Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Painting in the Wintry Cold...three degrees!

I've written at length, contributing articles to various forums online on painting outdoors during the winter. Pictures have been published in paint magazines that have shown me standing knee deep in snow. I am amused that such brings so much attention in light of being myself an outdoorsman, hunting...and fishing. Here in the north woods of Wisconsin, it is common for residents to play year round. In the winter...its snowmobiling, ice fishing, snow shoeing, skiing...on and on.

To my way of thinking, if I can stand there on a frozen lake where winds wip up and across...enjoying the afternoon or early evening with friends waiting for tip up's to hoist their flags (indicating a strike from a fish, preferably walleyes), then its no big thing to be found painting. Its just a matter of dressing properly, and getting the paint to be pliable and paintable.

This afternoon...the sun came out, it was glorious though cold. My coldest effort painting todate has been a minus 13 degrees...so today was a piece of cake.

So...let me introduce to my world, and how we painters up here gear up to paint outdoors...

First...I wore three thermal shirts. Dressing in layers is important and captures air between the layers to generate heat. I wear thermal pants, wool socks...but it begins I think with the feet staying dry and warm. My preference is wearing my Woody Elite Muck boots...waterproof, and keeps the feet warm to as low as a minus forty degrees-



















I wear a pair of blaze orange bib pants that are insulated and water resistant, my late season hunting pants, and these zip down over the boot...



















Here you see me painting...a good warm outdoors camo coat goes over the bibs and all, warm, waterproof...and I'm wearing a simple fleeze pull over hat-
















For my hands generally, I like to wear fingerless wool gloves, and here you see I've tucked a chemical heat pack (that initiates after opening and shaking), beneath my fingers while yet holding my brush. Takes a bit of knack, but I do it without much thinking...



















My paint panels are already prepped for speed, which is important for quick disappearing late afternoon light, and to help endure the cold. By adding a couple tablespoons of pumice to a cup of gesso, I create grit to grab the paint, plus the surface more rapidly absorbs the paint. When I wash in an undertone with pigment plus turps...it is near dry by the time I wipe off my palette, and for workshop students I've demonstrated the truth of this by wiping my hand across the block in for them, with no sign of paint on my hand.

I will choose this day to work with a split-complementary palette...one because there is a definite mood to the light which the split-comp very easily and naturally imbues, and secondly...it will be efficient for my intuitive working, and fast...which will keep me ahead of growing cold and eventual loss of light...

After squinting my eyes at the scene...















...I've determined that the dominant color present in the light is
a hint of yellowish-green...and so that will be my dominant color on the palette, and thus violet and red will be my splits, plus white-
















To better understand the split-complementary palette...follow the link to my videos at YouTube (found on the right side of my blog here)...where I have a couple videos that demonstrate it...

My block in of turps...plus copal medium looks like this-















A little thing I learned back in Boy Scouting (years ago) was that you can hold your arm up at length, turn your hand parallel to your eyes, and set the top finger beneath the sun. Each finger's width represents fifteen minutes of time, and you can calculate how much time you have to paint.

As it would turn out...I had about an hour and twenty minutes after setting up...but, when the sun got to this point...I really had poor light to any longer judge the colors I was mixing on my palette...















...I decided I had captured the essential of the mood, the moment...and decided it was time to pack it in. Here then is the result of this later afternoon's effort...9"x 12"

December
s River Edge...

2 comments:

Tim Jones said...

Very cool, bad pun intended, love those colors.
A year ago this week I was on a lake in northern MN, painting did not cross my mind when the high was -10. You are hard core.

SEILER said...

Super awesome Dad . . . I still think you're crazy! :)