Sunday, December 21, 2008

Painting at -10

On the Horizon
3 x 5 oils

There was a lovely sunrise on Saturday morning and I promised myself I would try to capture it. The only problem was that the world was covered in snow and it was -10C. This is a glimpse of the sea on the horizon from far back in a field.

I have discovered several things about painting outside in subzero temperatures.

1. Fingerless gloves/mitts are a godsend. I have an ugly purple pair that I was given years ago so I grabbed those as it doesn't matter if paint adds to the current colour. The top half of the mitten unsnaps to allow me to hold brushes, etc.

2. Oils act a little like my car feels when I first start it in very cold weather. Its hard and sluggish and needs more lubrication to get going. I used more turps and medium to get the consistancy that I wanted, but even then it was still heavy and took a while to 'warm' to the idea of doing anything resembling a painting.

3. People think you are stark raving mad to stand in a field at dawn painting when its -10. Avoid eye contact and keep going.

4. Plein air painting is the art world's version of extreme sports.

9 comments:

Anita said...

This conjures up wonderful pictures! I remember when I was in art school doing something equally bizarre - my daughter who had accompanied me told puzzled strangers "its ok, she's an artist!" - This explanation apparently will excuse all sorts of crazy behaviour!
I love minimlastic landscapes - and bravo for being so brave!

Robyn said...

Wonderful post, Jeanette. I'm now seriously doubting that I have what it take to paint en plein air! I do have some of those gloves though .. off to find them now.

Beautiful, frozen landscape.

Jan said...

Are you nuts!!!!! LOL

Even with it being oil paint, I'm surprised you didn't end up with frozen chunks instead of pliable globs on your palette!

I'm amazed that you got a painting at all but you did! & it's a keeper.

Jeanette said...

It was fun in a strange sort of way Anita. T.O.O. (the other one) thought I was insane and couldn't understand why I would do this. And while it was cold, there wasn't much wind so it didn't feel too bad but my fingers got really cold and my feet from standing in the snow.
Would I do it again? Sure!

Robyn, you can do this! Or do scenes from your window count? I think they would. And after having driving through a blizzard to get to work this morning, that's what I may be doing for the next one!

Hehehe Jan. Yep, I am nuts! Isn't it great? :)

The oils were a bit stiff but watercolours would have frozen most likely depending how long you were out. I'll have to experiment. Perhaps frost crystals could create something new and interesting on paper.

vivien said...

brave and well worth it :>) there's nothing like being there and really seeing the colours is there? I can FEEL the cold.

I spent one semester at uni 'painting in the landscape' from Christmas to Easter - the farmers thought we were nuts as we sat under hedges in rain and sleet and icy winds - but the work was SO worth it! like this one :>)

Gesa said...

I like this a lot! Hm,... lol re comments of others. I'm getting similar ones just now with wanting to go outside in darkness. Am so curious how that will work out.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

I like this a lot too - I thought it was Tina when I first saw it in my blogroll!

I'm just wondering how the oils would behave if kept somewhere warm until taken outside - and then maybe keep the tubes near one of those hand-warmers? Maybe you could have a hot waterbottle for tubes of oil paint?

Mary said...

A lovely painting Jeanette, with a gorgeous soft abstract feel to it. You accomplished a great piece out in that weather, I truly admire anyone that can do that.sliketsu

Jeanette said...

Thanks Vivien, it was challenging, but worthwhile.

Gesa, I've been wanting to try painting outdoors in the dark too lately. The trees with snow on top of Christmas lights are so appealing in terms of colour and light. I'll be watching to see what you create at that time.

Paint frees up a new side of me Katherine. Its looser and stronger and I am getting away from detail in it. Its fun.

And yes, a hot water bottle for the oils! Brilliant! And I can use the residual heat for when my fingers are about to drop off in the cold!

This is so unlike me Mary. NOt my style at all, but I like it too. Paint brings out a different side of me than dry media.