Plein Air painters Lynn Rix and Pamela Ruschman forged an incredible friendship because they were both greatly inspired by the raw beauty of Lake Michigan in winter. This gallery exhibit features their paintings of the Schlitz Audubon shoreline and Wisconsin landscapes throughout the seasons.
Plein Air in Winter
They first discovered the unique ice formations of our shoreline while painting together in 2010. Pam had invited Lynn to paint with her at the Center while her son attended our Nature Preschool. Winter quickly became one of their favorite seasons. They’re inspired by the always-changing view of ice-canoes, varying shades of teal water, and long shadows, augmented by whistling wind, booming ice shifts, and laughing children.
Gearing Up to Paint
As with any outdoor winter activity, layers are key. This includes a good water- and windproof jacket, wool socks, and a balaclava to protect the nose, mouth and neck area. Good boots with cleats, which are important because they often hike with gear to their painting location. Lynn has created a custom multi-layered mitten to help keep her hands warm, while still allowing her to paint.
Their medium of choice, oil paints, don’t freeze in cold temperatures but do become more difficult to work with the longer they are out in the cold. They use their palette knives more frequently to block in large areas of color and there is no lingering to make small tweaks. In this weather, the artists must make a quick decision, keeping their paintings spontaneous and fresh.
The Schlitz Audubon Gallery is open during the Center’s regular business hours, and located on the second floor mezzanine, which is wheelchair accessible via an elevator. This exhibit will be on display through January 27.