A bit of winter drama

How dark can you go in watercolour? This sketch was quite wishy-washy when I brought it home so I decided to add another layer of really dark washes to the background trees and the utility poles. Did I go to far? Maybe. But you don’t learn until you push it. And hopefully next time the result will be something in between the drab and the overly dramatic.


37 Comments on “A bit of winter drama”

  1. Ross says:

    Looks great… I love the sombre colours and tones… and the format.
    (Made sure I was first on the bus this time)


    • Glad you made it on the bus Ross. Thanks!


      • Ross says:

        Yes, but it got crowded after I boarded.
        Now, I think this looks good because it is so dark… amongst other things. One of the common criticisms of watercolour is that it looks wishy-washy (that’s a technical term). This painting blows that notion away… more, please.


  2. Nope, it looks great … and strong.


  3. Tim Mancusi says:

    I agree. You captured the lights and darks perfectly.
    If you look at this one and blur your eyes slightly you would think you
    were looking at a photograph of the scene. This is one I will look back
    on to see how you did it.


    • Someone else on Flickr told me the same thing. She looked at it first on her phone and thought it was a photo. It’s too bad I didn’t scan it before I added the extra layer of darks. It would have been a good teaching example.


  4. Mary says:

    i really like the drama Shari with your heightened contrasts 🙂


  5. Carol Koffler says:

    I think that it’s just perfect as it is! Carol Koffler

    Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2015 02:43:20 +0000 To: ckoffler@sympatico.ca


  6. RENE MANNING says:

    Qué bonito trabajo, y solamente es un sketch…!!! Felicidades.


  7. I really like it and so glad you shared the process!


  8. We are not used to see your aquarellas so dark thats all. For me it looks like it should, after all….


  9. I love the intensity of your colours in this piece. I can even tell you exactly where it is. Thanks for sharing and moving in these various directions. Keep up the great work.


  10. Janice Kelky says:

    Think the darker wash produced a really interesting mood for your painting.


  11. jbielak says:

    It looks fantastic – great composition, terrific contrast in values. Good job!


  12. Vera says:

    I like that you took such an ordinary, almost ugly street scene and made it worthy of a watercolor painting. Most of us are not surrounded by beautiful landscapes and dazzling sunsets, we live in the real world and need to see the beauty in the every day. Thanks for doing that.


    • I really appreciate your comments Vera. When I’m looking for something to sketch, I am searching for an interesting combination of overlapping shapes, and interesting value relationships. If it turns out that a beautiful combo of shapes happens to be an ugly street scene, so be it. There is beauty in everything and sketching has taught me that.


  13. Janet says:

    I agree with all the comments. The added wash brought out the drama in the painting. The deepened tones are beautiful. Again, just a wonderful picture!!


  14. Peter France says:

    I think a person like Winslow Homer had lots of very dark, and muddy, areas in his watercolours. Nothing wrong with some overworked, muddy areas here and there.
    Not saying that your watercolour is overworked. I supposed you could make the trees even darker, just to see what happens 🙂


    • I haven’t seen any Winslow Homer works in person, but I did see the Sargent show in Brooklyn. I couldn’t believe how much paint (and wax) was on the surface of the work. I suspect the same would be true of Winslow Homer. It would be interesting to see how much more I could put on the surface of this but for now I think I wil just leave it.


  15. Nicole Awerbug says:

    I quite like the darkness, it makes more of a statement.


  16. Joan says:

    It’s not too dark. I like it as it is, somber, cold, grey day. I’d like to have seen the “before drama” to compare. Thanks for sharing your wonderful sketches.


  17. Andrea says:

    You truly capture the cold, wet, and dreary feeling of winter. Very nice.


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