Cold and bright

Paint in my home studio or go out on a really cold day to paint in my car? The answer this morning seemed obvious. At home I have lots of reference material to paint from, endless cups of tea and central heating. But when it comes down to it, no matter what the weather, I would rather be painting outside. I can’t say this was an easy scene to paint. I had the sun in my eyes which required me to  tilt the board at an odd angle to see what I was painting, plus it was very cold and windy with frequent whiteouts. In the end, when given a choice, I would choose a little discomfort and the constantly changing scene in front of me over a photo any day.


20 Comments on “Cold and bright”

  1. Janice Kelly says:

    You are truly inspiring. And talk about a true-blue Canadian working outdoors (even if you are in a car).
    Photos aren’t the same thing for sure as they are static and the mood is not there – you need the environment to truly capture the essence. Which you do, in spades.


  2. Catherine Dudley says:

    Lovely! Though it’s bright and springy here in San Diego, I can feel the cold bite when viewing your scene.

    Sent from my iPhone



  3. Alison says:

    Bravo to you for braving this blustery day. The building in your sketch seem to be barely holding up against the wind. Did you stick to a limited palette for this? It is lovely.


    • Thanks Alison. This was a limited palette because the colours in the scene were quite limited. Lots of blues (cerulean, cobalt) a bit of yellow (Naples) and some burnt sienna. Not much more than that.


  4. Isszzy says:

    That’s the spirit of a true urbansketcher!


  5. Ross says:

    Looks great! I really like the way you have captured the strong directional sunlight and the way the composition draws my eye to that light area beyond the end of the street.
    Not sure why the buildings on the left are leaning back… could that be distortion through the windscreen? Or maybe tilting the board?


    • The distortion might be a combination of tilting the board and then looking through my glasses. Or else the wind just pushing them over a little bit.
      That light area beyond the street is the frozen river, btw.


  6. Es una acuarela estupenda a pesar de haber sido pintada en condiciones tan desfavorables. Creo que las sombras le dan un aspecto tridimensional perfecto.


  7. anne farmer says:

    The result seems well orth the discomfort, though you’d have to be the judge of that! A lovely painting. Somehow my resolution to do more enplein air hasn’t materialised yet – and we have such cissy weather!


  8. What size, what paper, how long? Great everything!


    • Thanks Therese. This is a quarter sheet of Arches CP (15″ x 11″) but it’s some old stock I have and not too good. I should really throw out the paper. This took about 70 minutes in my cold car.


  9. theogirl7 says:

    What a lovely scene! I feel cold just looking at it! 😉
    I’m new to both watercolor and urban sketching… can I ask about your process, do you always start with a pencil sketch first? And have you ever had issues with the paints in cold temperatures, do they ever start to freeze up??

    Thanks for sharing, love the work! 🙂


    • I always start with a pencil sketch, even if I am using ink, and especially if there’s some tricky drawing involved. I know sketchers who go straight to ink but a marker just doesn’t flow on the paper like a pencil does. If I paint in my car, I always warm it up enough before I sketch so nothing freezes up. Or rarely. There have been a few instances when the washes froze on my palette but that was when it was -25°C outside and I couldn’t get the air warm enough in the car.

      Liked by 1 person

      • theogirl7 says:

        Thanks for your reply Shari, i love to hear about the process and experience someone goes through when creating, which sometimes involves dealing with the weather (esp for us Canucks 😉 Thx for your insight!


  10. KnitNell says:

    Well worth going outside for. A lovely picture.


  11. Lee Kline says:

    You captured the cold-ness beautifully.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s