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Oct 1, 2014

Mad Dogs and Englishmen...

I've been painting en plein air outdoors for over thirty years now, long before anyone knew what to call it, and spent even more years before that hiking, camping, and climbing various mountains under the sun. There was even one summer back in the '70s when I worked high up on the slopes of Mt. Hood as an outdoor lifeguard at a BSA summer camp. I stood around all day on a dock wearing nothing but a Speedo and way too much baby oil. (No, no, do not attempt to picture that!...

So like an idiot, I've exposed myself to a lot of UVs in my life and it seems to be finally catching up with me.

That goofy hat you see me wearing when I paint comes with a reason. It offers the best coverage from the sun I've found, apart from dunking my head in sunblock SPF 250,000,000,000. Which I also now do as well.

It is a Paddler's Hat from REI and what makes it great for the outdoor painter is the way the brim is shaped longer in the back and points downwards to increase neck coverage. Even better, the underside of the brim is colored black and it absorbs any light bouncing off the ground, the water, or snow at your feet. (Such reflections are a concern because you can still get burned from below.) And this hat crushes into a small ball for easy packing. It washes and dries quickly. And it provides ventilation around my head so I can continue painting during the hottest part of the day. (Do you know the old Noel Coward song: "...Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun...?" And now, apparently, plein air painters can be added to the same group.)

Here is a good review of the hat. I agree with what this guy says except I don't have trouble with the liner and I replaced the pointless fob on the strap with a zip-cinch that works. My hat stays on in gale-force winds. It flaps around a bit, maybe, but stays on my head...

So hey, if you don't mind looking a little goofy give this hat a try. Because in the end buying a good sun hat is a lot cheaper than paying for a bunch of Mohs surgeries. Besides, if I have any more of my face scraped off I'll start have to start wearing an eye-patch and spontaneously yelling out, "Arrrrrrrrr!"


If you are interested in taking one 
my painting workshops the next 
one will be held this February in 
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. 

I have invited two great outdoor painters Anne Blair Brown and Frank Gardner to come teach as well. Besides being a very informative and entertaining time for everyone who participates, San Miguel will be a fine place to paint afterwards, during the depths of winter, and the culture and citizens offer many delights to every kind of artist.

For more information click here

Mi amigos, it will be a painting experience like no other!...


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