I had such plans for today — an appointment, lunch with an old friend, some casual shopping for food, and finally painting! Then I walked out into the wall of heat and started to unravel like Macbeth’s sleep patterns. For heaven’s sake — he murdered the king; all I did walk to the car. By the time I got home all possibie creativity had melted and run.
So let’s talk about the relationship between painting and climate. It is well accepted that the Mistral or Witches’ Wind contributed to the accelleration of van Gogh’s mental illness to the point where his cutting off an ear must have felt inevitable. Madness aside, simple physical factors such as temperature and humidity have powerful effects on the painting process. Because my oil paintings are comprised of multiple transparent layers, I depend on low humidity as a prerequisite to proceeding in any kind of timely manner. Each layer has to be bone dry before the next can be applied. My tentative finger test today proved that nothing has dried since yesterday. The surface remains syrupy and there is no point in continuing for the immediate future. Oil painting promotes patience, whether you want it or not.
This should be motivation to dig out my acrylics. Unfortunately, they dry too fast. (I am beginning to sound like Goldilocks, small girl of with high porridge standards.) The few acrylic paintings that I have been remotely satisfied with began and ended in days of pouring rain. Because the humidity level must have been close to 100%, I could work the pigments for long enough to coax them into submission.
There. It's both hot and humid, and I have just talked myself into giving my acrylics another crack. If life gives you lemons, paint one.