It’s the wind, stupid!
Yesterday a bunch of OPAS painters headed out to Orangeville to paint en plein air. The weatherman had promised a mild and partly sunny day. Just what we need; a thaw to help us paint without our fingers falling out. Orangeville is an hour's drive from my home so I headed out early to meet with David for a coffee before the paint out. As soon as I stepped out of the car Orangeville I knew what the weatherman forgot to mention. Yes it was going to be a warmer day and sure the sun will shine, but the wind was going to make this day tough one for us.
We headed out north of Orangeville to the escarpment area and stopped on top of a hill that looked down on a dream valley below. There were two trees on top of the hill that really caught my attention and imagination. I was hooked, but this was the top of the hill and the wind here would be HELL! We drove around for a while. The others decided to double back and find another venue, but I decided to brave it and paint the twins. I decided to sit in the hatch of my car and paint from there. I could protect myself from the wind a bit that way. That didn't work too well. The wind was blowing from the west and straight into the hatch. I tried moving the car, I even parked diagonally to the street but there was no escaping the wind.
Twins, Orangeville, 6"x8" Oil on canvas board
Given the situation, and not wanting to head back defeated, I pulled out a 6"x8" panel (smaller than I usually paint on) and began painting. I decided to do 10 minute streatches. Using my egg timer I set it to 10 minutes and every time it rang, I took a break in the car and a shot of hot coffee. The wind made it very difficult to work though. My eyes were tearing and my four layers of clothing were no match for the wind chill. Still I toughed it out. Shaky hands and rattling teeth and a few hours of unrelenting wind later I packed up and headed home with a decent result.
Lesson learned: It’s the wind stupid! I have painted on very cold days but I have been blessed with calm winds. From now on, I will listen carefully to the weatherman and if the wind is blowing... I am not going!