|"Cardinals in the snow" by Hilary J. England|
oil on canvas, 8" x 11"
I have been very busy as usual, but not too busy to stop and enjoy the falling snow and the visitors that appeared at the bird feeder right after: a group of social Cardinals. They were so sweet, and seemed to be having a brunch or some sort of little get-together after the snow ended.
It isn't always easy to set up and capture a scene quickly, but you do get used to it after years of practice. I have a very basic pochade box, and I paint very quickly, utilizing a limited palette many times. This time was one of those times. I used only Van Dyke brown, Ultramarine, Cad Red deep, Indian Yellow, and Titanium white. This allows for a rapid study without too many color choices that can become troublesome if you are trying to do a basic study.
I love cardinals--they are one of my favorite native birds, as the are both stout and elegant, and of course, their color. This was a very enjoyable painting for me, and I don't mind painting in the cold. As long as you take certain steps and precautions, painting outdoors in winter is not a miserable experience. Always make sure your head and feet are warm and dry, you keep your medium covered so it doesn't gum up, and work rapidly if it's really cold (your paint can actually get inconsistent and "gloppy"). Other than that, enjoy!. I always do. Be sure to bring a thermos of hot tea, coffee, or whatever you like that's hot. It helps both for your body and your soul <3