Hot sauce

Every once in a while I love to take my tubes of gouache out to play. I find that the process applying opaque pigments onto toned paper is a great exercise in thinking about colour mixing.

The real challenge in this one was figuring out what to do with the transparent bottles against the dark background. In reality, when I looked at them, the only thing I could really see was the highlights on the glass and the little bits of dried hot sauce on the inside of the bottles. The bottles themselves sort of dissolved in to the background. I tried to solve the problem by painting the transparent part of each bottle slightly lighter than the background grey, and then adding a few darks and lights to each one. Now that the sketch is scanned I notice lots of symmetry errors in my bottle drawing, but I had a lot of fun painting the brightly-coloured labels on these.

I work very much the same way for this that I do with watercolour, except for the highlights (which in watercolour are the white of the paper): big shapes and mid-tone values first, followed by colour accents, then darks and finally the highlights.

Other news this week: It’s a huge honour to have my work featured in the June 2019 issue of Watercolor Artist magazine. It’s the back page article called Open Book and it’s of a sketch of some gladioli that I bought at the Jean Talon Market last fall.

22 Comments on “Hot sauce”

  1. RooiPing Lim says:

    Hot sauce is so me!!! You can paint all the hot sauce bottles in my kitchen when you visit !!!!!! Love this


  2. Denise says:

    I like this painting, and I guess your family likes hot sauce! Congrats on the magazine feature, you deserve the honor.


  3. Kristiina Sakai says:

    Shari, you make the mundane special every day and I love your glads, they are glorious! Congratulations on the Watercolor Artist Magazine feature! Well deserved!


  4. -N- says:

    I really like this one! We grow chiles every year and make our own powders, but have considered making our own hot sauces as well. Besides the chilis, I really like your gouache studies. What colors do you have in your palette? That would be really fun to learn about. I bought my first water-based gouaches this past week. Thanks for such a lovely blog!


  5. gaelle1947 says:

    Congratulations on your Watercolor Artist Magazine article!! Look forward to getting a copy when it’s on the shelves. That TV Commercial Hot Sauce lady Ethel would have a lively comment about today’s painting!!! Yes siree…you can put it on everything including watercolor paper!!!!! Hey! that could be a fantastic marketing strategy perhaps???


  6. Joe Boutte says:

    Love the hot sauce!


  7. Judy Sopher says:

    Wonderful gouache still-life. Gouache is one of my favorites. I will try it on toned paper as that is something I haven’t tried. When you set up a still life, do you set up a background for it? Thanks.


  8. Mrs. P. Mrs. P. says:

    Hello, Shari,

    About your blog explanation of the order of your values in your watercolor paintings (not gouache): when do you put in your light areas(not the highlights)? Before or after the midtone values?
    Thank you for your time.


    • HI Mrs P. In my watercolour paintings, I paint the lights first and leave the whites by painting around them. Most of the time I work from light to dark using this same process. I hope that helps.


  9. Jeff Gold says:

    Love the intense color. The play of red and green keeps the eyes moving. Hot stuff indeed!


  10. Susan Perel says:

    Hello Shari, I have a question about the order of your values in the Hot Sauce entry. Where do you paint the light areas – before or after the midtone values? Thanking you in advance. Susan Perel


    • HI Susan, When I am working with gouache I paint the light areas last. Those are the little white highlights. Because gouache is opaque, I can add tones that get progressively light. For example for the greys in this I mix up a mid tone grey, and then add a bit of white to make a very light grey, and finally add the little highlights in pure white gouache. It’s a very different way of working than in watercolour, but also a good exercise to shift the way you think through the painting process. Hope that helps.


  11. nikiraa says:

    Absolutely love this painting!


  12. joantav says:

    Fun sketch of the hot sauce bottles! Thanks for describing what you did. I saw the article today…way to go!


  13. Congratulations, Shari! I am so happy for you and your published article. Really an honor!! Love sharing your posts!!


  14. Marsi says:

    Love the hot sauce!


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