Author: Larry_Seiler, Contributing Editor
|My wife mosied over, as is often the case, wondering what I was working on at the computer this time? Told her I was explaining to folks how I go about preparing and painting outdoors in the winter.
Her facial features showed immediate surprise as she questioned why that would be anything of interest to readers. People up here in the northwoods ski in its many forms, snowmobile, many ice fish and some of us goofy Packer fans sit in a frozen ice bowl to cheer our team. Being outdoors in all types of weather and conditions is nothing new to us.
I assured her that to some I might appear an oddity, a bit of a Neanderthal even. As odd to some I supposed, as standing in knee deep grasses to paint...knowing snakes and gators could be crawling along spying me out as a good snack would be to her and I. Truly though, I never worry about what's sneakin' up on me in the Wisconsin wilds. Yep...and that's even with all the bears we have! hahaha...
This article though, for whatever reasons my wife may understand or not, I hope will be found useful and even enjoyable. Come along as we begin our venture...
|So...here I am ready to go. All my warm clothing on, backpack and tripod on shoulder, and a smile to boot!
Let's break it down...
First is a polar fleece hood with draw strings that loosen to allow it pulled all the way overhead and down around neck like a scarf, or partially to cover face like a mask. The draw strings adjust to leave only a small opening for seeing.
Over this...a toque, (French for type of hat early fur traders in early America wore), made of hand spun wool made by a good friend. Very warm and stylish to say the least!
Of course any warm hat will do, and often I'll take a brimmed ballcap with me for harsh sunlight conditions. I tend to favor scenes looking directly into the sun.
|I wear an upper and lower pair of thermal long underwear, cotton socks and wool socks over those. A pair of regular jeans, and then my good ole Danner boots rated to minus 40 degrees below zero. The Danners are also waterproof, which will come in handy later as I will tell.
I don't want to heat up driving to a spot, and these thermal quilted camoflaged snow pants are so convenient I just toss 'em in the back of the truck. Arriving at location, the bottom pant leg unzips and slips right over my boot and pants. Very warm and has provided comfort for many years.
|A photo taken from another winter paint session, this gives you an idea of the gloves I typically wear.
Perhaps I am lucky for some kind of conditioned heartiness but I find these gloves often will suffice even in the coldest conditions. Made of wool with a small thinsulate insert. Rubber nubs on the palm help to hold objects.
The option is there to keep a chemical pack common on the market that warms up when taken out of its plastic packaging and shaken up. Those I keep in the pockets of my coat in the event a warm up is needed.
As a side note...for those that suffer from arthritis, stiff or sore knuckle joints one should buy a roll of coban tape. After an injury to a finger last year, I found the tape keeps down inflamation and keeps the area warmer.
|Before taking off to my eventual destination, I take a moment to open my Guerrilla box and mix up paints on the tailgate of the truck. You'll note with all I have on, I look a bit like the Pillsbury Doh boy! hee heeee...
Its all about layers to keep warm, not tight...but such that allows air to be trapped and catch and then generate warmth. I have a t-shirt on, acrylic knit sweater, a woolen zip up jacket, then an insulated outdoor utility coat.
The thing to remember is, you can always remove something if you get warm, but if you are back in deep somewhere you will have nothing more to put on than what you brought. Prepare for the worst. Bring extra gloves or mitts in case they get wet.
As for my paint, my palette is simple...W&N Bright Red, Utrecht French Ultramarine Blue, CAO Cadmium Lemon Yellow, titanium white. I include my always necessary Utrecht Naples Yellow, and this time include some viridian (green) to supplement character and richness to my darks. I mix a bit of Garrett's copal medium to my paint...and then its off.
Pre-mixing helps save on the cold to the fingers later on, gets me onto the painting sooner, given how fast lighting can change.