Freezing watercolours

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The Christmas celebrations are over, had a great time with relatives in Värmland in the Western part of Sweden. I managed to get myself out of the sofa (you know the drill around Christmas – lit candles, long-johns, and film watching is an important part of the general plan) and out drawing twice near where my in-laws live. I wanted to try out my watercolours in these really low temperatures (in this case -6 and -13°C), along with the vodka/water mix in my waterbrush. It did work really well to paint with watercolours this way, though the paint behaves a bit differently than usual.

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It freezes a bit on the palette, just about to the texture of slush ice. Squeezing out more water/alcohol into it, turns it into floating paint again for a little while. It dries pretty quickly on the page as long as I don´t add too many layers of paint in a short time. In the second image, the cloudy sky actually behaved like it dried, but when I got inside it turned wet again, so obviously it had frozen.

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Also, drawing and painting with double wool mittens is a bit tricky, but I found it quite liberating. I have to leave out a lot of detail, stop worrying about wiggly lines, and hurry up like crazy, because after about 20 minutes both drawing and paint has to be finished in these temperatures, otherwise I don´t have any sense left in my fingers.

So yeah, definitely no need to stop sketching outdoors because it´s cold. You just have to adjust time and tools a bit.

Top drawing: 20 x 13 cm, bottom drawing: 20 x 10 cm, UniPin fineliner and watercolours with vodka/water mix in Stillman & Birn alpha series sketchbook.

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