Hills and valleys

I rarely use rough paper but thought I’d give it a try today. I usually find it too bumpy, but the trick, as I found out, is to use really wet washes. I generally don’t seem to mix up enough paint on the palette and end up having a brush that goes dry before it should. With this little experiment, I made sure I had big puddles of wash on the palette for the first wash of orange sky and then later for the large blue areas. And the advantage of this is that when you do want some texture, you can let that big brush go dry and run it over the hills and valleys in the paper.


43 Comments on “Hills and valleys”

  1. Harriet Braun says:


  2. Sue says:

    Very nice! I love it that you are not afraid to experiment with a variety of materials, subject matter, techniques and share. Thank you!

  3. I like this Shari.. getting abstract just shape and color.

  4. Love it, Shari. Very very effective. The intensity of the shadows, the light on the snow, the darks of the trees, and that sky….WOW. You’ve captured the time of day. Congrats!

  5. Isszzy says:

    The orange sky is simply magic!

  6. Julie Gomez says:

    Very nice, Shari! Lovely colors and textures.

  7. It looks like it was worthwhile!

  8. Anyck says:

    Beautiful and strong

  9. andre savard says:

    Excellent play on the lights and shadows.

  10. jeanne kosfeld says:

    Shari; I always go to your site for inspiration, and you never cease to amaze me. I also have wondered how you scan your work for your blog? I have a Canon MG8120 flatbed that is just okay for scanning, but I always seem to get a dirty look and need to touch up my sketches in PhotoShop before I post them. Do have a trick to getting clean scans? Do you photograph your work rather than scan it?

    • Jeanne, I have an Epson Perfection Scanner. I use that all the time, except for very large paintings. The work always has to be touched up in Photoshop. The untouched scans are very flat so usually the levels have to be brought up in Photoshop. Also, sometimes one colour or another will be oversaturated and so I take Saturation down a notch. And the third thing is usually to make sure the whites are really white. That’s about all I do unless there are some splats I need to remove but usually I leave most of those.

  11. Bev Rankin says:

    Gorgeous, Shari! You really caught the feeling of the space.

  12. lynnbowes says:

    You have a way with trees and twigs that escapes my hand. Mine are too delicate and tentative while yours are positive and have impact. I really like this post – inspiration for me to keep trying until it clicks :: lynn

  13. CharlieAmra says:

    This is just so WOW! I love the powerful contrasts you have created with a limited palette. You work always seems to go beyond a simple picture and also captures the mood of the subject. Bravo!!

    • Well, I’m glad to hear that. Mood was what I was going for here. These are the woods near my house where I walk my dog and often the end of day light is very beautiful through the trees.

  14. Chris Rusk says:

    Very successful. I love your choice of colour and delivery. Your scene is so real (as familiar as a nice walk near a woods) and almost abstract at the same time. So well done.

    • Thanks so much Chris. This little patch of woods is a minute from my house and it’s always beautiful to spend a few minutes there with my dog and look at the changing light. I often freeze my hands trying to take pictures.

  15. Lee Kline says:

    This is very graphic. Has the feel of a wood block print to me. So much strength.

  16. Nell says:

    Love this! The sky, the shadows on the snow…. How do you get your trees so dark?? I’m thinking you mix your blacks….I can’t seem to get mine to look like that.
    You always do such beautiful paintings…..thanks for sharing.

  17. Crazy good! When I finally grow up I want to be just like you, but not as cute! Jacques

  18. george smith says:

    Insanely stunning. At first I thought it was a serigraph. I think you are creating new approaches to watercolors – a brave path to tread, but I think you must. The understated detail forces the mind to subliminally add what the mind and imagination want. Enjoy the weekend, Shari.

    • George, it’s a really great exercise to see how far watercolour can be pushed. We always think of it as mostly soft and transparent but it can be deep and opaque too. I like trying to see how far it can go, even if some sheets end up in the garbage.

  19. This is wonderful Shari, so strong. A very successful experiment!

  20. Sharon Smith says:


  21. Richard says:

    Perfect execution! Thank you for the advice using rough paper! You can be sure with me that you always have one student listening, at the minimum!

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