By Tamera Menard Scannell
In part 2 of Tamera’s article, she talks about her color palette, clothing and gear and some hazards that can accompany plein air painting.
Laying the palette colors out…
Generally for winter I use Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue, Viridian, Yellow Ochre, Naples Yellow, Cadmium Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Dioxide Purple and White. I leave out the Cadmium Yellow Light and Cadmium Red until spring is closer. I try to keep a simple palette and have learned to mix any colors I need, or that I see in nature. A disposable palette works great on top of my Soltek palette. For brushes I use mostly blunts and flats with a few small rounds for tree branches or details. I have a small portable turp can for odorless mineral spirits and a baby food jar with walnut oil for a medium. All of these materials fit into a back pack with a few rags for clean up.
The night before I also get out my clothes…
For winter this means heavy wool socks, Sorel boots, foot and hand warmers, thermal underwear, under armor shirts, wool sweater, flannel lined blue jeans, carhart overalls and a warm jacket with a hood. I also use a nose face cover, a fur hat, scarf, sun glasses, and of course my own patented painting glove. I also prep and tint my gessoed masonite 11 x 14 boards and put them in the Ray-mar carry case. Once geared up I am in trouble if I have to use the bathroom!
Beware of the dangers associated with Plein Air Painting!
First of all you are outside so obviously you need to consider the elements, and the creatures you will and do encounter! Heat stroke and frost bite are serious concerns but beware of stranger danger! If you are painting alone somewhere, make sure you are in a safe place or have a cell phone! Just as important… make sure you get permission before you take a group of people on someone else’s land. We have had close calls with angry property owners at a sunflower field and a cider mill when a few of our members wandered too far over the line… so make sure you are allowed! Also if painting near a road, be far enough off the road so that if onlookers accidentally rear end each other, they don’t end up running off the road into you! True story, this has happened! Also be aware that some Plein Air Painting groups hike far distances in order to obtain a great view, so have light weight, portable gear and good shoes. Remember anything could happen! We have been painting when all of a sudden a thunder storm blew in, or a snowstorm dumped inches of snow on our easels in a matter of minutes!
Besides mace and bug spray, some painters always have sunflower seeds in their pack for the occasional chickadee hand feeding in the park! The dangers and risks are minimal compared to the experience and the wonderful paintings!
Tamera Menard Scannell is part of the Michigan Plein Air Painters, who meet every Saturday at the Kensington Metropark Nature Center at 8 a.m., rain or shine!