Brrr, It's Cold Outside!

February 24, 2020

 

 This is the first winter I've not been doing scenic work, which means I've been attempting to paint outside in colder weather than ever before. As I type we are having some unseasonably warm weather, but that hasn't always been the case this month. With temperatures hovering around freezing, you never know when you start a sketch if it will drop below! As a result, I just experienced a first: Paint turning to ice crystals as I painted! The first time it happened was with the Bethesda Terrace sketch at Central Park, below. The dappled effect of the ceiling was unintentional (although I liked the effect: happy accident?), but was caused by the paint turning to ice! It was just tiny ice crystals, so I wondered if I had gotten anything in my moonglow pan in my palette. Now that I have had a second experience I can say for sure: ICE.

 

The second time it happened, I was attempting a nocturne at Lincoln Center. It started off just fine, but the temperature dropped and I was actually having washes of color become ice sheets in the mixing are of my palette. Some accidental texture in this one too! I had wanted to do the whole thing in paint, but I swapped to my pen when I realized that was just not going to happen. 

 

I've heard of artists using vodka to keep their water from freezing, by mixing some in, so if I go out again with the weather near-freezing I might give it a shot! Will keep you posted if I do!

 

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