Landscape sketching in Boston

It seems like a landscape sketching workshop in an urban setting like Boston would be unlikely, but I am just back from two days of teaching with the Newton Watercolor Society. The first day of the workshop took place in Auburndale Cove, a bucolic setting in a suburb of Boston, complete with a shaded park, Canada geese, waterlilies and great river reflections.

Even though it was a day for sketching landscape, for my first demo I couldn’t resist drawing a house across from us on the Charles River. The shadows cast by the awnings on the white clapboard were so remarkable, so dramatic and so sharp that I had to paint them first. That’s not my usual way of working. In fact in my online class Sketching the City I go into quite a bit of detail about how to add these in near the end of the sketch. But since they were likely to change quickly and they were on a white surface, I painted them first and then proceeded to paint the rest of the page.


During a long workshop day I like to do a second demo, and I’ve discovered lately that a good time to do that is at the end of the afternoon when students are tired and quite happy to sit and watch. This second demo is usually something less complex, perhaps a smaller vignette or a closeup view — on this day some waterlilies. If I had been quicker with my camera I could have also captured a family of ducks that silently swam through the scene while I painted.


The day’s paintings by the group were immensely successful and of course the day ended with the obligatory Urban Sketchers photo of everyone proudly displaying their sketches.


22 Comments on “Landscape sketching in Boston”

  1. A white house surrounded by greens, and reflections n the water! it ain’t gonna be better then this!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Chris Rusk says:

    Looks like it was a great group. Really liked your lillies and the house sketch above. Your colours are so rich and true. The work ‘made me look’. Well done, as always.


  3. hulahoopchickencoop says:


    Sent from my iPad



  4. Barb says:

    Stunning sketch, Shari–like so much of your work. I am so inspired by your blog. May I ask–what is that lovely blue/periwinkle you used in the house’s shadows?


  5. Those wonderful dark shadows just make that painting!!! There is such a contrast between the one of the house and the quiet reflections and waterlilies. Lovely job on both!!


  6. timdada says:

    First of all… wow, what an amazing painting! Seriously. Second of all … did you see my President in your country? With your Prime Minister? We are both lucky to have such fantastic leaders. I hope you agree. Anyway, what an absolutely fantastic painting! You are unbelievable. I don’t think there is a better watercolorist painting today than you. And I know that’s not what you care about … but really, You are good. The reflections in the water… unbelievable.




    • Hi Tim,
      I agree with you about our leaders. I am a fan of both of them.
      As for my painting, it was so stimulating to have a full week to paint and teach in Rockport and Boston (and New York). When I can focus on my painting, it really helps me. Glad you like the work!



  7. jmnowak says:

    Both your pieces are loose/relaxed…I like them! And you look like a friendly bunch!


  8. This brought back fond memories of my workshop time with you at Palmetto Bluff. Great paintings you created for the Boston crowd!


  9. Snehal Kank says:

    Woow! all of them are amazing Shari 🙂


  10. kasperart says:

    Very impressive! Huge inspiration as always 🙂


  11. evmoog says:

    Wow those are beautiful!! I just visited Boston and wrote about it here:
    Thanks for sharing your work!


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