, but oils and watercolors are allowed in checked luggage as the flash point is much higher than the allowed 140 F.

It is recommended that when talking to airport security, you never refer to your paints as OIL paints.  Instead, call them what they are:  artist colors made from vegetable oil that contain no solvents.   Do not take any solvents or mediums...these you will have to buy them when you arrive at your destination.  Pack your paints in your CHECKED luggage. Wrap each tube separately and include with the package a material safety data sheet (MSDS)  for each brand of paint.  The MSDS forms are available online from the manufacturers or you can click on this link which will take you to artist Lori Putnam's website.  She has kindly posted the MSDS for Winsor & Newton,  M, Graham, Gamblin and Utrecht.  There are also several pages of Tips for Packing and Flying'  and a form you can print out to put in your luggage with art supplies.    Thank you Lori!  

Hopefully I won't get any surprises when I open my suitcase in Barcelona.

And in case you're wondering, YES!  These is space for more students in the workshop in Tuscany.  The dates are September 4 - 11th.   You may even be able to get a bargain airfare on Priceline!  Sedona Arts Center is sponsoring the week-long oil/watercolor workshop.   If you need your arm twisted, email me....though you'd better make it quick as I leave on August 24th.


  1. Thanks for all the flying with paint info! I've got a trip coming up and I was worried about bringing any paints.

  2. HEY DELL!!!
    AH!!! By now you are somewhere eating pastry, Pasta and drinking wine! I hope you are having a wonderful workshop...I am really missing talking with you!...Lots going on! Tanner, my oldest son, gets married in 2 weeks!...been busy with that...Let's catch up when you get back!

  3. Your Oriole painting is very lovely. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I too have a trip coming up involving several flights.. your info on travelling with paints and the link you gave were very useful. Thank you.