Thursday, January 28, 2010

'January Moonlight'


"January Moonlight" - oil on linen - 9x12 © Marc R. Hanson '10
I had to go paint the nearly full moonlight tonight. It's cold, -4ºF, but with 6 or 7 layers of polypropelene, fleece and arctic boots rated to -120ºF... I was actually real toasty roasty warm. There wasn't a breath of wind and that made the difference. Of course I forgot one of the most important items, the mast to the EasyL that holds the panel. I nearly panicked, I did not want to have to go home to get it. Finally figured out a solution, using up my 'warm' reserves, then got to work. The light was not as cool as it is sometimes. But as I was coming home, and right now at 9:00 pm, the moon is really lighting things up and the light on the snow is much more blue in color. Can't do this again tomorrow night, but maybe again on Saturday, the full moon night. I spent about 2 hours outside between getting set up, painting and taking down. The biggest problem in the cold is 'moving' due to all of the clothing, glove liners and gloves and or mittens. That... is frustrating when it's biting your butt.

Here's the only pic that I could take. The batteries didn't make it and the spares were being used for the book light. I went through two sets of those during the hour and a half painting time. Tried to use the flash and that was all she wrote...

32 comments:

Deb Kirkeeide said...

gorgeous Mark!
I don't know how you do it -
The idea to paint a nocturne has crossed my mind with this gorgeous moon - but I find I'm cold just being in my studio!

rahina q.h. said...

excellent play of warms and cools and the post made me laugh:)

Renê Tomczak said...

Wonderful ! Linda Cor !

RUDHI - Chance said...

Moonlight-Delight!

Janelle Goodwin said...

This one is mystical and gorgeous. Love the nocturne!

Double "D" said...

Great piece.
Wonderful color and brush work.
Has a pleasant coming home feel.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thank you All!

I should mention, this will expose me for being a chicken, that I was going to paint down at the Interstate Park along the river. However, we live in cougar country, ask any bow hunter and chances are that they've seen one. I drove into the park and got out by the river. No one had been there, no one was anywhere in sight, and there were no lights of any kind.

I'm not too bad at thinking like an animal sometimes. I was thinking that IF I were a cougar this would be where I'd hang in the winter... free travel between Wisconsin and Minnesota across the ice, free protected land... hundreds of acres of it, old growth forests, deer out the ying yang, and high cliffs and rocks to sit on and watch for unsuspecting, hapless painters at night.

Any painter knows that when in the heat of battle, with the painting, you don't often realize ANYTHING else that is going on around you and your space. And when it's dark, you are at double the risk for being stupidly ignorant of your surroundings.

Perfect lunch or dinner for anything that would like to eat you.

I just wasn't comfortable with the situation, so...

So I packed up, and yes, I'm not interested in the possibility of being chewed on, and went to the farmlands where they run off anything that is dangerous. Tho' I did hear some deep howls off into the distance that could have been wolves. They live just north of me. I'm not sure though, coyotes can howl pretty well too, though usually higher pitched than what I heard.

If I was skiing, or doing anything else where my entire focus wasn't occupied by the painting process, I wouldn't have thought about this... I don't think.

SamArtDog said...

Funny account of battling the elements, as well as the internal dialogue. It was all worth it; the painting is gorgeous.

Eugene Veszely said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan Corey said...

Marc! your a madman! loveing painting enough to paint in -4.... this is the difference between good and great.

Anonymous said...

So you were cold in Florida when you painted, but fine up there in the snow? :-}
Amazing piece. You are one dedicated artist. I can see what you did, after the fact, but doubt I could ever do the same out there.

On a side note, I have found that the batteries in digital cameras die quite fast in the cold. I've run through a few taking snow scenes.

Brad M

brian eppley said...

Great piece Marc. I'm curious if you had issues with frozen paint and do you use a medium? I find around 12 degrees f my paint becomes difficult to move , when I use stand oil even warmer temps can be tough. I don't thin with turp do you? Thanks,Brian

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thank you SamArtDog! When the tough comes up... better to just laugh about it. I appreciate a dog as smart as you are commenting on my art. How'd you do that??? :)

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thanks Dan'o. Heading to Cape Cod? Wish I was, but NEED to work. Have a great time if you go and say "HI" to everyone.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Hi Brian. Thanks. Yes, the paint is like painting with chilled butter, or stiffer than that. I don't use any medium, I thin (don't use turp either ) with OMS (odorless mineral spirits) until the paint works for me.

