Car Painting and Other Rainy Day Antics

Car Painting 1

Ready to roll, passenger seat studio style!

Peak fall color brought with it a friend this year: a bone-chilling, rain-filled week. From my little renovated former boathouse cottage, I watched the waters rise on Little Traverse Lake, hoping my cottage would not again end up a boathouse. It has rained for nearly a week straight, with high temps around 46 degrees.

Car Painting 2

It can be done, right inside your car!

But the trees were still shining bright in glorious yellows, oranges and reds, with splashes of lime and pine green. It needed to be painted.

Car Painting 3

I’m getting the hang of this car painting thing!

Hand warmers helped. The fingers are the first to hurt in that kind of cold. And painting out of the back of the car with the hatch back up can ward off light rain. Check and check. But when it downpours and you’re over being cold, there’s car painting.

I turned my little KIA Soul into a studio. Pushing the passenger seat back as far as it would go, there was room for my Open Box M pochade (easel) to stand on a tripod and I could paint. It’s not the same — you can’t feel the air and hear the birds and feel connected to nature — but you can observe it, and learn from those observations. And that is an important part of painting from nature. It’s a distant second to actually being IN nature, but in a pinch, it will do.

“Get outside and make art” is a great rule to live by, but as the temperatures in Michigan plummet, I’m dreaming of my toasty studio, with a fire going. It’s all cyclical, and what I like best about living with the seasons. I’ll still get outside everyday as fall turns to winter — my fur baby insists. I’m thinking I’ll just stick to hiking though, which generates a lot more heat than painting. So I’ll be seeing you inside the studio a lot more these days. And that holds a joy all its own!

How will you be celebrating these shorter cooler days? I’m thinking chili by the fireside is in my future! Come talk about it on Instagram and Facebook.

Car Painting 4

This was done from the back of my car, hatch back up, to shield the rain. I prefer this method, as you’re still in nature and not separated from it!


  1. Brandy November 6, 2017 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    This is great!

    • Stephanie Schlatter November 6, 2017 at 6:15 pm - Reply

      Thank you Brandy!

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