It’s cold outside!

Trying to convince myself that it’s a good idea to get back outside and paint, even though it’s winter. So I packed up my gouache and a jar of warm water about a week ago, and went to Shalda Creek in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore–one of my most favorite places to paint at the moment. I honestly haven’t done much winter painting for the past couple of years, not since I switched from oil to acrylic. I always liked the way the oil paint thickened up in the cold. I haven’t been taking acrylic out for plein air sessions this year, I pack along gouache and crayons instead. I wasn’t really prepared for how the gouache behaved in the cold.

It was a fairly mild day, around 28 degrees with some sun and not too much wind. In my process, I typically start 2-3 paintings on paper at the same time, moving between them as the gouache dries, and adding crayon and graphite. But nothing was really going to dry that day. I put the paintings on the dash of the car, thinking that the little bit of sun would warm them up there, but it was very slow going. I’m going to have to revise my setup somehow. Maybe I can use crayons more, but cold fingers aren’t the best at grasping the little chunks of crayon that I use!

Here are the 3 that I started that day. I’ll continue to work on them here in the studio, adding more gouache and watercolor crayon.

Shalda Winter 1, 9 x 12, gouache

Shalda Winter 1, 9 x 12, gouache

Shalda Winter 2, 6 x 8, gouache

Shalda Winter 2, 6 x 8, gouache

Shalda Winter 3, 6 x 8, gouache

Shalda Winter 3, 6 x 8, gouache