Canal scene

Sometimes what you experience while sketching is more meaningful than the sketch itself. This has happened to me again and again.

Today I drew this complex canal scene (boat on a lift, palms trees and house, all compressed together) but what I will remember about the day has nothing to do with what is on the page. What I will never forget about today are the sounds of the three dolphins that leapt simultaneously out of the water just inches from my feet, and then played nearby for a good thirty minutes. At times I could hear them swimming slowly just under the surface, their dorsal fins breaking the water here and there, sprays of water shooting from their blow holes. Other times I could hear the gentle lapping of waves nearby and realize that they were chasing each other right below me, weaving in and out of the pilings of the dock I was sitting on. Truly a magical moment. And in every way more memorable than my sketch, which turned out to be a difficult composition to resolve because of the compressed space, back lighting and distractions.

25 Comments on “Canal scene”

  1. Sadje says:

    Must be quite an experience.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Kirk says:

    The dolphins were a great Christmas present. Happy Holidays!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a lovely description of the magic of the sea! The sea is truly enchanting and the dolphins make it extra special. They are my favorite creatures, what a life, play in the sea all day and all you can eat seafood for meals. Merry Christmas to you and all your loved ones!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Christine Brown says:

    I’m glad you got to enjoy that magical moment. It always seem like a blessing from the universe when things like that happen.


  5. Underhill Tony says:

    What a magical experience. And how lucky we are to have a hobby that gives us so much more than others can possibly see in the sketch itself.


  6. ly says:

    I’ve been interested in the sketches you’ve worked on with your iPad. Do you have an iPad Pro? Or just a plain iPad? I’m thinking Santa might come late this year!


    • Hi. I’m on an iPad Pro. I also have an iPad mini, but I wanted the Pro because I use it for work as well. But you can use the regular iPad with an Apple Pencil now so if you don’t need a lot of power or memory, that is a good choice too.


  7. Merry Christmas, Shari!! Glad you’re enjoying yourself in the sweet South!!


  8. Bernadette says:

    Great descriptive of your experience while painting….love the varied greens too! Looks like the beginnings of a perfect holiday away for you. Merry Christmas.


  9. Kim says:

    WOW what an amazing thing to be distracted by!


  10. thebrashers1 says:

    Wow! What a fantastic experience!! Leslie

    Leslie Brasher



  11. Julián Andrade González says:

    I’m sure that if you sometime would decide to leave your paintings for writing a book, it would be so good as your paintings.
    From Madrid and 28º( 82º F) at sun. Happy paintings!


  12. Judy Sopher says:

    I agree that there is nothing like the sights, sounds and smells from being there. I can look at some old paintings done in Maine and still feel the wind and the smell and the birds. But never dolphins. Was this also a limited palette? I love the boat against the foliage.


  13. joantav says:

    Sketching experiences have so much more to them than the sketch itself. That is what makes them so special. Love the idea of being outdoors with dolphins around entertaining themselves.


  14. Kristiina Sakai says:

    Shari, every day you continue to impress me. Now, this post really is delightful due to, in your words, the compression of all things, palm trees, buildings, boats etc. And memorable due to the playful dolphins.
    What a fantastic and special event for you. I think the dolphins were a good luck omen; you will have a wonderful New Year rich with health, peace and love. Thank you for your daily posts. I always look forward to receiving them.


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