Well, I finally did it! I have been telling everyone that I was going to get out there and do some winter plein air painting, but always something comes up or I chicken out with the cold weather. This morning I woke up to bright sunshine and long purple cast shadows and I knew I had to go out. After reading Keith Bond's article about "disconnecting" http://canvoo.com/blog/26854/recharge-by-disconnecting I grabbed what I needed and went out on what was maybe the coldest day so far this year. I have been reading Stapleton Kearn's blog http://stapletonkearns.blogspot.com/ and his witty discussions about what to wear when painting in the snow so I had some idea of how to dress. I wasn't about to sink $200 into the super insulated boots he recommended, but I did have the chemical heat packs which help quite a bit. I had many many layers and was quite comfortable painting...the only thing that got really cold were my right hand fingertips, even with my warmest gloves. I ended up switching hands several times and painting left handed to warm up the right hand in my pocket. I was only able to spend an hour on the 6x8 plein air sketch.
plein air oil sketch
Home, a hot shower, and a cup of tea...I was still thinking about the scene I had painted, so I went to work on a larger version in the comfort of my studio. I spent about 2 hours on the larger one.
I am very happy with the day's work. I have been missing that connection with nature that you can only get from direct observation, not from photographs. Winter painting is not that bad. You just have to be prepared and maybe paint in shorter sessions.
This painting has been purchased by the staff of the Governor's Residence and presented as a gift from them to Governor Rendell and the First Lady. I am honored that my painting will be owned by such an important couple and hope that it becomes a cherished reminder of the eight years they spent living in this beautiful place.
I painted this during an open house tour where I joined a few other artists in demonstrating plein air painting in the gardens. It was a steamy July afternoon but I resisted the urge to quit. Even through 2 passing thunderstorms I just sat under my umbrella and kept painting. I am glad I did.
Several years ago, I met Ralph Hocker at the Mechanicsburg Art Center and he invited me to join his plein air painting group. It was a small informal group of a handful of artists who met weekly to share their love of painting and the outdoors. We painted at a boat launch in Marysville and I remember it was a gray cloudy morning, but the sun started peeking around the mountain as we were working. That day I met several other talented artists...Mary Beth Brath, Jim Henry, Pat Koscienski...this group eventually became the Susquehanna Valley Plein Air Painters.
This little painting will be showing at the Landis House in Newport as part of the Perry County Council of the Art's "Waterways of Central PA" show of plein air work. The show opens on January 14 and runs through March 4.