Planning for Zion

One of the things that makes Zion National Park so spectacular is the different colours of the rock in the canyon walls. When you’re standing in the canyon and looking up you see the sandstone hues moving from white at the top to pink and then to red with hints of blue and green. I am still working on a series of large-format watercolours of Utah’s National Parks. For each painting I start with a value sketch, usually in pencil and that usually provides enough direction to move on to the larger painting. For the first of my Zion paintings I felt the need for a bit more planning — to really figure out the colours as well as the values, so I did this postcard-sized sketch. It takes a lot of restraint not to paint in some of the details (cracks in the rock faces, grasses in the foreground, etc) but that’s not the point of this. It’s really about sticking with the big shapes and saving the smaller brushes for later.



8 Comments on “Planning for Zion”

  1. Tony says:

    Hi Shari. Can’t tell you how great it is to see your post come through and find it’s another ‘hidden gem’ from or of Utah. Not only that, but the big shape treatment and wonderful colours too. A total joy. Best, Tony


  2. jw mooney says:

    Thank you for sharing your work with the world. It is enjoyable to see and the technique/product informajtion is helpful.


  3. tmikeporter says:

    When you shara your process it’s very helpful.


  4. Mrs. P says:

    Hi Shari, I’ve always been very un-artistic and started following your blog about a year ago. Your simple sketches every day fostered a desire to be just a little bit creative. And although my sketching is very poor, I know that I will improve with practice.

    I did do a fun painting class recently and in doing so, was able to break down painting in layers. I had so much fun that I signed up for another class which I will be going to today. Right now, I am just imitating other artist’s work but it’s enough to encourage me to continue. Just doing the first class broke down the complexities enough that I found I couldn’t wait for today’s class and painted another on my own.

    Your recent posts on sketching people were especially interesting because I have a lot of trouble with people as well and seeing your improvements is reinforcing the practice aspect of drawing. I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your daily posts…it was very instrumental in my picking up that paintbrush. ❤


  5. Joan says:

    So glad to see more of your sketches from Zion, a place I’ve spent many hours taking photos (before drawing/sketching) of the breathtaking landscape. Only a couple hours travel for me by car…need I say that the fall season is spectacular? So much of Utah is beautiful I hope you get to visit some of the other places worth visiting, like Capital Reef, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Escalante Staircase, Arches.


  6. Rhonda says:

    Another inspiring piece… much talent. Have you ever posted a demonstration on how you paint rocks….large and small. Would love to see that. You have such a gift for making them look so realistic.


  7. Nathalie says:

    Very great of you to share how you are preparing the ground for surely a fabulous aquarelle. Thanks for sharing in words and pictures.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s