River fence

One of the advantages of living on an island like Montreal is that I often have views of the fleuve Saint Laurent in my paintings. Most often I’m parked on the southern part of the island where the river is quite wide and the opposite shore is distant (and not that interesting.) On the other hand, if I paint along the northern shore, there are lots of vantage points where I can see land across the river. I painted this from a church parking lot in Ste. Geneviève, with Ile Bizard in the distance. Light, wet snow was falling — misting and muting the colours on the river — so I chose a limited palette of Cerulean Blue, Yellow Ochre and Organic Vermilion. Since this scene was more about values than colour, I added in some Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna to ramp up the darks when it came time to paint the fence.


26 Comments on “River fence”

  1. Beautiful1 I love the mood.


  2. Peggy Bjarno says:

    I LOVE your treatment of the grasses and exposed rock in the snow. Masterful!


  3. Lynn says:

    There is a sense of Japanese elegance to this lovely painting.


  4. Lynn says:

    As I’m enjoying this it occurred to me that general advice is not to put anything major in the center – yet the gate seems so perfectly placed I feel it would lose impact in another arrangement. Did you think about that or just know this was right?


    • I did think about it. In fact I made a vertical sketch and a horizontal one, just to see which worked better. I wasn’t sure this would work out but I just decided to go with it anyway, and I wasn’t unhappy with the results. It’s an unusual composition for me.


  5. Jodi says:

    Gorgeous Shari! I just ordered some brushes you recommended in your landscape craftsy tutorial and am anxious to try! Thanks for your beautiful inspiration and thoughtful, informative videos and posts!


  6. anne farmer says:

    Love the not quite monochrome treatment. Hope Lynn won’t mind me observing that there’s actually a gap rather than a gate, in the centre, which beckons you through.


  7. Miú says:

    I’ve been following your blog for a whole year now, Shari, and have always felt that your snow watercolors are one of your most perfect achievements – the rest of them being your Spring, Summer and Autumn watercolors. 🙂


  8. I’m taking your landscapes class now and after watching those classes, I’m really starting to get what I’m looking at here – where you used dry brush, etc. Thanks for both the craftsy class and the blog. Also, I’m glad that I’m not the only one who ‘cheats’ at limited palette painting. There is always just a color or two extra that I need for accent.


    • Robin, it’s interesting that both the classes and blog are supporting each other. I hadn’t thought of that but I am really happy to hear it. As for the limited palette, I guess for no cheating to occur you would have to really only put three colours on the palette and since mine has 18 spots, there’s always something that sneaks in.


  9. Monique says:

    Ihave to rewatch all my classes..of yours..at least one hundred toimes..
    I love the imperfections of the fence that makes it perfect to me…and everyone.


  10. Linda Murray says:

    Wow!!! I love the foreground in this picture. Just gorgeous.


  11. Sherri says:

    Just started your Craftsy class. This is my first attempt at adding ink to my watercolors. Looking closely at this beautiful piece, did you use ink on tree, grass, branches, or is that all rigger brush painted?


    • HI Sherri,
      I’m so glad to hear that you’re trying out the Craftsy class. I didn’t use any ink on this painting. This is all the rigger brush or the other one on my supply list (Colorpro) that is great for branches and grasses. I don’t usually use an ink pen on Arches paper because it’s too textured for the fine point pens.



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