First plein-air sketching of 2016

It’s the light at the end of the tunnel. The first day this year that it was possible to sit outside with an easel and paints! I met my friend Marc Taro Holmes in Île Bizard for a few hours of catching up and sketching together. We sketched the presbytery of Saint-Raphael-Archange, and I was so excited to paint that I forgot to do a value sketch for this. If I had done a little more prep, I might have realized that the big rectangle in the middle of the page didn’t make for the most interesting composition. I have a feeling it might have been better as a vertical with the big tree taking up more space in the top left. But plein-air season is just beginning, and there will be many chances for good planning in the coming months.


21 Comments on “First plein-air sketching of 2016”

  1. gaelle1947 says:

    Love it! It really has that April feel to it – still a chill in the air, a little windy and those strokes of sunlight say: ” Hang in there – glorious weather ahead”. The composition looks great to me (but am just a novice at plein air!) – That stately house demanded prominence and the large tree on left is on the rabatment line (just learned that fancy word today so this was a good chance to use it before I forget it….although I may be not using it correctly). C’est magnifique!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You describe it well Gayle. That is exactly how it was. No leaves on the trees but a wonderful, warm sun and a promise of good things to come. Merci beaucoup! Going to look up what rabatment line is…


  2. glad to see you got out there!


  3. johnhofman says:

    Hello Shari:
    It seems to me that many other features in this particular painting more than compensate for this perceived oversight. Just to mention some: the foreground shadows, the fine detailing on the tree trunks and dark shapes of the background trees and the veranda.
    It would be interesting to see what your colleague produced from that vantage point.
    Regards, John.


    • John, one of the best things about my blog is that when people comment, I get to look at their work too. I have made some wonderful discoveries that way, and seen some treasures. Like your work. Fantastic sketches. Especially loved the experiments sketching those rusty objects.
      As for my work, we are always our own worst critics, aren’t we? Or at least I am…


  4. Carolyn Fitz says:

    I really enjoy seeing your fabulous Watercolors !! Would love to know the size you like working in. All the best to you, Carolyn Fitz

    Sent from my iPad



  5. Tony says:

    Love this just the way it is. And so pleased to hear you’re plein air again on home ground.


  6. Judy Sopher says:

    I have a question. Did you start with pencil or ink? Or neither?


    • Hi Judy. For this one I used pencil only, no ink at all. This was done on Arches cold press paper, and I rarely use ink on this. The paper is too textured and it doesn’t really make a nice ink line. I hope that helps.


  7. rosjenke says:

    I like it. It looks like the big tree is leaning away to give extra emphasis to the house. Wonderful!


  8. Monique says:

    I thought I saw green on the trees at milano..I was wrong..but it felt all green!
    Beautiful Shari..have not been there in over 40 yrs..


  9. Susan says:

    Shari, you are too hard on yourself. Wish I could say I had done that “sketch”!


  10. carolyn says:

    I like this sketch a lot. The house is a very interesting subject an I don’t feel it takes up too much space. After all, the house is the subject of this painting not the trees. There are numerous angles created by your white lines around windows, doors and the railing. Your eyes are taken all over the painting. There is a variety of textures going on with the rock façade that are fabulous. This old house is majestic and as such deserves to be front and centre, just as you have done it. my two cents worth…


    • I like an appreciate your two cents worth Carolyn. I am my own worst critic at times and as I have written in a few other comments, I am coming round to liking this one a little more. Thanks for taking the time to really look at it. Much appreciated!


  11. Charles says:

    dear Shari, I think you are a little hard on yourself! J’aime beaucoup la lumière sur la pelouse et les ombres sur la façade de la maison.


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