Top Tips for painting plein air in Winter

Top Tips for painting plein air in Winter

Georgina Potter shares her tips for painting in all weathers

If you’re serious about painting plein air, that means getting out in all weather conditions. We are passionate advocates of painting outdoors, so we have asked one of our visiting tutors to share her top tips for plein air. Georgina Potter is talented landscape artist and ambassador for Cranfield Colours Artist Oils.

Did you know…..the Impressionists used to paint standing on straw to keep their feet warm whilst painting plein air!

Are you an all-weather painter? Snow and rain?

Yes! I paint in any weather if the light is right. Snow, sleet, hail, wind, rain….anything goes!

Georgie in a calmer moment!

What the added challenges that painters face in cold weather?

Keeping my palette and painting dry are the hardest things. If it’s raining on it’s own I can use an umbrella, but with wind it makes it impossible, so I tend to avoid those scenarios. I also find my fingers and toes get extremely cold too – I’ve just ordered some heated insoles for my boots!

I also stand on cardboard if I need to as it acts as an insulator. Usually if I’m dressed appropriately on my body, I’m okay for a few hours. I have an amazing heated gilet which keeps my core lovely and toasty.

We sell an easel umbrella with a purpose made clip which is very useful for plein air work. It’s translucent white which can be used to shade you from the sun or protect you from the rain.

What are your top tips for painting snow?

My top tip for painting snow would be to keep a mix of cools and warms. Warm light where the sun hits the snow, and cool colours (purples and purply blues) where the snow falls into shadow.

What is your snow palette?

Cranfield Artist Oils Kings Blue Deep, Ultramarine Blue and Alizarin Crimson give me my cool colours and Cadmium Yellow Genuine and Titanium White for my warm lights.

Shop for Cranfield Artists Oils in 40ml tubes x 40 colours. Prices start at £5.50

Can you share with us an overview of your painting process?

I tend to go straight in with the scene I have in mind. I tend to know what I’m looking for now and I’ll either drive to somewhere I think might work and find a scene or I’ll go to a spot I have visited previously. Locally when I’m out and about with my family I am constantly taking photos as references to places that might be of interest.

That means I have a bank of places to try and there is an argument to say that if the light is right, there will be a scene to paint anywhere if you look closely enough. When I have found a spot I map out my painting with a small brush and then get stuck in with colour. When it’s cold it works to my favour – I don’t think I could sit and draw/plan the painting beforehand when it’s -1 degree C!

How long do you paint for at any one time?

I might do two paintings from one spot, but that is pretty much the maximum. This can take up to 2.5 hours in one session, and then I revisit the paintings in the studio to make sure I’m happy.

Do you mind painting in public or do you find a secret spot?

I really don’t mind painting in public these days, but when I first started I hate it and used to find somewhere no-one could see me! I’ve since realised that very few people are actually interested, and those that are interested usually aren’t experienced artists and are just excited about what you’re doing. I have painting my worst ever pieces in public yet I’ve still had people ooh’ing and ahh’ing behind me which always makes me laugh!

To find out more about Georgina Potter, visit her website here.

Contact her via email

Follow her on Instagram @georginapotterartist

Paintings available, commissions, exhibition news, workshops and tutoring. We hope Georgie will come back and teach a workshop at Pegasus Art when we are able!

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