Winter sketching

It turns out I’m not the only crazy person who sketches outdoors in winter. In fact I’m the least crazy of the bunch because I sit in my car. Some of my urban sketcher friends sketch while standing outside in the snow. That makes me seem like a bit of a wimp, actually. Check out this post on to read about some great tips for winter sketching, including my own.

And while I have your attention, let me also take this opportunity to wish you all the best for the holiday season, the winter solstice, the new year and whatever else you celebrate. May you have many, many happy sketching moments in 2017!


53 Comments on “Winter sketching”

  1. Its Fresh and beautiful!


  2. M. L. Kappa says:

    Being a Mediterranean who dresses like an onion when it’s cold, i prefer studio painting in the winter. The tips did not tempt me in the least!❄️❄️❄️ Happy holidays to you too, Shari 🎄🎁🎉


  3. Frank Bettendorf says:

    Best wishes for the holidays and the New Year! I love and appreciate your use of shadows to add dimension to your watercolors. Nice touch. Hope to see many more sketches in 2017.
    Frank B


  4. Carolyn says:

    I’m the whimp! I don’t paint outdoors often because I don’t feel as comfortable as I am in my studio. So I tend to take a gazzilion photos and then go home. I get frustrated with the drying times- too fast at times and not fast enough at other times! But…… I don’t try it often enough. I think with practice I could improve.

    Hope you have wonderful and fruitful holidays. Looking forward to 2017 to see more of your fabulous Work!


    • Carolyn, I just prefer painting from life rather than photos, so I guess that’s why even being a little uncomfortable is preferable to being in studio. Of course on those really cold days, or when I want to work on a larger painting, I will gladly stay indoors. Happy holidays to you!


  5. chrissaterrell says:

    Love your winter scene! May I ask the color/colors you made for the front building? Thank you !


    • Hi there,
      That yellowish neutral is a combo of Cerulean Blue, Alizarin Crimson (just a drop) and Hansa Yellow Medium. I play with a quite a bit to get the mix right but the important thing is to go light on the Crimson.


      • chrissaterrell says:

        Thank you for the color mixing tip! Rocks and dirt, Adobe blogs. and much more call for that hue but I struggle with it and was glad to know it’s not an easy mix. I’ll be sure to experiment. Again, thanks! I am a big fan of yours and have taken the class with the desert mnts. Loved it! I look forward to your next post. It’s like opening the email expecting bills or whatever, and when I see your entry, it’s like getting a personal letter from a friend 🙂 Merry Christmas and a blessed New year.


  6. J.A. Paterson says:

    Many thanks for sharing your knowledge and your art with all your online friends! Best wishes of the season!


  7. Another winner! Love it!


  8. rosjenke says:

    I’ve said it before but your paintings of snow make it look so appealing, especially when we swelter through our summer. I can’t even imagine how you survive living in a deep freeze, let alone paint. Thanks for all the delight you bring throughout the year with your masterpieces.


    • Ros, when I lived in California for a short time I really missed the change of seasons. There is always something to look forward to, whether it is the cold or the heat. And I really have grown to love winter, at least the beginning of it. I get rather sick of it come March… Happy holidays!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You have the snow to make it feel like Christmas! This is really lovely. Have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year!


  10. Louise says:

    The Light and shadows are so well done!


  11. Kirk Whiteside says:

    Happy Holidays! I enjoy reading your postings throughout the year.


  12. Merry Christmas Shari! You’re always such an inspiration! Love your work!


  13. Lee Kline says:

    Merry Christmas, Shari. May the new year bring you joy and peace. (You lucky Canadian!)


  14. Birte says:

    Love your work, you are a very brave artist to paint in this cold…….Merry Christmas and best of everything for 2017.


  15. Liliane Partikian says:

    Merry Christmas and a happy New Year Shari and thank you for sharing your beautiful work,


  16. Donna says:

    Enjoyed your painting and the post on Urban Sketchers….it all made me smile!!! Winter is not a bad thing. I tend to go out there when it’s closer to 30 degrees instead of “0”. Enjoy the holidays.


  17. Lise says:

    very beautiful soft colours … what is your palettes to do so much paste colours … Have a Great Chrisrmas Time … lise


  18. Lise says:

    pastel colours not paste … sorry


  19. Judy Sopher says:

    Don’t know why, but I love snow scenes and you do these so well.. (maybe growing up in Cleveland with lake-snow effect) What colors are you using here for your shadows?

    I have a mixed marriage so Happy Chanukah and Merry Christmas to you. And to others who follow your work and add to my enjoyment following your posts.


    • Hi Judy, In our house we celebrate both holidays too, and this year, they are even at the same time!
      The snow shadows are Cobalt Blue and a little Crimson. Or maybe a little Cobalt Violet.
      All the best to you!


  20. Julana says:

    Merry Christmas, Shari, and best wishes for good health and happiness in the New Year!


  21. Erik Madsen says:

    After looking at you watercolors for the last few years, I think your snow scenes are some of your best. My wife says it’s like snow is coming out of your pen and brush.


    • Hi Erik, After many years of painting snow, I realize that this is what I like to do best as well. Maybe I should move somewhere where there’s snow all year round!!
      Happy holidays to you and your wife!


  22. richardrabkin says:


    Stapleton Kearns runs yearly what he calls “snow camp” and is very good on how to dress and the theory behind that. Of course, he’s using oils. He echoes the idea that you need good footwear. He also has analyzed how to capture snow very well.

    I would add if you’re sitting you need a good cushion (There are many clever ideas out there about what can be very light and small.)

    You should run a workshop for people, a watercolor sketching “Snow Camp”. Maybe invite Stepleton.

    Here’s a post on Stapleton Kearns Snow Camp:



  23. Monique says:

    I always love your outdoor paintings..

    Happy holidays and thank you for everything you share Shari


  24. Alison says:

    What a masterful capture of the very singular light when the sun finally breaks through on fresh fallen snow. And we have seen so little sun of late. I’m making this image my new desktop. It is uplifting!


  25. Dee Kaa says:

    I so love your watercolors and sketching and I enjoy your posts regularly. Your gift of prose is very inspiring as well. Thanks!


  26. You have to keep your hands warm enough to sketch! Nice work


  27. letmywordsspeaklife says:

    Good Job, I really like your work it inspires me.


  28. astoldbymua says:

    Nice work. I wish I had half the talent. ☺️


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