Vodka works

There was no procrastination this morning. The sky was blue, and the outside temperature was slowly inching up over the freezing mark. I packed my plein air watercolour setup and headed out to my woods, which are about half a block from my house. I’ve never tried this before, but I also added a bit of vodka (about 20/80 ratio) to my water bottle (yes, the one I use for painting!). I planted my easel in the snow and painted a view towards the houses that line the woods.

And since it was so glorious in the woods with the birds chirping around me, and I was so thrilled to be outside, when the first watercolour was done, I turned my easel around and painted another view.

Painting outside in winter at 3°C is not as bad as I thought it would be. I was wearing many layers, the sun was shining and I only noticed the cold after about 2 hours. As for the technical side of things, everything worked well. My paint stayed liquid, the vodka water kept my washes flowing well, the paint dried more slowly than usual but eventually it DID dry in the sun, and most of all, IT FELT GREAT TO BE OUTDOORS!!

17 Comments on “Vodka works”

  1. De says:

    I’m excited for you because you sound so happy! No more cabin fever! Beautiful paintings!


  2. Frank Bettendorf says:



  3. Judy Sopher says:

    Shari, you are amazing.and a master of winter scenes and shadows.


  4. What a great cure for Cabin Feever! Thanks for the tip with the vodka. Now if you know how to get the rain to stop, even for a half hour, I would take it. After 20 years of California drought I never thought I would write that sentence again, but here I am writing it. Love your bright sunshine on snow look, well done!


  5. Gretta says:

    That’s an interesting tip!!! Especially for you up there in Canada!


  6. Sue Pye says:

    What a wonderful day; birds chirping, sunshine, outside, painting — and not a snowflake in sight. Well, apart from the ground. 🙂 I feel like this year Montreal has had old fashion winter. I speak to my uncle most days and he’s always telling me it’s snowing. I’m so happy for you to have had such an amazing day. Thanks for the tips, and the inspiration!


  7. Soni says:

    gorgeous paintings that reflect your joy – I’m afraid the vodka wouldn’t have made it as far as my water bottle 😆

    kidding aside, an Art teacher painted in similar conditions in mountains one time and her paints crystallized snowflake designs on the paper which luckily formed in just the perfect shapes and colors for the composition

    bravo charging in there, Shari


  8. Lori Zajic says:

    Good for you!
    And the scenes that you did are fabulous!


  9. Holly Hall says:

    awesome! Here, at Miegs Point on the Sound in Connecticut I settled down among some sun soaked rocks and painted for almost an hour. It was glorious to listen to the birds and waves with all that blue and gold in every direction..


  10. yvonne carpenter says:

    Beautiful sketches – the mundane often looks brilliant thru the hands of a great artist! And the vodka can play double duty here and also keep you warm, but I have a feeling that after a while, your art style would lean more towards the “abstract”? 🙂


  11. monique says:

    Beautiful days beautiful work..and yay re Vodka..I use it to make another use:)


  12. -N- says:

    In the old days alcohol kept the car radiator from freezing, so a bit of vodka makes sense. A nip from your watercolor bottle, too, can help you stay warm as well. Your paintings certainly benefited, and so did we with such a cheery posting and beautiful paintings. 🙂


  13. Both of these are great! I really love the one with the tracks in the snow. They really draw you into the painting. So glad you were able to paint outside in the snow!


  14. Betsy says:

    I shared your snow scenes with my artistic niece this morning and she observed that your blank whites look painted, as if there is snow really *there* in material form — not merely the unpainted paper! I agree and know that takes such skill.

    I love the view with the sled track — it looks so crunchy and frosty!

    Tried a bouquet sketch yesterday, inspired by your lovely flowers a couple of days ago. It was a good learning experience 🙂


  15. Forget the paint water, I think the vodka could be the solution to help me paint loose!


  16. David Damm says:

    Love your color and the brush strokes look so effortless! Thank you, so enjoy
    your work!


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