Now that winter is here, only the crazy people go out to paint.
I learned how to survive winter painting from one of my crazy friends, Jim Cramer. He’s far more intrepid than I am. He does all his paintings outdoors, year round. You’ll find him out there in the teeth of a gale or beside a frozen river down to about ten degrees above zero.
I wimp out below about 25 or 30 degrees Fahrenheit or about minus 4 degrees Celsius. But I love painting snow because the colors of light and shadow are much more obvious, especially around the “golden hour.”
Here are a few tips, mainly on what not to do:
--Fingerless gloves keep your hands warm without losing your grip on the brush. Put your non-painting hand in a warmer glove.
--Don’t use a metal mahlstick like I’m doing here. A wooden one is much better.
--The glare of full sun on snow makes it hard to judge color. Try painting late in the day when the shadows lengthen.
--If you’re painting in watercolor in subfreezing temperatures, don’t replace the water with white wine, because that freezes, too. Use vodka instead.
--That white umbrella on the C-Stand is meant to cut direct sunlight from behind. If the wind picks up, the C-Stand should be weighted with a sandbag.
--Your feet and your fingers are the first to freeze. Wear insulated boots, and try standing on a carpet sample instead of directly on the snow.