Saturday, December 20, 2008

Viva la Ice Painting!

I love snow! I think if it's going to be cold outside there had better be snow. Otherwise, what's the point? Fortunately for me, we've been getting hit with crazy snow here in Chicago! It's been wonderful. Peace, fresh air, drivers slowing down. Ah.

I like it when my watercolor paintings turn icy. But I like a little more play with the paint itself. Not instant freeze. I especially love painting in snowy weather. Today I had the chance to paint at Gomper's Park in Chicago. Not only is Gomps the park I went to as a kid, it is a lovely wetlands preserve. Everything was blanketed in white.

It was quite cold out there this AM. My watercolor paints froze almost immediately. I did my best to layer paint onto 300 lb paper very quickly to no avail. Here is what I ended up with. Last time I had my paints freeze they did at a slower rate (probably because it was sunny outside). Today there was no sun and I was out of luck. I figured I could put a couple of the hand warmer packets under my palette to keep it from freezing.

Palette of Slush - almost instantaneously.

View I was trying to paint:

Actual painting. After it 'defrosted' it faded even more. I like the granulation effect but the painting looks more like an extremely foggy lake scene. M aybe it's modern art - plein air style. I think I'll keep this one just for fun. Frame it, put it up on my wall and let it be a conversation piece. It's for sale in case anyone wants a painting made from ice and pigment.

After it defrosted :-(

At the top is a quick painting I did with darker values hoping they wouldn't fade after the defrost. See the frost/ice crystal formations in the paints. I painted it in about 30 seconds - really fast. Otherwise I was moving slush around.

4 explorers in an expanding universe:

Jen (high school friend of Rob's) :) said...

This is seriously cool. (No pun intended)

Rob sent me a link to your blog after I saw the Plein Air painter site. I was skeptical about the December date--who would paint in the dead of winter in Chicago?

Apparently, there ARE crazy people out there who would paint. Probably genetically close to those who like to go for a swim on New Year's Day in Lake Michigan.

Thanks for sharing this, Beck! Next time can you also show a "before" melt of a painting along with the "after"? Would be interesting to see how they are different. Thanks! :)

Scott said...

How visceral! It really looks like the weather felt. I can feel the shiver and the snowblindness.

Talent hog! Must you do everything well?

Roxanne said...

Better you than me sista! Gotta go jump in the ocean to cool off!

Karen said...

Hi Beck! I like the 30 second version...very cool, and I like that you posted what happened to the other image as it defrosted.

I thought of you, and saved for you, the Feb issue of American Artist. There is an article in there about a watercolorist's homemade heating palette for the paints and the paper (essentially constructed out of a Styrofoam box with hot water inside, then the paper/paints attached to the top of the box).