Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Various things

View from the Inn on Sunset Hill.

Here I am again! See, still alive.I haven't blogged for a while. I took a vacation. I will begin again, but sporadically I think. After 975 posts in a row I REALLY needed a break!
I have been absent for a while and I have received e-mails asking if I am OK, not dead etc. I am fine, beginning to regain my bearings after a few trying months. I am getting some art made and it has been nice to take the time off from the blog and just hunker down and work. I do have some ideas for a few posts and I am sitting on a few stored readers questions. I would like to resume the Encyclopedia of Dumb Design Ideas too. There are more recently discovered Dirk VanAssaerts paintings .

Snowcamp begins this weekend and the following two. I am looking forward to that. I have been traveling and holed up to work for a while now, it will be nice to be out and teaching again. I am looking forward to seeing some of you again and meeting the rest of you for the first time. I intend to work you 12 hours a day. Can you keep up with me?

I am also doing an outdoor painting workshop March 1st through 3rd for the Southern Vermont Art Center, that should be fun. It is beautiful country over there. I also am teaching a seascape-design workshop at the New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester. That's March the 23rd through the 25th. Further out there is Nashville, Tennessee and then Rolling Fork, Mississippi.

There are still a few spaces in two of the workshops, if you want to come, sign up over in the sidebar. Here is a materials list if you decide to come. If you want to know what I use to paint outside, this is the kit.

Thanks to Take-it -easel for the new Stapleton Kearns Signature model easel! I will enjoy having a new Gloucester easel. Counting antique models I must have about six of the things now. The new model has a new leg release system and I am excited to try that out. It looks like a major improvement. The complicated wire release mechanisms always were the only thing that could go wrong with a Gloucester easel and now that should be solved. Go to my side bar and find the link to their site. I do not get a kick back on these, I want Take it easel to survive and prosper as they are an essential part of my equipment. If you are using the Chi-Com version you should step up to the real thing. The difference is enormous, handcrafted in Vermont from American maple, the Take-it-easel is a lifetime piece of equipment. I try to stay away from Chinese art materials most of the time. Their quality control is abysmal. Besides, don't you remember that unpleasantness at Chosin reservoir?

Below I have reprinted a previous post that will I hope be useful to any of you planning to work outside this winter. I will have a new One soon!

An Aldro Hibbard of Rockport Massachusetts

Every year do a post on how to paint outside in the winter. Here is this years. Some of it is from previous posts, however I am getting so many questions about it that I need to cover it about this time every year. If you are a plein air painter and you only work outside in the summer you are only working part time. It is really not too hard to get your act outside in the snow and it is a great subject matter. It lends itself to being designed, and it is not too green.

WINTER IS THE BEST TIME TO PAINT OUTSIDE!


I don't change my palette to paint snow, but I do whip my white. That is; I make a donut shape of white on my palette and throw a shot of medium in the hole. Then I whip it up with my palette knife, I may have to do this to my ocher or another color sometimes too. But I have worked out side at 10 degrees below zero and the paint will still work, It can get a little stiff, almost like joint compound, but I don't really mind that. Somehow it seems to adapt to the kinds of things that I paint in the winter. Bare branches and trees are easier to pant with the cold paint.

If your easel has any wingnuts on it, you had better bring a pair of pliers along. Your hands may get to cold to turn them and at the end of the day an easel that you can't collapse can be a big problem.

It is also best to paint in pairs. If you fall down and break a leg back in the woods it is nice to have some one else along. It happened to a friend of mine a few years ago along a frozen stream in Vermont. He would have frozen to death out there had he been painting alone.

Here is a list I send to my workshop attendees that tells what I use outdoors for a palette and a little about my boots.

Here are the materials you will need for my workshop. Most of you are not in my workshop of course. It would be huge if you were. We would need about five Greyhound buses. But look at the materials list here and you can get an idea of what I think you should have, at a minimum, to paint on location.

Because it is winter painting you will need to have good boots, I recommend these.



Cabela's® Trans-Alaska™ III Pac Boot

Every other part of your clothing needs for cold weather painting is negotiable, this works and that works. However when it comes to footwear I think most of what the average person thinks of as adequate gear won't cut it. Boots that might be OK for shoveling the walk or taking a winter hike will not allow you to stand in snow or on ice for hour after hour without getting cold feet. You have to keep your feet warm.

. Every other part of your clothing needs for cold weather painting is negotiable, this works and that works. However when it comes to footwear I think most of what the average person thinks of as adequate gear won't cut it. Boots that might be OK for shoveling the walk or taking a winter hike will not allow you to stand in snow or on ice for hour after hour without getting cold feet. You have to keep your feet warm. Your Sorels will not cut it. I would impress on you that you think your boots are OK, but they will probably not be. You are going to ignore this and then your feet are going to be cold and you will be unable to work. "I won't be there for you to whine to, but if I was, I would say, Hey, I warned you!"

If you can keep your feet warm standing out painting everything else is relatively easy. There are lots of good parkas and hats, snow pants and suits etc. But it doesn't seem to me that there are many boots that are as serious as these. I have lent mine to other guys who then bought them the next day. If you are worried about getting cold painting, buy these boots and everything else is just a matter adding layers of clothing. But if your boots don't cut it you can't add another pair.

. There are a lot of different winter boots available but I think these are the ticket. Cabelas is a reasonably priced gear merchandiser mainly aimed at the hunters, rather than extreme sports, elitist gear freaks.
I think a woman could probably find boots of this sort there also.

