Saturday, February 26, 2011

Nice Day for a Walk (oil on canvas, 2011)

Working from landscape motifs in the brutally cold weather of northern Maine presents a myriad of challenges. The strong, bitter, icy winds make setting an easel up outside almost impossible and I am usually forced to work quickly, standing with a sketchbook in one hand and a pencil or pastel stick in the other. Working without gloves on is very difficult, but sometime a necessity, but drawing with gloves on can force one to work more loosely, which isn't a bad thing. I've noticed that the colors are more apt to change, both throughout the course of a single day as well as from day to day. I think this is because all of the intense, saturated colors have been drained from the landscape and the many neutral grays and the white of the snow are more apt to appear different colors depending on the position of the sun. In the absence of the vivid greens of spring and summer, the sky takes on a greenish tint, having no stronger greens to compete with it. This painting is based on a view looking south on the Currier Road here in Littleton, where the big hills of Danforth and Orient, 50 or so miles away, are visible in the distance. I did a painting called "Mailbox" a few months ago looking back down this road from the opposite direction. I worked this out in my studio from about half a dozen pencil and pastel sketches that were done over the past few weeks, out in the freezing cold, clutching my drawing materials between purplish-blue, semi-numb fingertips.


Kay said...

wow nice are braver than me! I did notice the Kevin Mcpherson on PBS uses latex doctor's gloves when he paints outside in the winter. I have mittens that I stick my paint brush thru the weave.

Frank said...

I usually wear a latex glove on my left hand, which holds the rag that I use to wipe off my painting knife, all the time. Otherwise my hand gets covered in paint. I find that they don't help with the cold, though. I have some light weight Polartec fleece gloves that are pretty good for working outside if the temperature is around 30 or higher. When it's 5 degrees and the wind-chill is 20 below, nothing helps.

Candee said...

Great painting. Hope you get your propane so you can paint inside if you want. Alison and I painted 3 pix outside on Wed and thought of you! Thank you for the inspiration!