Two guys at the window

It’s good to get out of your comfort zone, right? I pushed myself this morning to do a little sketching at Starbucks because I never draw in interior spaces. I used a small Canson sketchbook clearly not made for watercolour, and painted with the black from my little Van Gogh travel watercolour palette. This little scene looked ideal when I started to draw (and Starbucks was empty), but it turned out that it was where people wait in line for their lattes, so the display was often blocked by customers. I forced myself to stick with it though, because, like some sort of bitter-tasting pill, it was good for me.


28 Comments on “Two guys at the window”

  1. Toni Cummins says:

    Shari, i love the lght peeking through , my eye was immediately drawn to it. Good for you for stcking with the sketch.. I find it very scary to sketch in a cafe !


    • Thanks Toni. It sounds like you need to go to a cafe and sketch too. I don’t mind if people see me sketching. I got over that a long time ago. It’s the results in the sketchbook that cause me grief because I don’t do it often enough.


  2. Monique says:

    I think it’s fantastic..!I know I am running out of adjectives..but life’s too short to not say something if you really mean it.
    Have a great weekend!


  3. Lee Kline says:

    Well, you KNOW I love this stuff. Love the top of the left guy’s head.


  4. sandidureice says:

    I looked at the ‘top of the left guy’s head’ and saw what Lee may have meant…the light of the unpainted page. And then my eye roved around and picked up all the other lights so I could suddenly see why the sketch worked. I must remember to include unpainted areas in tonal paintings. Thankyou.


    • Hi Sandi, That is exactly it. I was painting around the white spots in the scene. But even in large watercolours I always leave some white of the paper show through.


      • sandidureice says:

        Yes I do notice the white paper in your colours and how important it is. For some reason this was different and I needed it pointed out to me. I think I was studying the lovely looseness of the paint and all the different tones of the black. Thankyou for your blog and all the analysis that comes with it.


  5. Alas, my local Starbucks will always seem drab after viewing your art . . .


  6. dominique gaillard says:

    Hi Shari
    This one is outstanding !! Amazing how it isn’t colour that has the greatest impact, here your values are so right on.
    I LOVE following your progress via your blog, you are a great inspiration and we learn so much from looking at your daily sketches. I’d love to follow in your footsteeps, and some day I will.
    About the Live Model, I hold 2 sessions at Georges-Vanier cultural Center: Tuesday, 1-4 p.m., short to medium poses, $ 12, and Wednesday, 12-4 p.m., 1 long pose lasting 4 hours, $ 15, with enough space to move around the model and do multiples.
    I’ll put you on my mailing list, e-mails coming from, please enable.
    Looking forward to see you


    • Thanks for writing, and thanks so much for putting me back on the life drawing list Dominique. I hope to get there on some Wednesdays, although not this week because classes begin and we have lots of meetings. Hope to see you soon.


  7. Trevor Travis says:

    After looking at both this sketch and the beautiful and tender sketch of Alice I went back to the Hawthorne quote. Am I right? if you substitute the word tone for colour the sentence still makes perfect sense If true I think it also describes the charm of these two pieces of work.I have really enjoyed looking for a long time at both of them. Although in black and white, the tones of the second are so accurate that i begin to sense not only the space and form but also the colour (back to Hawthorne). Fantastic. I love both of them


    • Trevor, it’s great to hear from you. You don’t know how often I look at my Hockney postcards. They too inspire me daily.
      You are exactly right about the interchangeable use of the words tone and colour. In fact, I hardly ever really look at colour. I look mostly for tone, and colour happens to be on my brush. That’s why limited palettes work so well for me. I don’t really care what the colours are. Your comments are so thoughtful and much appreciated. I hope you are well.


  8. joantav says:

    Nice light!!! You really have the right values. I sketch at Starbucks often, and like other indoor places like that the people do block your view from time to time. Glad you went outside your comfort zone.


  9. slowlane says:

    I also just love how you do light


  10. I love seeing you out of your “comfort zone” Shari!! This is such a different effect and mood and yet still unmistakably you! It’s brilliantly done! Inspires me to want to try to break out and sketch more in public. Hehe 😊 I really do think this is a wonderful sketch!! Thanks for sharing!


  11. I love it – very evocative! Good on you for stretching yourself!


  12. Linda Murray says:

    I also love this little painting. I really like the light and shadows on the short display shelves. What really caught my eye, is the guy on the right, looks like George Washington in profile!!


  13. Janine says:

    I love this one, Shari. And I am doing a lot of black and white value paintings myself these days so I really appreciate this fine example. It’s amazing how using just black and white you can say so much with so little. 🙂


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