Sunday, October 9, 2011


"Sunrise Colors" 8"x10" plein air o/linen


This plein air study was done in Ouray, Colorado a couple of years back. I distinctly remember catching this scene out of the corner of my eye one morning while on my way to paint a different location. I came back the next morning to paint this scene. I had noticed the nice play of morning light hitting the cliff while the riverbed was still in shadow. There are fewer decisions to make when Mother Nature does her part first.

The painting was easy, but I had not realized the big change of temperature from up on the road where I had parked, down to the river where I was painting. The temperature on the road was a brisk 41 degrees. I didn't realize how cold it was on the river until my paint began to freeze. Then I noticed my fingertips were blue, and not from the ultramarine blue on my palette. A quick check of the temperature and it was 14 degrees. Suddenly I noticed my hands were shaking from the cold and my teeth were chattering. Painting plein air has enough distractions without shaking hands and chattering teeth. I was glad I had committed to only doing an 8" x 10" and not something larger. When finished I climbed out of the river and back onto the road to find my fellow painters in short sleeve shirts and putting on sunscreen. What a weird day of painting it turned out to be.

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