I am looking to purchase an umbrella for my plein air adventures. Do you have any suggestions as to which one I should buy? I have a homemade pochade box and a fairly bulky tripod.

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I don't know which plein air umbrella is a good buy, but I've seen quite a few creative improvised ones.  I've created my own by buying an inexpensive tripod and attaching an umbrella designed with  a chair clip. (found at Walmart) So far it works great because it's easy to move as the sun moves. If it's windy, I weight the tripod by hanging my backpack on it. Both tripod and umbrella are easy to pack in a small space.
Good idea Martha... What about the color of the umbrella? I've seen white ones that are supposed to filter light and black ones to minimize reflected light. Any preferences?

Basically umbrellas are a problem child, because 75% of the time there are those gusts of wind and you end up spending more time chasing the crazy thing.  And I have always had the habit of facing my easel into the sun.  That being said I do own one and use it occasionally.  I have one from Art Essentials http://www.artworkessentials.com/products/UMK_40/UMK40.htm It has a nice feature when it is windy the umbrella comes loose so it doesn't take down your set up.  It is attached with an elastic cord.  I also made my own like Martha about $10.  3/4 or 1" pvc pipe about 6' long stuck into the ground and strapped to my easel with a bungie cord.  The umbrella handle just fit into the pipe.  This photo is before I bought the bungie cord, I was using duct tape.  There are those times when it make a big difference, when it is 97 degrees and you can't get of the sun or when you want to keep painting in the rain.  I guess I would put umbrellas for the artists in the same category as cell phones.- a necessary evil....


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