Wisconsin painter Lynn M. Rix was highly motivated to improve upon the Aldro Hibbard painting mitt she read about last year. “I have had frostbitten fingers on my hand,” she says. “I was a timer for skiing events, so I had to have my hand exposed. I have tried everything.” What was her fix?
Rix and her mitt in action
“I remember reading about Aldro Hibbard’s wool sock mitt online somewhere last year,” says Rix. “I tried the wool sock, and it wasn’t really heavy enough. So I knit another sock, using an old patterned sweater. There are way more layers when you have a pattern, so start with an old sweater with a pattern. This makes a mitt that is heavy, yet bendable.”
“Sunny and Cold,” by Lynn M. Rix, oil, 12 x 16 in.
Rix used the sleeve of an old sweater, sewing one end shut and allowing the cuff of the sweater to bind the wool close around her wrist. (She strongly recommends wool, not acrylic.) Inside the mitt she fashioned from the sweater sleeve, Rix wears a mitten liner that has a pocket on the outside (back of the hand) for a hand warmer. She left an opening along the seam so she could slip the end of a paintbrush into the mitt.
“It’s easy,” says Rix, who admits that she knows how to sew. “Anybody could go to Goodwill and get a sweater, cut it apart, and sew it to the shape of their hand. You can get two pairs of mitts out of the sleeves, and more if you knit. I just did it. Then again, because I sew, I knew this would work before I started.”
Rix paints on location in Wisconsin.
It does help that when Rix paints in cold weather, she is prepared to use a big brush and get big shapes. She will also use a palette knife, which helps in carving out shapes — but she says the variety with a bent handle was difficult to control with the mitt on.
Rix is the subject of a duo show with Rita Maria at Delafield Arts Center in Delafield, Wisconsin, from February 6 through March 29. The 21 pieces from Rix in the exhibition mostly focus on the particularly snowy and cold Wisconsin winter of 2014. “I was outside a lot in it because I love painting, I love winter, and I love snow,” she says.