Backyard minis

Next time you go out sketching, try this. Instead of starting with the mindset that you have to come home with a finished piece, think of your outing as a time to experiment. Make some small squares or rectangles (I used the inside of my viewfinder to create the shape) in pencil before you go out. When you get out in the field, use each of the outlines to try something different. You can experiment with colour, value, composition, texture or wetness. There is something very liberating about working in this small size, especially if you use a bigger brush than you think you might need. I used a pencil first but I think that next time I may go straight to brush which I imagine will be even more fun.


29 Comments on “Backyard minis”

  1. Tony says:

    Am I right in thinking this is this year’s first snow-free wheelbarrow??!!


  2. Linda says:

    Wonderful advice… as always! Thanks Shari!


  3. Monique says:

    Finally the snow is gone!
    Loe the minis;)


  4. Very beautiful and thanks for the painterly wisdom!


  5. Julia black says:

    Your posts are so inspirational! I’m sketching more since I started receiving them.


  6. rebecca says:

    great idea, and it helps you focus on just one thing instead of a landscape of things.


  7. Could you please elaborate on meaning of “use inside of viewfinder to create the shape”?


    • Sorry for that abbreviated explanation Rod. I sometimes use a portable viewfinder which helps me compose scenes. It’s made by Derwent and it looks like this:
      You can just as easily make your own with black cardboard or foam core but I like the flexibility of this one, and as you can see I also use it to draw squares in pencil.
      I hold it up in front of me in the field to find the best composition.


      • Thank you for the quick reply. I was thinking camera viewfinder. Thanks and I will follow your direction. I am captivated by your sketches and check my email several times per day for the next one. I loved your Denver sketches. You did the mountainous sky justice.


      • I realized after you asked that it was confusing. Glad we got that clarified. I guess you live in Colorado, if you recognize the skies. I loved the big vistas there. It’s a beautiful state, from what I saw of it.


  8. Carol says:

    So beautiful! I love the suggestive, yet descriptive style of your work.


  9. Linda Daily says:

    Shari, thanks for this post. I like the idea of the smaller squares when you are short on time.
    I have never seen the Derwent viewfinder- it looks like a great one. I’ve been in the midst of moving and just got caught up on your posts. Inspiring as always!


  10. Lynn Holbein says:

    Love this! Thanks!


  11. Lee Kline says:

    Wonderful idea! I have been a slug for a month.


  12. Ross says:

    Great group of little sketches… I like the repetition because it stops you focusing too much on any single one. My question is… with this exercise, did you do the sketches by working on them all concurrently or was this a finish-one-before-starting-the-next process?


  13. what great advice and I will definitely try this!


  14. karinakuschnir says:

    I love this tiny ones!


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