Last Sanibel sketches

No Sanibel sketchbook is complete without some shell sketches. After all, this is what the island is known for. This week we walked on beaches where the piles of shells were almost ankle deep.

When our boys were young we used to buy a postcard that listed the names and photos of the most common shells, and we’d make a game of trying to find all of them on our visits to the beach. These days I just try to find the most interesting shapes and sizes to sketch.

My last sketch of the vacation is a scene I’ve looked at every day through my window — the Sanibel Causeway that links the island to the mainland. It was a hard one to sketch because it’s a ways away and the details are very tiny, but putting the palm in front of it helped to add distance, I think.

I will be very sad to leave this place, but I have a book filled with sketches. Plus there’s always snow painting to look forward to!

41 Comments on “Last Sanibel sketches”

  1. angmacleod says:

    Enjoy your time on Sanibel, a real gem! One year you’ll have to come to Fort myers for golf!


  2. Bernadette says:

    Such great memories are held on your sketchbook pages. Turn to these sketches whenever you need a reminder that sunny days follow every winter snowfall.


  3. joantav says:

    Both the seashells and the causeway came out great…perfect memories of your vacation. Thanks for sharing it with us.


  4. Kaye says:

    I can’t wait to get your new book! I so enjoy your art and your dialogue..


  5. Yvonne C says:

    Objective achieved ! the large palm tree up front does give the impression that the bridge is far, far away – outstanding!


  6. Not only did you convey the distance, the palm tree has a fullness that makes a nice contrast with the “delicate” architecture of the causeway. Lovely shells. I’m inspired. I’m going to get some out to sketch and pretend I’m on a beach.


  7. James Hancock says:

    Shari, we understand your reluctance in leaving, having been there in the past,
    but have reserved some winter weather for you!😅


  8. jo reimer says:

    We’re thinking of going to Sanibel one of these days. Do you have a recommendation of a place to stay?


    • HI Jo. We rented a place through Homeaway because for two weeks we always prefer to have a kitchen and more space to spread out. There are many rental agencies (Kingfisher, Royal Shell, etc) and also places on VRBO, AirBnB, etc. If you are looking for a hotel for a few nights, I haven’t stayed in any so I would be reluctant to recommend anything.


  9. Donna says:

    I love the shells. I have bags full of shells from when my folks used to vacation there. It seems I sketch these in the winter to remember them. You’ve had a wonderful trip.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. lindywhitton says:

    I just love your sketches – it’s how I imagine I can sketch with watercolours but they rarely turn out so fresh and beautiful.


    • Thanks so much Lindy. As for freshness of watercolour, my best suggestion is to use plenty of water on your brush, fresh pigment in your palette and let the washes dry if you intend to go back into them. If they are only partially dry, you will certainly get mud.


  11. Thanks for sharing the details of your Sanibel trip. Your sketches have been beautiful and inspiring.


  12. Fresh and lively as always! I really enjoyed your vacation through your sketches and your posts, I hope you did too 😊. I do have a question I have been meaning to ask you, what type and size brush do you use for the Palms fronds? I love how you make them so full and fluffy looking with the perfect tapering towards the ends. Fluffy and delicate at the same time.


    • Thanks Katerina.We had an amazing time on Sanibel. Loved every minute of it and we will be back next year. I emailed you about a workshop because I will have some time next year. I am wondering if you received it. Can you let me know.
      As for the brush, I used a wonderful Rosemary travel brush for this. It’s a sable and it has a great point which is why I was able to get those very pointy fronds.


      • Yes, I did receive your email along with Catherine. We have been communicating back and forth through your initial email so I thought that you have seen the emails. Never sure with Gmail who gets to see what. I will attempt to forward the whole thing to you. We even talked on the phone today getting to know each other. Thank you for putting us together, it was great talking with her, we have a lot in common.

        When you have the time send us the information. It is early in the year but that is good, more time to put things together while life tries to interrupt sometimes.

        I have some rosemary brushes and they are very nice. What size did you use for the fronds?


  13. Monique says:

    Perfect memories! Do you ever do vernisssages in Sanibel? WE visit the GUlf..I have been to pretty.


  14. Judy Sopher says:

    I think everything has been said and “fresh” does describe your work. And the shells. I’ve never gone from a sunny beach directly to snow-what a change!! Looking forward to your snow scenes.


  15. christine kopet says:

    I loved revisiting Sanibel through your sketches. I was there for the first time in November so I recognized many of the images. Your week brought happy memories of my visit.


  16. Sharon Mann says:

    Thank you for painting your Sanibel visit.


  17. Jean says:

    Thank you for telling us about your Sanibel Island experience. It sounded and looked warm and inviting!
    Any advice for a newbie who wants to visit there? Are beaches sandy and walkable?


    • Jean, we rented a condo there. There are plenty available on sites like VRBO or Homeaway. As for beaches, they are all beautiful. Some beaches have limited parking which is why we always use our bikes, but we found plenty of parking at Bowman’s Beach which is at the far end near Captiva, which is also beautiful.


      • Jean says:

        Thank you Shari! Looking at your Sanibel art makes our cold Winnipeg weather more bearable because of the inspired images! I also enjoy your snowy scenes too, and sketches of dear Alice! Eagerly awaiting your newest book which I have on pre-order.


  18. Thanks for sharing such a pretty spot.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. -Eugenia says:

    Beautiful sketches. Haven’t been there in years but I remember Sanibel being a beautiful area.


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