Friday, March 11, 2016

frosting touches

    Tuesday afternoon, February 9th, I had completed 40 rounds on the indoor walking track at the fitness center. This was a new record for me. I hoped to build up strength in my right ankle, now that the wound was completely healed. Workouts leave my body sore and I move slower the next day. Tomorrow I'd go easy on myself.

    Something the weatherman said got me thinking Tuesday night. He was saying a band of snow would fall between 10 am and noon Wednesday morning. It would be an opportunity to paint outdoors with snow on the ground. Ha. Could I rouse myself and go paint IN THE SNOW? What could that be like? I had read of others doing that. I asked the Lord as I lay in bed: if I was supposed to do this, would he wake me up in time, give me the energy to get around. Closing the whispers in Jesus' name. He's done this before. Leaving it in His hands, drifting off to sleep.

    Before the alarm sounded I was up dressing, packed the hot water thermos, pajamas under jeans, t-shirt layers, two long-sleeved shirts, moving the easel from the Ford pickup to the Lumina car. I trusted the traction of the car better than the truck when it came to driving on snow, panels ready, even took the 30 by 40 canvas just in case. Packed the sandwich and carrots, ate the yogurt and drank the morning cocoa.

    The snow had begun falling earlier than expected. At this pace what started at 8 am and would end around 10 am. Hmm. It was twenty degrees out. Would this experiment even work? By 8:50 I was on the road, snow was fluffy and nothing was sticking. Good. Drove cautiously on the hilly road off 24 highway. Braking was good. When I arrived, I checked every place I had left a stick along the road, then chose a scene.

I decided to store the tube paints in a baggy-- inside my coat next to my belly -- to keep it warm.

Two minutes. Putting out acrylic tube paint and storing back in my coat.

One minute. Location I chose to paint, next.

    Imagine laying down a swath of butter. Then trying to lay a swath of another color on top of it.

    Normally tube acrylic paint dries quickly, as soon as it is brushed on the panel. At 20 degrees the paint does not dry at all. It remains moist. The portion I put down slid when I tried to add another layer with the brush. What???? My mind raced. This was not good. What could I do? I stopped. Took a breath. If it was at all possible I wanted to make this work. How??

  Six minutes. Double click on images to enlarge. I put hot water from the thermos in my water bucket. This gave me water to mix paints with. Barely dabbing was the answer.
(the flecks on the video remind me that the Lord who got me up early was with me. The experiment progressed and concluded well. I was amazed how well it looked when it was all done ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !) 

With the brush handle the signature was scratched through the wet paint. 

(Later I thought about the steps the made this composition work. My wife the elementary art teacher told me she saw depth in the work. She was right, it was there. I don't recall how it got there.)

When I was done I stepped back to look at the whole thing. Wow! I laid the wet panel flat in the car. With the car heater on the wet layers built dried.
Completed panel beside location on County Road 290, in Carroll County, Missouri. When I got home later that day I varnished the work, and that is what it looked like on Thursday, next.

 Bluff Creek No. 2 Snow, 
16 x 20 inch cradled panel, 
Feb 10, 2016

For that work I began to paint at 9:20 am and ended at 11:30 am.

    The snow shower was brief. It had stopped. I moved the equipment and easel to the second location and set out a ready panel, next.

The scene had snow laying on the top of logs.

Six minutes. Painting second scene.

Bluff Creek No.3 Snow,
11.75 by 11.75 inch cradled panel 
Feb 10, 2016

That second work began at 12:15 pm and ended at 1:40 pm.

By the time I left the temperature had climbed, there was melted snow on highway, and residual snow on the gravel road. I thanked the Lord for his kindness.

That was on February 10th, 2016.

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