It’s Christmas and New Year’s time, but I must admit that the most important date for me remains the Winter Solstice. It happens around December 21st, the date of entry into winter on our calendars, and corresponds to the shortest day and therefore the longest night of the year. From there, the days start to get longer. For several millennia, humans have celebrated this date in many different ways and it is hardly surprising that in many religions and cultures throughout history and the world, the most important celebration of the year is around this date.
In the same way that it is always a bit paradoxical to see the days shorten as summer begins on June 21st, it is strange to see the days lengthen as we enter the heart of winter.
Winter has set in here in southern Norway and we’ve had a few weeks of constant cold, around -10°C. Under these conditions, the slightest bit of air in the absence of sunlight causes the watercolor to freeze on the paper almost instantly. So it’s time to paint with vodka! Yes indeed, it lowers the freezing point and allows me to continue painting comfortably. The behavior of the different pigments changes, some are less miscible than others. The wet technique becomes more complicated but this requires more direct choices, to go more straight to the point. Here, a field watercolor, of a young Common Gull, staying on the ice painted entirely with vodka, not a single drop of water!