Ski touring & Painting in the Swiss Alps (video)
To begin painting in the Swiss Alps I first need to get there with all my stuff. This time I take the train, with a pair of skis , 3 canvasses, my backpack and a large roller bag. Then finally from Sierre I hop on the funicular, then finally a bus to my destination. Phew. Crans-Montana is in the canton Valais Switzerland. A resort is located in the heart of the Swiss Alps on a plateau above Sierre an altitude of 1400m, with stunning views over Valais Alps and Weisshorn. An ideal spot to start off the New Year!
When you see a finished painting its natural to imagine the work (time painting). But in reality the actual act of painting takes up sometimes only half of the time required for me to complete a painting ‘en plein air’ in the mountains. Once you have travelled to your destination you need to scout the locations you want to work, checking the light and allowing yourself to be inspired. Half the time is spent travelling to the painting location, then setting up and returning home.
Equipment for painting in the Swiss Alps :
Below is a list of all the kit I carry up the mountain. If you have a go, I should say, it’s is quite easy but may require some creative packing and can take a little while before packing and unpacking it becomes second nature.
Sometimes I take the lift up, If I want early morning light then I ski tour up from the village starting before sunrise. The easiest way to travel on snow with a heavy backpack is ski touring. This is a method using ‘skins’ which a long time ago would have been real ‘seal skins’. Now synthetic, with directional hair on one side they stick along the bottom of your skis which allows you to slide forward but not backward. You make your way up the mountain sliding one foot in front of the other. Apart from skis, skins and ski poles everything else goes on, or in the backpack.
- Avalanche equipment: Transceiver, shovel & probe.
- For painting: Folding field easel, palette, painting box with tubes of oil paints, selection of paint brushes & palette knife. tissue or rag for cleaning & trash bag for used paper.
- My mountain palette includes: Lead white, cad yellow light, cad yellow, cad red medium, cerulean blue , cobalt blue, ultra marine blue & cobalt violet. 1 jar of my own painting medium, 1jar of linseed oil & some turpentine.
- Other: A torch, warm hat & sun hat. A flask of hot drink, food/snacks & a compass (some more difficult terrain requires ski crampons & ice axe). Depending on painting location I will take my warm sorrel winter boots. If I have a long way to walk up I nav weight and paint wearing my ski touring boots which have a walk mode.
see the finished painting – ‘Chetzeron with sunset effect’ in the landscape gallery.
A day painting the Swiss Alps:
To see the finished paintings from Crans Montana and other parts of Switzerland please see the Gallery
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