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Painting While its Snowing !

It snowed off and on the whole time we painted. What a great afternoon! I was happy I had my umbrella in the car. As soon as it started snowing I put it up. I had a sneaky feeling that it was going to snow off and on all afternoon. And it did ! Every few minutes a new snow squall would blow through.

Here is a peek at how I start my painting of a sugar house on a snowy late winter day.

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Snow Painting Gear

At dawn in Sugar Hill, NH. , at 6:30 AM its -4 and I’m up checking the weather conditions for the day.

I paint out doors year round in New England. I live on the coast of Maine where I often have to deal with wind off the water so that figures into my clothing plan . For snow painting in the mountains it was pretty clear cut. I brought almost everything I had for high tech clothes and a few tried and true favorites .


Here is our group of painters each with their choice of cold weather garb. Boots are the most important piece of clothing. They need to be good for at least -100 and a -145 rating- this means you won’t get cold feet while standing still for hours. Painters on this outing who did not have the right boots (-45 didn’t work) got cold standing on snow. One painter put foot warmers in her boots and that kept her warm. Most of us had these monster boots and did not get cold feet . Cabelas and Sorrel makes boots like this that work. They are called Pac boots and are fine for dog sledding across Alaska.

Here is an example of a very cheerful painter whom you can barely recognize due the amount of clothing they are wearing! She is wearing a wool hat, neck combo specifically made for this trip. Many painters were wearing down parkas on this trip . Others were wearing wool jackets with insulated overalls. Two hats layered were not unusual.

What I used for this trip … I wore a layer of cotton against my skin, (sometimes I wear silk) then a cotton turtle neck, a thin down vest, a thick wool sweater,a wind proof polar tech vest, a polar teck neck gator, a polar tech head band , a polar tech hat , a down parka and topping it all a wind proof shell. On the bottom I wore cotton sweat pants, polar tech pants over them and wind proof polar tech pants on the top layer. I have down pants but wanted layers in case I got too over heated. On my hands I wore fingerless wool gloves. I was very toasty – had to take off my hat and paint in the shade when the sun was out.

This trio of painters are wearing down and 2 of them are wearing 2 hats . You can see they don’t look cold.

The camoflage unit on this painter was duck hunting gear. He knew it would work for painting if it worked for sitting in a duck blind for hours. It was totally insulated. Everyone was very puffy and needed to pull off layers when we went indoors.

Here is what indoors looked like…cozy and warm, the world we entered after a day of painting!

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The White Mountain Painters


Snow painting is for the hale and hearty. It is a totally rewarding experience. The right equipment to keep you warm and comfortable in these cold temperatures is important.


Snow clouds moved in across the White Mountains in the late afternoon to bring a sprinkling of the white stuff at dawn.

The Sunset Hill Inn where we were “camped” is an old historic inn with a great off the beaten track location. It was perfect as a snow camp base.

During the day the clouds would come in and drag across the mountain peaks leaving a layer of white . They left a visible snow line.


It was snowing fairly steadily so I painted this sketch under the roof of the large porch on the back of the inn.

Nancy and Susan concentrated on their paintings as the temperatures dropped and the air grew damp.


Dennis and Will went for the total New Hampshire winter plein air experience in falling snow. They had favorite spots where they painted out in the open meadow.
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Snow Camp in Sugar Hill, NH

Big adventure ! This past weekend I headed into the white Mountains of New Hampshire with a group of plein air painters to paint with the snow man himself Stapleton Kearns.


Here Stapleton, Ginger and Susan are heading out to find a good spot to set up .


This location on Sunset Hill in Sugar Hill in wonderful. The top is open meadows with the White Mountains to the east and the Green Mountains to the west. The sun moved in and out of thin clouds all day.


Stapleton is in his element painting snow. He is pictured here comfortably painting in 11 degrees temps.


Dennis and Willek set up and painted down in the lower meadow.


At the end of the day as the sun set and the temperatures dropped the mountain tops began forming small pink clouds on their peaks.