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Painting Plein Air in the Winter
For the past three weeks I have been in Landshut Bavaria spending a lot of time painting outside on the city streets. It is very cold and this makes making a picture that more of a challenge but I like a challenge. Yesterday it was particularly cold and as you can see from the photo above the morning light became particularly soft as it came filtered through thin morning mist. Everything was dusted with a light frost and soft cover of snow white on white and grey.
I had just recently arrived at the spot I had chosen to begin painting, with my touring easel unfolded I began to put the colors on to my pallet. As I was doing this a woman came up from one of the shops from across the street asking me if I would like some hot tea. I said yes I would, very much like some hot tea. About 15 minutes later she came over with a large thermos of hot tea, a china cup, a spoon and a few packets of sugar all nice packed into a canvas bag. This pot of tea both warmed my stomach and melted my heart.
I have come to realize that this plein air tradition of painting out side on location, especially on a busy city street, is a great way to bring art to the people. It’s just the case that many people simply never walk through the doors of an art gallery or art museum. They just don’t. Also I think painting outside in the middle of the winter comes across as somewhat of a heroic act to those who bare witness. I’m thinking I may want to do this once I return to Grand Rapids as well and I look forward not only to the paintings I will create but to the people who I will meet in the process.