This time of year

I love sketching in this weather so much that I went out twice today. What is it about this time of year that makes it so perfect? First of all, it’s chilly enough to have to sit in the car but not so cold as to be uncomfortable. The days are getting shorter too, which makes the afternoon shadows more interesting. And with the shorter days comes the colder temperatures, the bright leaves and a crisper quality of light.


With the wind we’ve been having, the cloud formations are very dramatic and they create a deep blue backdrop for the bright foliage. This short period of intense brightness and contrast precedes a much longer and less vibrant one, so I’ll try to get out as often as I can in the next few weeks before it all turns grey.


18 Comments on “This time of year”

  1. gaelle1947 says:

    Those gorgeous blue shadows reminded me of the conversations awhile back on your site regarding a “mysterious” blue that you were testing. Coincidentally, around that same time, an announcement was made about the discovery of a new blue pigment. Today, Golden Paints newsletter gave further information regarding it’s eventual production in artists paints – In case anyone is interested, here’s the link:


    • Thanks for this pigment info! Really interesting to read, although I guess I would just mix cobalt and ultramarine blue to get something like this. For the blue shadows in the sketch, I actually did use Cobalt Blue mixed with Mineral Violet to get that colour. It’s a wonderful blueish purple isn’t it? I’ve never tried that combo before. Hope you are well!


  2. Soni says:

    LOVE ❣️ These colors,Shari ! Envy you that autumn change – enjoy 😻🎨😆


  3. Julana says:

    Yes, it’s a beautiful time of year…I saw a tree today and thought. “Shari could paint that!”


  4. Ivana Bowes says:

    Love your paintings! I’m always trying to work out what you did first in a sketch. I struggled to do something similar recently. Would love to know what size your work is and what size brush did you use for those beautiful trees?


    • HI Ivana,
      This was a pretty simple process. I painted the sky first and brought that all the way down to the horizon line. When that was dry I painted the foliage and then the grass. The branches and dark trunks went in last, along with the shadows on the grass. I mostly used a 1″ flat brush which works really well for painting big chunks of foliage. This sketch is about 8″ x 8″ which is a format I use often both in sketchbooks, pads and blocks. Thanks for writing!


  5. Betsy Akins says:

    Love your description of color and light this time of year. Your words captured these ideas perfectly.


  6. Monique says:

    Love your tips Shari..and these works.


  7. rosjenke says:

    I’d be painting twice a day or more if I could get results like this. You are such an inspiration.


  8. Loving the big shapes of color you used in these, they’re beautiful.


  9. M. L. Kappa says:

    Yes, autumn produces very vibrant colors. Today I saw some maple trees which were also fluorescent. Love your paintings!


  10. joantav says:

    Glad you are able to get out and capture the autumn views. Lovely!!


  11. Judy Sopher says:

    Wish I was comfortable painting outside. It is now quite chilly out here. I agree that the color of the shadows is perfect. I really like the second painting as I am partial to building or urban scenes. The colors are so fresh. I don’t think I ever paint that I don’t think of what I learned from you. Thanks.


  12. Lee says:

    Shari, these are lovely. I too like the blue. Right now out of all you’ve tried would be your #1 choice of sketchbooks? I hear Pentalic is coming out with a new one, 140 lb paper. I’m ready for a new one and haven’t gotten the neon blinking sign yet as to which to buy.


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