A day of starts

My references to the Charles Hawthorne book may get tedious, I warn you, but there is much to learn. Here is one that is relevant to my day. “Do studies, not pictures. Be alive. Stop when your interest is lost. Put off finish as it takes a lifetime — wait until later to try to finish things —make a lot of starts.” That was me today — a lot of starts. Four to be precise. Two in my car, on location (both disasters) and two in my studio, of this same scene at MacDonald Farm. Fortunately I had the time to keep at it today, which doesn’t happen that often. Painted on Arches paper, 15″ x 7″.


35 Comments on “A day of starts”

  1. Jane Hannah says:

    Thank you for these words Shari as they ring true to me. Such wisdom from this author! Your painting is wonderful because it is due from perseverance and love of the medium. As John Sebastian Bach would say, you are being industrious -)))

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for writing Jane. I’ve been meaning to write to you too because I sensed from reading your blog that you were going through some difficult times with your own work. But now I see that watching Charles Reid has been good for you too and the joy is coming back in your work. Watching him paint is amazing, isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jane Hannah says:

        Yes he is Shari — he takes his time and explains in detail and I guess that was what I needed. I was in a creative slump I guess and I did not really know where to go from here and where I was going.. still don’t know where I am going with all of this. I still need to figure out painting outings versus studio time but at least I have a new venue which feels good -)


  2. Wayne Bissky says:

    That is exactly right isn’t it. Having the goal of competing a masterpiece each time stifles creativity. It’s the process rather than the arrival that’s the thing. Thanks for this encouragement.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Jayne Redman says:

    This is beautiful. And thanks for admitting to disasters. Very encouraging to see what came after.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Mary Catharine says:

    Thank you for talking about your process, it is so encouraging. And thanks also for the book reference, I have ordered it! Your painting is wonderful, I really like how you have captured the light and shadows.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mary McLaughlin says:

    Hi Shari – first off I’m so glad you had the time to stay with it because this painting is truly lovely. Secondly, I truly appreciate your quote from Charles Hawthorne – I’m going to type it up and post it because it feels like Hawthorne supports and reinforces what I already know deep in my heart to be true. Thank you so much! I feel encouraged.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. juliej0327 says:

    Are you referring to the book ” Hawthorne on Painting”. I haven’t been keeping up lately…..

    Sent from my iPad




  7. Dee says:

    Encourages me to know that you have bad starts too. This is just gorgeous?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Linda Murray says:

    Where do I start? I love everything about this painting! Thank you, Shari.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Tim Mancusi says:

    Simply beautiful. Its like I’m there.
    You are amazing.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Jean A Paterson says:

    I appreciate your selected quote from Hawthorne, because I used to think I had to “finish” every start, even when I didn’t like it. (Also I like your painting !)


    Liked by 1 person

  11. TonyU says:

    So good I can’t stop looking at it … and due reward for your perseverance as well as your artistic skills. But how many starts would you make before you decide something’s the wrong subject or that you’re just having a bad day? Or do you just hang on in there regardless?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good question Tony. It really varies. Sometimes I paint a dud and it goes in the garbage and that’s it for the day. Mostly because I have no more time. But school hasn’t started yet and I really wanted to get some painting done during my holidays so I kept at it. One problem I sometimes have is making the transition from line (pen sketches) to shape (paintings). I think that was part of the problem with this. Also, I was trying to do something in my car (work on a 1/4 sheet of watercolour paper) which should have been tackled in studio instead. That was was the second issue. The third issue was that I started with a somewhat dirty palette, so my colours were muddy from the get go. I’ve had these problems before — you’d think I would learn but I don’t, sadly. Always the optimist…

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Louise Boyer says:

    Thank you Shari, good reminder! Feels good to hear that.


  13. Jane Kriss says:

    Sounds like dues were paid! But paid off – this is beautiful. All about the evocative blue shadows. Gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Janet says:

    This is such a serene and tranquil painting. My eyes are drawn into this peaceful study. I appreciate the Hawthorne quote.


  15. joantav says:

    Sometimes things just don’t work. This does!!! Love the shadows on the snow…and the variety of shades of shadows.


  16. Wow, some inspirational words and a beautiful painting here. So glad you stuck it out. And like the others, I’m so encouraged to know that sometimes even someone like you has to scrap something and try again. This one is so evocative and transportive for me. Really glad you shared it, Shari. Thank you.


  17. Hempmaster77 says:

    WOW you now have a huge fan of your work! Simply put absolutely stunning! I aspire to one day have half your skills! I only been painting 5 years no formal art education and mostly in soft pastel. I started in watercolor but soon learned the learning curve is quite steep! The amount of information the technical and mechanical side of the characteristics of paper and pigment are mind boggling not to mention color theory and on and on i painted a few passable paintings though small. But it made sense to me to try first in pastels. Its more forgiving and immediate,little color mixing and i have strong drawing skills. But wow when i look at your landscapes they excite and inspire me quite a bit! Its like wow when i picture a really great watercolor painting i picture it looking like that style so awesome! Is my nose brown…hahahaha.


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