Painting in the rain?

May be an image of nature
Plein Air painting above Canoe, BC, painting by Jason Bartziokas

“I’ve always enjoyed looking at art and when I was exposed to artists Tai-Shan Schierenberg and John Singer Sargent I knew I wanted to be an oil painter. I pursue painting because I am obsessed with it.” -Jason Bartziokas 

Jason lives in Salmon Arm with his wife and two daughters. They moved from Alberta last year. He’s been a professional artist since graduating art college in 2004. Currently, he is creating landscape pieces around the Shuswap. He does what is called Plein Air painting, which is a fancier way of saying ‘painting from life outside’. That’s right, he stands outside in all kinds of weather for hours at a time. He’s painted in the rain and even in temperatures cold enough to make it difficult to move his hands. That’s dedication! Or crazy? Why does he do this?

“I love the challenge of painting outdoors. From the beginning the elements and light are changing so when I can capture the likeness or feel of what I’m painting then it’s really rewarding. I also prefer to paint from life rather than photo. The eye can pick up more details and subtleties then a camera. And the mark making of trying to get the right information down on the canvas quickly and correctly makes for a more dynamic painting. Yes, I have spent many hours painting in winter temperatures. It can get very cold. The rain is actually okay because it doesn’t ruin the oil, unless it is enough to obscure my vision.”

May be an image of nature
Nature Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, Salmon Arm, painting by Jason Bartziokas

I stay warm wearing long underwear and lots of sweaters. My feet and hands are the first to give in if the weather is too cold. Being fresh from Alberta, BC winters still seem pretty mild. A painting session for me is usually two to three hours at a time. I’ll return at the same time with similar weather if the painting needs more work. I’ve spent five and half hours once on a  painting when the sky was overcast and the light stayed consistent.

I don’t listen to music. I like the sounds of my surroundings when I work and I need to be alert when painting in nature with wildlife. I’m lucky to have had a dozen bear encounters without incident, bear spray hangs off the easel in the summer months. I love painting in nature and city/town streets equally, for me it’s about capturing the scene that I find intriguing on that day.”

May be an image of food and nature
A sunny day in Canoe, BC, painting by Jason Bartziokas

Jason Bartlziokas also enjoys portrait work and has recently started to explore still life. He has been drawing and creating since he was young. Recently, he has been following his goal to be an oil painter.

For a glimpse into the world of a chainsaw artist in the Shuswap, click here!