RL Weber recently noted that the temperature was hovering around 0 degrees Fahrenheit. So he got ready to do some plein air painting.

Lead Image: RL Weber, braving the cold on the plains of Illinois

Sure, it’s cold. But it’s perfect for hardy souls like Weber, who likes a challenge — and likes the winter light. “The sunshine you get in the northern latitudes tends to slant across fields and wrap itself around objects, seemingly enveloping with its warmth and giving life to what would otherwise be frozen barns, fields, and hills,” he says. “When you paint en plein air in the summer months, there is a period of the day when the sun rises high into the sky and, therefore, becomes less attractive to a painter.

Weber’s painting
Weber’s painting

“In contrast, the winter sun never really rises that high in the sky at any point in the day and creates undramatic light to paint. The downside of this is that the temperatures also don’t rise very high! But painters look at these things as challenges: donning copious amounts of clothes, the lack of dexterity with mittens on, and sometimes painting with the other hand as your dominant one is being warmed up. These challenges were meant to be overcome. The results are paintings filled with a chilly light that would be hard to replicate in a studio environment.”


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