Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Winter Gear

It was -6 at my house today.  That was warm compared to places in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and up north in Maine.  Winter is here! 

When I go out to paint in these really cold temps I'm prepared. The first layers are silk...

Then a cotton turtle neck goes on ... 

...over that a stretch Polartec sweater...

...next a thin down vest, Polartec pants,  

...and a heavy wool sweater.

On top of the sweater goes a windproof Polartec vest.

If its below 20 and there's no sun or a wind chill factor these wind proof Polartec pants go on next.

If is 10 or below a down parka goes on over the vest.

The last layer over everything is my thin windproof shirt. Its awesome, it seals in the heat. 

Of course the most important items are my boots. These are Sorrels and good for -100. 
My feet toast in these babies.  I've never felt the cold through them even when painting outdoors for 8 hours in - 6 temps.
I wear one pair of wool socks, a neck gator and a Polartec hat. 

If its sunny I wear a Polartec head band with a brimmed hat over it. If its way too cold I wear my wool hat under my Polartec hat ! 

These are my wool painting gloves.

These are my wool over painting gloves, which I only wear if necessary when scouting the location. I don't wear these while painting.

These felted wool mittens are for warming my hands on the way home if needed.  
This is the gear I wear for winter plein air painting. For the trip home I pack a hot thermos of tea or coffee to drink in the car.  Its amazing how nicely it warms me up !

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Very Old Houses in the Snow

A few days ago I met up with two friends in Strawbery Banke to paint on a beautiful, cold winter day. 

Here's a detailed report of that outing: Postcards from ME & NH

I wanted to be flexible to walk around and study a number of subjects and experiment with different views so I concentrated on sketching with ink and water color pencils. 

This is the view up the small dirt lane we were standing in.
4x8, pen & watercolor on Aquarelle

In front of us was a open area of snow with the shadows of the houses  behind us stretching across it. 
8x10, pen & watercolor on Aquarelle

Around the corner I found a small back garden with a single window on the rear side of a house.
11x11, pen & watercolor on Aquarelle

Another lane headed toward the harbor.
7x9 pen & watercolor on Aquarelle

Some of these houses are very old.  They are funny shapes, have no back doors and have windows in odd spots or entire walls with only one or two small windows.
6x10, pen & watercolor on Aquarelle

 As we packed up to head home at sunset a half moon was up high in the sky.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Heaven Above the Earth below....

I'm painting from my field sketches in the studio.... 

I'm using my watercolor sketchbooks and oil sketches as guides for these larger paintings...
I really like painting skies and water. 
6x8 sketchbook, gray marker, watercolor 
I discovered its because they change so much so fast.
6x8 sketchbook, gray marker, watercolor 
Here on the coast an interesting phenomena occurs when clouds encounter the air mass over the ocean. They often break up and some times completely disappear in minutes. I face west if I want the clouds to hold their form a little longer while I draw or paint them .
8x8 sketchbook, gray marker, watercolor 
Or I move away from the edge of the ocean into the marshes where I know they'll last a bit, I have the long view and the unobstructed "big sky" I want.  I sketch and draw nonstop. Its a habit I have. I take notes that will help me later on remember what really was going on.  Forget sky photographs, the camera is useless for this.  

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Rocks & Foamy Surf

 The Maine coast is a few miles from my house.  I  recently realized how much time I've spent near the ocean... walking on the beach, along the rocks or up the York River walk. Often, I would go for a walk every day after work.  Before dinner was the time for my husband and I to get out of the office or studio for some fresh air and exercise.  

During those walks I looked at the land, sea and sky. Not with focused concentration but enough observation to notice changes in mood and light every day... and the colors of things... 
Sea Foam, Pen & watercolor. 6x8  on 80 lb. sketch paper.

When I started to sketch waves in en plein air I realized how much I was really observing those days I was walking.  I know much more about a wave and what it does than I thought I knew. When I set up in a spot to paint them, they were familiar!
Marginal Way Rocks, Oil on panel 5x7

 And when there is big surf I know just how connected it is to the recent weather that just blew through or is off shore... 
Looking Toward Ogunquit, Oil on panel 8x10