I pared down my equipment as well because I knew that I would have a carry of over a kilometer to reach the site I intended to paint at. No problem on the way in, but after several hours in the cold, the trip out can be really gruelling carrying the gear back... plus a wet painting. The sky was overcast and the terrain treacherously icy in places. We had experienced rains and very high sou'westerly gale force winds over the past two days. These had all but removed all of winter's icy river handiwork in Rockport. The River was completely open again... save for odd drifting shards of ice pans as they passed... moving slowly eastward.
When I arrived at Smuggler's Cove, I was astounded... and disappointed to discover that the sou'westerly had driven the broken ice right fully into the cove. The piled up ice now obliterated most of the attractive dark waters which usually flow continuously... even during winter. I decided however... to just jump in and make do with what was there. Time was of the essence in this cold. Rambling about aimlessly wastes time and valuable energy and most usually spells disaster for the day! Grin and ... bear down! Glad that I had chosen to bring a smaller format (8x10 inch panels) than usually is the case for me outdoors. In hind sight, anything larger requiring longer working time... and I would have been beaten for sure!
I had laid out my palette completely before leaving home... so my set up time was quick and I settled right into my work. As I was in the process of establishing my "map" for the painting... the sun suddenly emerged, ever so briefly... but it gave me ample seconds to observe and to put the effect to memory for later use in the painting session. I had purposely left my camera at home. The cold really plays havoc with electronic equipment and the alkaline batteries. So today... "Shoot from the hip... and the end of the brush" was the order of business for the day!
My lay in was moving along nicely, when suddenly, the wind shifted around and began to blow straight into my face. There was nowhere to hide... so every stroke had to count. The wind chill had to be in the high -20s... and my hands began to quickly feel the cold. I had enough structure and detail to finish (comfortably) what I had to back in the studio. I knew from previous experience that you pack up and leave early... as opposed to hanging in foolishly... and dangerously. By the time I reached the car and loaded the gear into the van, I could indeed feel the first pain of frostbite on both hands. I put another pair of gloves on and within about five minutes they soon began to lose their stinging feeling.
The first jpeg shown below records the sketch ... "raw from the field." The second records the small changes I felt were necessary to correct tone and add small details for increased viewer interest. I played around mostly with the ice in the foreground to create patterns and shapes... adding slivers of dark here and there. All in all... I felt the exercise worthwhile... and I did truly enjoy the outing... despite the cold at the end. Preparation... and common sense are the go words ... if you paint en plein air in sub zero weather. Cold is not just about mere comfort. Tt is more about safety.
Stay tuned!... 29 more Isleviews to go... in a 28 day month! HA HA!
Good painting ... to ALL!
Raw..."bitterly raw"... from the field!
"Jammin'... in Smuggler's Cove, Ivy Lea" - a plein air oil sketch 8x10 inches