If you can keep your feet warm standing out painting everything else is relatively easy. There are lots of good parkas and hats, snow pants and suits etc. But it doesn't seem to me that there are many boots that are as serious as these. I have lent mine to other guys who then bought them the next day. If you are worried about getting cold painting, buy these boots and everything else is just a matter adding layers of clothing. But if your boots don't cut it you can't add another pair.

Here is a link to the page on Cabelas site where you can find them.
Many of you will decide the boots you already have are fine, and they might be, come to the workshop in them and we will see. But if you absolutely want to have warm feet, heres what you need.

You will need a warm parka of the ski sort or a snowmobile suit. You can by a one piece outdoor work suit at Wal-Mart very inexpensively that seem to be fine. Under that I recommend a wool sweater or poly fleece shirt . I wear insulated snow pants made for snowboarders but there are lots of sorts of snowpants made for snowmobilers and other winter sports, under that polar weight long underwear, Cabelas is good for this.I wear inexpensive thinsulate lined gloves that you can buy at a Wal-Mart or hardware store cheaply. I have a hat with a brim over which I pull a stocking cap when it is very cold. There is no reason for you to be cold painting outside. It is simply a matter of getting the equipment right.

You will need a a french easel, a pochade ( pronounced "pochade") box and tripod, or a Gloucester easel. Aluminum collapsing easels and little wooden tripod easels are generally not steady enough and they won't hold your palette. I don't recommend them.

PAINTING IS HARD ENOUGH WITH THE BEST OF MATERIALS!

In your paintbox you will need:

Titanium White
cadmium yellow medium or light
cadmium red light
burnt sienna
either cobalt, Prussian, or pthalocyanine blue
yellow ochre
ultramarine blue
Permanent alizirin or quinacridone red
viridian or permanent green deep

you also might want, but won't require,

Ivory black or
cobalt violet

a palette of some sort, most easel setups include a palette.

a medium. I like Liquin or Galkyd but if you like an oil and varnish medium that is fine too. You may already be using a medium at home, bring that. Also you will need a top from an olive jar or a small oil cup to put it in.

mineral spirits or turpentine, and a tuna fish can to put that in.

A roll of Bounty or Viva paper towels, all others are inferior. Also a grocery store plastic bag for them after use.

A selection of flat brushes, a couple of #1's, several #4's, a #8 or 10 and a short handled rigger, synthetic or sable, about a #4 . Also a leaf shaped palette knife.

You will need a hat with a substantial brim, a baseball hat works well. I carry a container of Goop, you can get that at Wall Mart or an auto supply store, to use cleaning your hands.

A fine cigar or two, possibly a maduro, box pressed if possible, no White Owls or plastic mouthpieces please.

Some people like to have an umbrella to shade their canvas, I don't use one, but you might.

A camera, you will want to get a shot of what you are painting because it may save the project later in the studio.

12 comments:

Jody Regan Paints! said...

Thanks, Stape. I'm checking out the easels; remembering you painting on the beach in Marshfield, MA with yours in the wind - steady as a rock.
Btw, love that Hibbard.

Denise said...

The 'Nuts (i.e., The Chestnut Group) are really looking forward to your workshop with us in Nashville! Weather ought to be perfect!

Nita Leger Casey said...

Hi Stape, Wishing you a wonderful snow camp week,hope you guys will have enough snow, I will never forget the first snow camp two years ago at 14 below! I will miss the camaraderie of the week and your wonderful stories,
Have a great time,

Nita survivor of two snow camp.

billspaintingmn said...

Hey Stape! So glad you do a review.

I'm looking forwards to my new take it easel, (Stapleton Kearns series) There isn't much snow, but like you say,it's great subject matter, lends itself to design, and not too green!
I enjoy and am encouraged by every post, thanks.

Bill Guffey said...

I got the Stape Signature model of the Take It Easel some months ago. Love it. Blows the Chinese version away.

Thanks for posting again, Stape. I've been jonesin'.

Jim Polewchak said...

Hey Stape! Good luck to you and your recruits on this years Polar Painting Party. As a survivor of your first class, I have found that the experience was not only a stellar class, but also a portal into a different painting dimension. After returning home to the snowiest place in Ohio,I now look forward to roaming the woods, river valleys, and lake shore areas in search of scenes devoid of all that chlorophyll.
I bought a Take It Easel last year, replacing the pirated model made in a chopstick factory. I think it will make excellent kindling for my studio wood stove.
Stay warm!

Simone said...

My winter painting gear doesn't look anything like that. I'm talking long sleeve tee shirts and Sanuk Sidewalk Surfers....I'm kinda jealous, though. I do like the white stuff. As long as I don't have to shovel the driveway.

Clem Robins said...

welcome back, Stape. ditto everything the others said about your Gloucester easel. it's a joy to use.

Stapeliad said...

It's good to see you back in blogland Stape!

Those boots don't come in my size as I am 3 feet tall and weigh 16 lbs. I'll have to take my chances with my Sorels.

Cynthia Hillis McBride said...

Welcome back . . . . . we missed you. I really like painting en plein air in the winter. Thanks for all the good advice. I'm trying to nail down the female version of the boots now. Someday I WILL make it up there for snow camp.

barbara b. land of boz said...

You always have excitement in your post when you are talking about "Snow Camp." Here's wishing you lots of snow for the week-end. Love the 12 hour day. You really know have to crack the whip.
As always, thank you for this blog and the time you give to it.

Susan said...

Welcome back!!