Winter isn’t particularly hard on writers, but to urban sketchers — artists who sketch and paint the urban environment — winter is hard.

Hell, I can’t write if my chair is squeaking, but because urban sketchers are not a bunch of effete keypunchers, they don’t let an annoyance like sub-zero temperatures and snow stop them.

Some sketch from their cars. Others dress like they’re climbing Everest.

And Stockholm’s Nina Johansson (brilliantly) mixes vodka with her watercolors to keep them from freezing:

I mix my watercolor water with vodka when the temperature is below freezing. I use the cheapest kind of vodka. It’s important to use spirits with no colour or spices, since it might otherwise get sticky on the pages. Clean vodka just evaporates, doesn’t even smell strange once it’s gone from the paper. The colder the weather, the more vodka in the mix, usually at least 50/50. I bring a little bottle of this with me, and fill up a waterbrush with it. I don’t use my good paintbrushes, the liquor isn’t good for my brushes.

absolut warhol

Vodka in her watercolors. The idea itself is art.

 
I’m going to blurt what we’re all thinking: that’s precisely the kind of creative fix that deserves a Pulitzer.

Or a movie contract.

Not only is she pursuing her art in freezing temperatures, she’s also — and I can’t emphasize the utter rightness of this enough — painting with vodka.

You can continue with your day, secure in the knowledge that you will never be as cool — or as committed.

Keep writing (mix vodka with your keyboard if necessary), Tom Chandler.

p.s. — I’m learning to draw and paint, so expect more of this kind of weirdness in the future.