Thursday, January 13, 2011

Painting Outside in Snow

Ah, beautiful snowy winter paintings! So tempting to capture that fluffy wonderland... until the artist contemplates frostbite. What can we do -- snap a photo and hope for the best? Wonder why everything that looked so magical outside winds up looking gray and black in the photo? Shrug and copy that anyway and wind up with a gray and black painting, no magic at all?

Part of painting outside in the snow is just plain courage. I've never tried it! But the Chestnut Group of plein-air painters has been out in it this week, and they have lots of suggestions for keeping warm. (Check out their facebook page, by the way -- some beautiful work!)

Anyhow, one big problem is keeping your hands warm and yet being able to manipulate the brush. Some people use fingerless gloves, but that results in very cold fingertips. One idea is the type of mitten that folds back when you need your fingertips and folds over when you want to warm them. A couple of our members use knitted mittens and just poke the brush through the fabric. 

In the Great White North,  at least one artist I know nukes a couple of potatoes and puts them in her pockets. That way she can warm her hands whenever she wants. Plus ... there's dinner!

Once you figure out how to keep your hands warm, the next big consideration is your feet. I've heard various things from various people but I really really recommend Sorrell felt-lined boots. These boots kept me warm and dry at high altitude in Wyoming and Colorado. They'll last a lifetime. 

Other than that, your usual layers, earmuffs and hats... hot drinks, water....

I think I'll paint a still life!


  1. Toe warmers! Silk liner socks inside of wool socks! Thermal undergarments!

    Tragically, a woman's body will not send blood to her hands and feet in cold weather unless her torso is ABOVE body temperature and she needs to COOL herself. This means you have to keep your jacket on and overheat yourself until your body realizes it is being melodramatic and agrees to keep your hands and feet warm, too.

    It's just part of the joy of having a body built to protect a fetus even above your own well-being. A lost toe means very little compared to a lost baby, so the female body figures it should err on the side of caution. So far on the side of caution, in fact, that it couldn't see the dividing line between Caution and Folly if it had a telescope.

  2. I can tell you are celebrating the joys of your feminine side