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Plein Air – Getting Cooler

November 24, 2010

November 20, 2010, Oil on Canvas 8" x 10"

Cold day today. Still nursing the injury so no running. I got up early, ate breakfast and headed out to Blackhawk to paint. Mid 20’s with a 12 mph wind. Brrr.

Quickly found my spot, set up my easel and paints, donned my insulated bibs, coat and gloves and started to paint. Quickly settled on my design and got the outline on my canvas. Soon after completing the rough in application on my canvas, I realized that my fingers were cold. Not just chilled, they were COLD. My body is not used to this cold yet. While I painted, I was able to keep my free hand in my pocket to keep warm. I took frequent breaks to get my brush hand into my pocket to warm up. I used these moments to stand back from my canvas and assess what was going on and what my next steps would be. Today I remembered to use the value guide on my viewfinder. It was much easier to nail the values and colors today.

Very quiet in the park this morning. A few cars were parked at the front of the park but no one in the back. I was almost 45 minutes into the painting before anyone rode past. As I painted, I heard some voices coming from the path across the river. Three people out for a brisk morning run. A few moments later, in the distance, I noticed something orange floating in the river.  It took a few seconds to figure out what it was, and a few more to realize that I was seeing correctly.  Could not believe it, but coming down the river, on this cold morning, a couple kayaker’s. I continued to paint as they floated towards and then past me. While I was in disbelief that they would be working their kayaks today, they gave me a look as though they could not believe that someone would be out painting. I suppose that, around here, the sight of people in kayaks in a river, even on a cold day,  is lot more common than seeing an artist painting en plein air.

I also received a visit from a fellow that was out for a run. I think that he was looking for an excuse to take a break and catch his breath. I took this as an opportunity to take a break and get my hands warm.

As I neared completion of the painting, I realized that my fingers were not nearly as frozen. I am not certain if the temperature warmed up that much or if my body simply adapted to the cold.  Does not matter. My hands were a lot more comfortable at this time. That is all that I cared about. Though my feet were still cold and I felt chilled. Home to photo today’s work, enjoy a HOT cup of coffee and write this blog. Looking forward to the next plein air session. Just the way it should be.

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