Tips & Recommendations

To help you prepare for a great experience at The tributary Artists Symposium, here are a few things to keep in mind. Feel free to contact us with any questions, if you still need help!


The weather can range from hot and sunny, to rainy and chilly this time of year in northern Vermont. Bring layers to wear. Prepare for rain: even if you don’t plan to paint in the rain, you may be out in a field somewhere without time to get out of the weather. a light rain jacket with a hood, or a poncho, can help with the transition back to dry land! Also, be sure your art can be protected in a hurry, should bad weather start up.

SUN is real: a good, FULL-BRIM sun hat (preferably securable with a chin cord) is a great way to keep the sun out of your precious eyes, and keep you from getting burned. Also, loose, light, long-sleeved tops are great for sun protection, and will actually keep you shaded and cooler on hot days.

TICKS might get you: unfortunately, deer ticks have arrived in this part of the world. Plan to check yourself (and your good friends) for ticks after every outdoor excursion! To prevent tick bites, and help fend off poison ivy and other biting insects, wearing long pants and socks pulled up over your pant cuffs is recommended. Like your mother says: this isn’t a fashion show 😉

Sunscreen is your friend, especially the mineral-based kind with no oxybenzone. Weird insider hint: diaper cream with zinc oxide is a great, cheap alternative! Goop up, and forget your worries. Also, bug repellant can mean the difference between itchy discomfort and a great painting session.


ART SUPPLIES: Let’s not forget those… because you’ll need to supply your own!

You’ll need to bring supplies to paint outdoors for a few hours at a time. Remember, you’ll need to be able to carry these items with you for at least a few hundred yards. While we may not be doing a lot of rugged hikes, or long distances, you’ll still need portability to be top among your priorities for your art kit. We do recommend at least some familiarity with painting and drawing, and you’ll definitely get more out of the experience if you can hold your own for some time painting in the field. Also, if you’ll be buying new supplies for this, aim to buy the highest quality you can afford. You really will learn and grow faster as an artist if you have good quality art supplies. Contact us if you need more specifics on colors, brands, or the like. The links below also have info on color palette.

There are many ways to set up your plein air kit, depending on your needs and preferences. You can adapt one of the following recommended oil painting setups to use acrylic or watercolor, for example. In any case, you will need your kit to work for YOU- no two artists’ setups are identical. Check out the following links for great ideas, and feel free to do your own research!

Remember to TEST YOUR KIT, and try out your supplies before Symposium. You’ll be glad you worked out how to pack, setup, and use your kit!

Carry in, carry out: As good stewards of the land, we want to prepare to bring our own water and solvents, and not to dump anything toxic on the land or in the water where we paint. Prepare to bring dirty water, solvents, and cleaning cloths back with you after each session, to be disposed of properly.