Noted landscape painter Stapleton Kearns recently wrote something to the effect that if one is an on site landscape painter and one only works during the warm weather months then one is only working part-time!
I loved this quote and took it as a challenge. I read the above in an article Kearns had written in one of the art magazines about painting outside in the winter. In the article he made many suggestions, both of a technical and practical nature, to help make what could be an arduous and very uncomfortable experience more comfortable and productive.
I followed a lot of his advice, not the least of which was the purchase of a pair of boots which are so well insulated that they claimed to keep my feet toasty warm in temperatures as low as -94 F! I also purchased my first ever pair of glomitts which are a kind of mitten that folds back to expose finger-tip-less gloves.
Clad in my new boots, my fathers old sailing coat (which is actually a well disguised personal floatation device and, as such, is incredibly well insulated) my earmuffs and my bright orange wool cap I set out last Sunday for The Planting Fields Arboretum which is not far from my house. My thermometer read 29 F which is not too cold…well within the advertised range of my new boots…but there was a stiff breeze, which I estimate to have been in the 20MPH range, bringing the wind chill down into the teens.
All in all I was outside of my car for two hours. I painted for about an hour and a half. Unfortunately the view which really inspired me also called for me to face straight into the cold northwest wind but, if I like what I see, I set up and paint it and worry about the comfort consequences later.
I am happy to report that my feet never came close to feeling cold. In fact the only parts of me that did get cold were my face and my fingertips and the fear of frost bite finally caused me to pack up and head for the warmth of the car.
But what a brilliant experience I had! Standing out in a field alone, painting on a cold January morning with a beautiful snow covered view stretched out before me. This is something I have thought about mustering the courage to do for quite some time and I am so glad that I finally did it. Thanks Stape, now I’m a full-timer!
Shown here are the sketch (above) which I did on site that morning and the same view worked up in the studio (below) which I painted while working from my sketch as well as photographs shot that morning.
Note that all of these small sketches are available for sale directly from me via this website. Simply click on the “Paintings and Prints” tab and then on “Available Paintings”. The price includes shipping costs.