Working in Weather
If you enjoy plein air painting, working on the spot-as I do-you're going to encounter weather of one kind or another at somepoint. Knowing how to deal with it can make the differencebetween a delightful painting excursion and a miserable failure!
• Of course, painting in heat requires WATER, and not just foryour paints. Make sure you have plenty of drinking water withyou, and remember to replenish yourself often. It's all too easy to get caught up in what you're doing and forget,and heat exhaustion is no joke. If you stop sweating, you're already in trouble . so take plenty of water. (Beer orother alcoholic drinks and those with caffeine only contribute to dehydration. Water's usually the best choice.)
• Painting in heat, particularly with wind, will also dry your palette much more quickly-you may want to keep asmall spray bottle on hand to refresh your paints often-both the mounds of pigment and your wash area. Art 44-1, "A variety of outdoor painting supplies, ready for any weather"
• Sunscreen, a wide-brimmedhat, and a pair of polarizedsunglasses are a big help in thesun, too.and you can shield yourpaper from the direct rays-andthat awful, blinding glare!-bypositioning your body to shadethe paper.
• Painting in the wind is tricky-you may want to keep yourwatercolors smaller, so they don'tact as a sail and blow away if asudden gust kicks up! A water-color block may be a goodchoice, as they're both sturdy anda bit heavier-loose pages in awatercolor pad may suddenlyblow shut, ruining a wash orputting a permanent bend in thepaper. If you prefer pads, a largerubber band on the loose side ora nice big bulldog clip will helphold the sheets together!
You can find a little sprayer like this at your discount store-buy two, cut the bottom off one, and you have a nestingwater cup to tuck into your field kit with the sprayer.
• Painting in the rain, mist, etc. will require shelter, of course,but also be aware how much longer your watercolors will take to dry in these conditions . this may be theperfect place to try that wet-in-wet technique, because you'll have plenty of time!
Art 44-2, "Rainy Day"
• If a thunderstorm blows up, don'tshelter under a tree or put up yourumbrella . it's a good time to callit a day and get back in your car. Lightning strikes can be fatal, andthat will really mess with yourpainting!
• Painting in cold weather mayrequire a few more tricks! Bundleup well, of course, and take advan-tage of layers and warm, light-weight fabrics like Polar fleece,but also consider mittens with slotsthat will let your fingers out towork, then allow you to pull themback in to warm up! (Fingerlessgloves just make me colder, itseems!)
It was very misty the day I did this - it seemed to work best
to take advantage of the moist air and work wet in wet in
the background and foliage, then keep foreground washes
small and distinct, separated from each other.
hol you drink only makes you feelwarmer for a bit, then makes youcolder still. It's easy to get too cold too fast, so reserve your hot toddy for later!
But the most important thing is, don't wait for the perfect weather to get out and paint, or it will never happen. Just be prepared, be safe, and have fun!
You'll find my artwork on new products in my Cafepress storeat http://www.cafepress.com/cathy_johnson andoriginal fine art auctions on eBay at http://members.ebay.com/aboutme/cathyjohnsonart.
Copyright Cathy Johnson Graphics/Fine Arts, All Rights ReservedWebsite: http://www.cathyjohnson.infoEmail: [email protected]
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