This is happy

If there was a soundtrack to go with this sketch it would be Pharrell Williams singing “Happy”. Happy to be sitting in City Park in Denver, looking at the distant snow-dusted Rockies and the reflections in the lake. Happy to have cracked open a new sketchbook that has been out of stock for many weeks. Happy to have a few free moments to sketch. Isn’t that what makes plein air sketches great? Looking at them days or weeks or even years later and remembering how you felt at the time you sketched because you spent a good chunk of time in that place — observing, listening, drawing. It may not be the best sketch (badly drawn, pale and weak, overworked, poor composition) but it never fails to evoke that same feeling. Do you have a sketch that evokes some kind of strong emotion? I’d love to see it. Post a link in the comments section if you care to.


38 Comments on “This is happy”

  1. Dee says:

    The water in this looks like glass..a walk on water feeling evoked even for me!

  2. Monique says:

    I LOVE that song..and this painting.

  3. becka says:

    I think it is beautiful, Shari! Your work is so unique! Well done!

  4. Carol King says:

    This painting makes me happy!

  5. Love your painting, I think it´s not pale at all, the colors are just perfect!!! And I love this not-too-overworked style in watercolor! One can see in the brush lines that this painting came easy and in a happy mood – it´s wonderful! From my paintings I like this one best:
    I didn´t expect too much while painting it, it was a calm afternoon, and as it turned out nicely I was happily surprised. 😊

  6. Love your sketch and the song ! This is a blind draw of mine, and was made in a workshop this Summer: it made a turning point in my draw confidence :

  7. Ruth Kaldor says:

    What brand sketchbook do you use?

  8. TonyU says:

    So true! How lucky we sketchers are to enjoy not just the doing but also the rekindled memories for ever after. For me it’s a sketch from Provence, France but the gremlins won’t let me include the Flickr link (I’ll email it separately). It doesn’t do justice to the day, the place or even the soundtrack which (you’ll see why) would have to be Don McLean and Vincent …. but just like you the memories make me feel happy.

    • I will have to have a look at it now Tony. Don McLean and Vincent say a lot already so now I am very curious. Too bad the gremlins haven’t allowed you to share this here… You are right about how lucky we sketchers are, in so many ways. Thanks for writing.

  9. Tom Jump says:

    Love this one Shari- it could just as easily be Washington Park looking across Grasmere Lake which is close to us. I think you did a great job on this!

    • There are so many places I still have to see in Denver. I think Washington Park is one of them. I can’t believe you have this view of the Rockies year-round. Do you take it for granted or do you appreciate it every time you see it?

      • Tom Jump says:

        Well, as a native flat-lander I never get tired of looking at the mountains. The backdrop is always there as a frame of reference no matter where you are in the area. It’s nice that they were covered in snow for your visit- by late summer the snow is gone and they blend into the sky a bit more but they really pop out again after the first snow! You should have Red Rocks on your list for next time and there is another red rock area a bit south of there- Roxborough State Park if you get some extra time. Let me know when you are coming again and I’ll make a list of “must-see’s” for you 🙂

  10. Barbara Beynon says:

    Happy is the right word. I felt blue returning to the Florida heat after a month in northern California and this painting made me feel so good. Your thoughts on being absorbed by all that is around you when you sketch on sight and the memory that the sketch forever evokes are just how we talk about making Journey Daybook pages in the moment here in north central Florida. Thank you for the beautiful image.

  11. Ruth Jaeger says:

    I have, I think, figured out how to link these to something you can see. Forgive the clumsiness–I’ve not done this before.

    Your blog is such a pleasure, and very instructive. As I was doing the sketch of Lonsdale Market, I was standing and remembering when you wrote that the way to sketch in a crowd was just to wade in and do it. Is that all? Well, that’s all it was. Thanks, r

  12. maria513340 says:

    Love your painting Shari. I wish one day I can do something remotely like yours. I did subscribed to your online course. Please see the link to my recent sketch.

    • Those are really beautiful sketches of the Lake District. I was there many years ago and remember the area well — the drama of the mountains rising up behind all those lakes. I loved it! Thanks for sharing.

  13. Todd says:

    I really enjoyed seeing you paint this and get to talk with you. I’ve been watching to see when this would pop up on your site. Beautiful sketch.

    • Were you the guy on the bike Todd? Nice to hear from you!
      If that was you, you didn’t see me paint this. What you saw was a sketch I was doing for my upcoming online class. I can’t post that publicly yet.
      This one is similar but different and this one I did just for me, which is why I was so happy! Hope all is well in Denver. Such a beautiful city.

      • Todd says:

        Forgot to get back to you. Yep I was the guy on the bike. I’ve been waiting to see your completed project. I guess this was just a similar one. Very lovely

  14. mirobolante says:

    Oh ! yes ! several skethes evokes me the emotion you explained so well. One of them, this summer with friends talking besides me in an incredible landscape. in a windy morning.. I often sing while sketching.
    Thank you for your work and your words.
    My link

  15. Ross says:

    Oh dear. The last time that I commented it was to improve your grammar and now… it’s the punctuation. Shari, the comma is your friend if you want people to clearly understand you. Try this, for example… “Looking at them, days or weeks or even years later, and remembering how you felt at the time you sketched because you spent a good chunk of time in that place…” What a difference two commas make… unless you really wanted me to consider “them days”. : )

    • I was listening to a really interesting radio segment about Frank Sinatra the other day, I guess in advance of the 100th anniversary of his birth, coming up this week. Do you know that he spent a lot of time at the gym, in the swimming pool, underwater, holding his breath, to learn how to sing those long phrases without taking a breath? Well I just reread my long sentence, and while I do agree that it could use an extra comma or two, it could also be used as practice for holding your breath while reading. How’s that for a good excuse?

      • Ross says:

        A “good” excuse? If we redefine “good” to meaning “long-winded”, then perhaps the excuse was OK… I only drifted off to sleep once while reading it. I think you would agree that you can’t judge the quality of a piece of art by its size… same goes for blog responses.

        Sorry… you should stick to watercolouring.

      • Ross says:

        Oh dear. I feel like I have wakened a sleeping giant… now you are going to try to use commas everywhere!

        In your first sentence, I think you should have really used a semicolon, not a comma, after “the other day”.

        And, if you are going to use commas, make sure you use then in the right places… I think your third sentence should be “Well I just reread my long sentence and, while I do agree that it could…” with the comma after the “and”.

        Do I need to continue?

      • Actually Ross, I do think you need to continue. Since you seem to like editing so much, can you please go back through all my posts since October 2011, make a list of all the edits that I should do, and send me back the list. That would be really helpful. I’ll get back to you shortly with the deadline. Thanks in advance.

      • Ross says:

        Nice try. Now that’s never going to happen… too much like hard work. I think I will just continue to be randomly difficult.

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