Saturday, December 09, 2006

SketchCrawl December 9, 2006

December 9, 2006. My first SketchCrawl is behind me. It was not a successful one. The day started with me stepping out to a temperature of -11 with the windchill. Not exactly outdoor weather. As soon as I got in my car, I thought back to an article I had been meaning to read about an artist who paints in Antarctica. Boy I sure could have used a few hints today on how to do it.

Anyway, after stopping at Tim Horton for a large-double-cream I decided to go to an urban scene in Streetsville and paint their. It took me no longer than 4 minutes outside the car to realize that it was not going to happen. The cold wind was blowing and not only my fingertips, but my paints as well were freezing. I decided to retreat to the relative warmth of the car. There I realized another miscalculation. Urban scenes from a car all look alike. An oblique building in sharp perspective and cars parked in front. Not exactly what I had in mind. Off to Port Credit. A place I have always gone to in the summer for strolls and sketching. Alas, from the car, you couldn't see much that was inspiring.

This was getting discouraging. I was not interested today in painting indoor scenes and that negated the idea of ducking into a coffee-shop and doing my sketching there. In retrospect, I should have. Anyway. Up to the north of the 401, and into farm country I went. I was determined to do something today that I could be proud of. I finally managed to park the car in the drive way of an orchard and to paint just three quick sketches. None of these are to write home about. Nothing good comes after 2 hours of frustrated running around. The paint was still crystallizing in the cold metal pallet, my fingers were still freezing (I had to open the car window to really see the colors outside, but oh well. Sketchcrawl in midwinter Canada? Naaaa, not again.
So anyway here are my failed attempts:

This is perhaps my best attempt today. It was my last and I had warmed up a bit. Funny how painting is like jogging. You really need to warm up before you can do a good run.

Ya, I agree. I have done better work on moving buses no less. *sigh*. Wait the rest are even worse!


I was trying my water-brushes with this one. I might as well have been painting underwater. Hehe. The water was cold and heavy and I had to squeeze the brush for it to flow. When I squeezed, well. the water flowed alright!

Ok last one. This was the first one I did at the Orchard from the top of the driveway. Not good. Seriously I shouldn't be posting these. They do nothing good for my reputation as an artist, but I was part of something today and I was happy to do it.


  1. Anonymous7:58 am

    Interesting blog. Thanks for sharing.

    Carol in Arizona

  2. Susan R from SW8:16 am

    Oh Zan! These are credible paintings considering the conditions. I especially like the last one with the horses, although the first one with the house was charming, too.

    The artist on the Antarctic expedition (and his students who went along!) are fighting the freezing, crystallized paints also. He mentions using glycerin and/or alcohol to mix with the paint water. Amusingly, he mentions that since they are on a Russian ship that Vodka is in plenty supply! Maybe that is what you should have done, and if that didn't work, drink the Vodka, at least you would have been more comfy?!

  3. Vodka! Oh well, I was driving so I couldn't. Hehe!

  4. Your effort to get a "good" painting out of this day were superhuman so I'm giving you full credit for that!! I would have stayed inside, looked out my window, and painted what was there, warm and toasty. And it probably did feel antarctic with that wind chill!! Maybe next sketchcrawl will be in the spring when things are warming and blooming :) Well done, Zan, and thanks for sharing this adventure with us.

  5. Zan, I don't think the purpose of the sketch-crawl is to come away with masterpieces, it's to get you practice sketching different subjects. You did that, and you have several sketches to remember this experience by. Maybe not your best work, but actually good sketches.

    My teacher used to tell us that he put a hot water bottle under his palette when he painted ourdoors in winter. I'm not sure how long it would stay hot, but I remember thinking to myself that if it's cold enough to need a hot water bottle, it's too cold for me to be out painting. I admire you for attempting to do this.



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