When I go out in my car looking for something to sketch I am not searching for a particular scene, but rather for interesting shapes and contrasting values. The best shapes are always the ones that overlap and interlock. So why did I choose this scene at the side of the church in Pointe Claire? The car overlapped the house, breaking up that rectangle. The utility pole broke up the two parts of the house as well as the sky. The tree overlapped the church and the sky. The fence broke up the white of the snow. And at just the right moment the caretaker shovelled the path.

I painted this on a block of Fabriano Artistico Extra White, Cold Pressed, 140 lbs. Size: 12″ x 9″. Time: about 1 hour in my car on the way to work. Outside temperature: -10C


24 Comments on “Overlapping”

  1. Shari,
    Nice work. What size brush do you use for the branches?

  2. carolynboll says:

    just near us– so neat to see this 🙂 and it definitely captures the colour and temperature these days

  3. Monique says:

    It was so cold today! Downtown w/ windchill on Sherbrooke..lost my breath..So nice to come home to the country:)

    The car is perfect too.

  4. Jane Hannah says:

    Thank you Shari for explaning how to choose topics… very interesting and pedagogical and a great help to me as I struggle more often in trying to “find” something to sketch, than actually sketching it. When I have the most success is when I make a very quick decision and then ponder on the angle… thank you 😉

  5. Careen says:

    Great refresher on the importance of overlapping and interlocking shapes in our designs.

  6. Lee Kline says:

    You must be part penguin. -10! Yikes! I am not man enough to go sketching with the indomitable. Shari! I’ll stay here in the kitchen, sipping my tea. Thanks for the xplanation of how you choose a subject. I NEVER think like that – and I should!

  7. We probably take it for granted, but the mere art of sketching scenes versus singular objects always seems to be a challenge, at least for me. When I step out to do some quick sketching for lunch, I like to find simple objects and hone in on detail and overall appeal, but bringing more than one object, especially overlapping ones, ups the challenge ante. Very nice sketch in this post, especially the sense of depth created with the church in the background.

    • Thanks so much Jason for these thoughtful comments. When I paint scenes like this I am really thinking about the values in each shape, not the colour or the details even. I think it is a different thought process from when I draw objects. This goes back to my training as a watercolour painter. We always looked at the big shapes and not the lines.

  8. rkb665 says:

    Shari, You do lovely work. I always look forward to your posts.

  9. Ross C says:

    In my opinion, the composition, with all of the overlapping elements works so well here… I am a big fan of layering… nicely done! And, is this the same red door to the church that I seem to recall from a number of previous posts? And, my other question is about your colour palette… did you borrow someone else’s paint box for this… the colours look very different to approach that I am used to seeing from you?

    • This is the same red door. It’s even the same green snow fence. It is a bit eerie that you know that I changed palettes for this. I was trying out the colours that I am going to use in my limited palette workshop in Barcelona. Good spotting.

  10. helmut langeder says:

    I really love the “overlapping” scene. Great composition!

  11. Peggy Haug says:

    Shari, I’m an urban sketcher in Seattle, and I’ve just discovered your work. Oh my!!!! I really like your work!! The spontaneity, the freshness, they’re simply NOT overworked at all! And then there’s color, and your particular palette. This little scene is so perfect! What a joy to discover your work!!

    • Hi Peggy,
      So nice to hear from you. I didn’t remember what post you were replying to so I went back to look at it. Just took that painting to be framed for an upcoming show.
      Marc Holmes and I were thinking of holding a workshop in Seattle in August but we changed the venue to Montreal. Too bad because I have always wanted to visit your city. Maybe next year!!
      The palette I used for this is a limited palette and it is the same combo I will be using for my workshop in Barcelona: ultramarine, alizarin and aureolin. Glad you like it.

  12. Ross C says:

    After making far too many comments on this blog (not all of them complimentary) over the past 14 months, I think that Peggy has just explained, in only 18 words, what I find so appealing about your work… I have never managed to say it so clearly or concisely…
    “The spontaneity, the freshness, they’re simply NOT overworked at all! And then there’s color, and your particular palette.”

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