What do you see?

The warmer temperature today has softened everything. Turned the snow to slush and the ice to puddles. The same is true for the view from the window at school. Montreal looks soft and blurred. So what do you sketch when nothing is really clear? I struggled with this for a while before I tried to describe with a brush what I saw. The answer for me is to paint what you see, and if you can’t see much then that’s what you paint. So, the sky was first. I used a big mop brush to wet the top 3/4 of the paper and went in fast with colour. In this sketchbook the paper dries quickly and there are no second chances. After that I painted the big shape of the city with one wash that had some warm and some cool areas. When that dried, I added in some horizontal and vertical shapes, nothing too defined. Lastly I put in the bits of smoke from the industrial chimneys with some touches of Titanium White.


8 Comments on “What do you see?”

  1. I would say that you saw a lot! There is a ton of detail even if there are not the usual crisp white areas.


  2. Lee Kline says:

    What a wonderful notion – that if one cannot see much, then “not much” is what to paint. I love that.


  3. Frank Bettendorf says:

    The weather here in Northwestern Washington does the same kind of thing. There are days when the values all run together and there are few varieties except for muted black or stark white. But mostly middle values. I think your result is excellent! Thanks.
    Frank B


  4. Richard says:

    En octobre dernier, je suis passé à Dakar, Sénégal, qu’on n’a pas pu visiter. Une collègue m’a suggéré de prendre une photo de la ville à partir du bord de route : on voyait la ville comme sur votre dessin. Il faisait + 30 C, pas -10 C. Je ne savais pas quoi faire de cette photo qui m’avait l’air un peu banale. Mais en fait, elle a la même qualité et présente les mêmes difficultés que votre vue de Montréal. Avoir vos compétences, je saurais en tirer quelque chose de bien! Bravo!


  5. Sandi says:

    Peaceful. Love the expansive sky.


  6. Joan says:

    No matter what you paint, I love it. This one is no exception.


  7. marctaro says:

    Ah Montreal in the winter. You’ve made her grey silhouettes look quite nice today!


  8. Meg says:

    Love the description of your techniques. This painting is lovely, as usual.


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