Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Painting in Warm Weather

(With sincere apologies to my Northern Hemisphere friends, some of whom I know have endured a bitter winter).

The Australian Summer brings with it a wealth of opportunities to get out and about, and more daylight time in which to paint with natural light filtering in through the windows.  However, there are many times at which the temperature is above 25 deg C.  At night.  And then there are the scorchers: above 30 or 35 deg C by 1PM in the daytime. Ordinarily, I wouldn't be painting with those temperatures.  Frankly, it's usually too hot to do much at all.  But year after year, I find myself painting in those conditions, usually because I have a tournament coming up that I need some extra models to be finished up for, or because I'm just a little bit crazy.

One of the obvious perils of painting in such warm conditions is that the paint dries much faster.  That can be something of a boon though if the intention is to apply lots of washes to a miniature (or batch of miniatures) since it dries off much faster and the next layer can be rapidly applied.  On the other hand, if you're not paying enough attention or painting fast enough, it can readily clog up the bristles of the paint brush.  Hence my first top tip about painting in hot weather is to wash your brushes more frequently than you usually do.

In cooler times and climates, leaving the lid of the paint pots open doesn't cause any dramas.  But they sure can dry out fast if you accidentally forget to close the lid of the pots you're no longer using!  I've done it myself a couple of times and learnt the hard way to only have a couple (i.e. two at maximum!) lids open at any one time.  I also like to try to keep any pots that I will not need for the rest of a painting session to one side so that I have a clear line of sight to the paint pots that have their lids open!

Mixing together colours can be tricky unless you're using a wet sponge technique.  I'd advise to try to steer away from making your own mixes if possible (at least until the Sun dips below the horizon) due to the rapid drying times.

If you enjoy doing a little wet blending (e.g. the bloodletter's hellblade sword picture above), then this is one that you might like to leave altogether unless absolutely necessary.  I'd suggest having practice at using wet blending techniques in cooler conditions before having to speed up in hotter conditions since celerity is exactly what is needed to pull wet blends off in hotter weather.  One really needs to race through applying the colours and blending them together before they dry out.

Let me know if you have any further tips for painting in hot weather...?

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