I used to try various mediums, oils, alkyd oils and mediums and nothing works as well as just thinning it for use.

The idea comes up that it's not "good" to overthin your paints and that's true... if... you are leaving a thin layer on the surface either all by itself (which leaves a weak layer of paint), or letting it dry and then overpainting it with paint that isn't as 'fat' or 'fatter'.

I'm not doing either of these two bad ideas. I thin it as I work but it's an alla prima painting, wet into wet and painted in one session. Any thinned paint is mixed with thicker (fatter/oilier) paint through the process of painting it. It all becomes one layer. So the thinning isn't a problem from all that I've learned and read.

It makes the painting soooo much easier to accomplish. Without that, there's no way I could paint in temps at zero and below.

Hope that helps Brian.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thanks Brad. Hehe... I know. Hey... it's all in the clothes and then it's all relative!

My rechargeables lasted longer than the non-rechargeables. But neither lasted long enough.

Jala Pfaff said...

Perhaps it was your great bravery in facing the elements that has led to such beauty. Gorgeous.
The photo of your setup looking lost and little and lonely in the dark is great. :)

n. rhodes harper said...

You captured the moonlight and mood just perfectly. It is beautiful.

billspaintingmn said...

Hi Mark! New here, boy am I happy to find you!
Your paintings are wonderful.
The past few nights with the moon out, I've wanted to capture the moment in paint.
Here I see you have. You've done a nice job on this.
I'm fairly new to plien air, but enjoy it.

Conor Wilson said...

It's funny i was walking home tonight, great full moon, and was thinking i would love to paint at night, checked my blog and saw your painting, bloody lovely! You have really captured the atmosphere well with your notes of color. It cold here (UK) but not that cold.
All the best
Conor

liz wiltzen said...

Hey Marc,

This is a really great piece, you nailed the values so well! And of course that tiny warm glow in the distance makes it.

FYI, i have painted plein air nocturnes with a headlamp pointed down (so it lights your workspace and not your foregroungd) and no battery issues, (maybe it's because they're close to your head that they do well even in cold weather) - you might like that better than a booklight.

Also, I subscribed to your blog about two weeks ago and am not receiving notification of your postings, perhaps there's a glitch there?

You are a remarkable painter, I have been following your work for a while now, and love to see the leaps and bounds of forward progress in your work! Gorgeous!

Marc R. Hanson said...

Jala... Thank you. I really appreciate it. It can feel a little lonely out there at night. Especially in those wilder places.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thanks Nancy. :)

Marc R. Hanson said...

Hi Bill... Welcome! And thank you. MN huh?

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thanks for checking in Conor. So go paint it!!! :) I bet it's wet there though? That's worse IMO. I'd rather have the snow falling than the rain. Of course there's always shelter... Trevor Chamberlain has done some magnificent field work of the UK in the rain.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Hi Liz... nice to meet you as well. Thank you very much for your comments. I am glad that it looks like things are moving forward.

I don't know anything about the blog issue truthfully. I can check or if anyone out there knows about these things... I'm listening.

You could be right about the head light on your head extending the battery life. Is it an LED? They draw less on the batteries also.
But I'm not a fan of the headlamp, though you are pointing it down and that might work. That was my problem with them, that when I looked up, it it the scene that I was trying to paint 'not lit'. :) I tried almost anything except a candle holder when I started doing these including headlamps. I'm really liking the newer LED's with the long wire goose necks. The color with those is outstanding.

Eugene Veszely said...

G'Day Marc,

Did you feel a bit vulnerable like this when you were out in the dark? ;-)

http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s300/sjclark1967/FarSideDeer.gif

Ed Terpening said...

Ah, the battle! I love the battle of getting a vision on canvas. Plein air artists are the warriors of art.

adebanji said...

This is great, please what brand of plein air easel do you use and what brand of night lamp?-Just love the fact that you could paint in the dark, spooky but great still!

Kan Muftic said...

Wow.. Wow.. wow............
This must be the best painting I've seen in a long, long time. And a lovely story with the puma:)

Michael Pieczonka said...

wow, beautiful painting Mark. These are hard core conditions for a plein air painter!! Your dedications pays off for sure.

Solvay said...

I love this one. I love your nocturnes in general.
I'm crazy, but I love January in Minnesota, and am always a little sad when we pass out of it. You capture the unique air and light that travels through it in January. You are a living gift that you go out in the cold and capture this vision in paint on canvas. I love this painting.