Ten sunrises of San Miguel

Every morning in San Miguel de Allende I painted a sunrise view from my window. I wasn’t planning on creating a series when I did the first one, but the morning view was so beautiful — with a distant mountain range slowly emerging beyond the valley — that I just couldn’t stop myself. After the first day, I set an early alarm to make sure I wouldn’t miss it.

These are painted with gouache and watercolour on Strathmore toned paper and are approximately 5” x 7”, done two per page on a 9” x 12” sheet. Knowing that I had no more than 30 minutes to paint each of these, I would prepare my materials in the evening by setting up my palette and brushes, and have a rectangle drawn on my paper in advance.

Gouache is perfect for this exercise because it dries so quickly, and also because you can add light colours on top of dark ones. A sunrise view changes so rapidly, but I tried to capture the beauty of the vista by putting sky colours down with immediacy and never touching them again.

It’s always a great exercise to paint the same scene at different times of day or in different seasons, but I was especially fortunate to have a panorama like this in front of me when I pulled open the curtains each morning.


77 Comments on “Ten sunrises of San Miguel”

  1. Tim Liddy says:

    Some of my favorites.

    Like

  2. Carol Cooney says:

    Those are all absolutely breathtaking, Shari.

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  3. karim waked says:

    So great! Beautiful idea!
    X

    •••Karimobile
    514 9944433

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  4. Carmen Renaud says:

    Just beautiful. I have a lovely view also in the a.m. when my sister and I go to Florida (Clearwater) for the month of April. I have taken pics but would love to try my hand at sketching the sunrises. Every morning they are different. Any tips you can offer would be so appreciated. Do you paint entirely with gouache paint or do you use only the white? Looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks.
    Carmen
    (A big fan of yours!!)

    Like

    • HI Carmen, I mix white gouache with watercolour, so there’s no need to add too much to your palette when you pack. One tip is to use a different palette from the usual watercolour one because when you mix in the gouache the paints get kind of dirty. For Mexico I brought two filled palettes with me and this one was my morning sunrise one and the other one was my teaching one. Also, for these I use a lot less water than I do normally in a watercolour sketch. Have a great time in Clearwater and try this out yourself.

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  5. robynfrance says:

    This is splendid–what a thrill to wake up to and to have these to remember it by. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hélène Wermenlinger says:

    Magnificent Shari , you capture so well the atmosphere of the place . We were in San Miguel for four weeks last January and we loved the place .
    Enjoy !
    Hélène Wermenlinger

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  7. Bernadette says:

    Lovely, lovely, lovely. Thank you for sharing.

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  8. Sherry says:

    Wow Shari – these are amazing! beautiful colour, beautiful scenery – !

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  9. Simply fabulous. What a wonderful feeling you must have had each morning.

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  10. Doug Hilborn says:

    Love your simple approach to gouache; great pieces.

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  11. Linda Cherry says:

    Wow! Wonderful!!!

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  12. Jane Guest says:

    gorgeous Shari, lovely feeling to all of these

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  13. Chris Rusk says:

    I remember the very tall twin palm trees on either side of the pink cathedral – it is so nice to see that you had a similar palm in your morning landscapes. Your gouaches are all so beautiful!

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  14. Emily Neel says:

    So many sunset flavors! Delicious!

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  15. Donna says:

    absolte4ly beautiful….get the feeling of the morning atmosphere. You lucky woman!!

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  16. angmacleod says:

    Stunning work! Each day is a gift!!

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  17. All so interesting and beautiful.

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  18. jjukes says:

    wow! Great body of work

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Hi Shari

    Are you using tubes of gouche or mixing white with regular watercolors?

    These sunrise miniature are spectacular.

    sally >

    Like

    • Sally, I have a big tube of white gouache that I mix with watercolour. It makes it really easy while you are travelling. And I bring a different palette for this so I don’t get white paint in my regular watercolours. Thanks so much for writing.

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  20. Virginia Wagner says:

    Loved your sunrise series!

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  21. Lm Wilt says:

    Wow Shari, these are so gorgeous. I keep coming back to look again and again. I love them all. and now I really want to try gouache!
    Laura W.

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  22. Kay Edgar says:

    Those are great, so glad that you decided to do a series.

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  23. Judy Sopher says:

    Nothing original to say. So I repeat-amazing, gorgeous,lovely, and interesting.
    Thanks for sending this. It is inspiring.

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  24. Ellen says:

    Hi Shari. Each one is beautiful! Hope you talk more about the process of using gouache with watercolor in a future post :-). Thank you!

    Like

  25. Denise says:

    Same thing from me, these are amazing!!!

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  26. Denise Wyant says:

    What a wonderful idea! I really like how you mixed gouache and watercolor. It almost gives the feeling of oil paint. Nicely done!!

    Like

  27. Diane McDaniel says:

    Very nice. It feels so warm. i am waiting for warm again. >:)

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  28. Thirty minutes in your hands is pretty stunning.

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  29. Rosemary Duncan says:

    These are all gorgeous Shari. There is such a warm glow in them. I can’t stop looking at them.

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  30. Nancy Poist says:

    You have captured the peace and promise of each new day in these beautiful paintings! Thank you for sharing; as always, I’m awestruck!

    Like

  31. Lee Warren says:

    Love seeing these, Shari. I’ve just started trying out gouache and am still working to figure out techniques with an opaque medium but I’m really drawn to it with plein air work. Would love insights as wc is all I know.

    Like

    • HI Lee. One of these days I will do a post about working with gouache. Or give a gouache workshop. Hope you are well.

      Like

      • Lee says:

        I am well and we would love to get you back in VA. While I love wc for large works, I’m discovering gouache to be a shocking delight for my sketchbook. I love the rich color and quick drying time, yet it easily resets. I’m enjoying the relaxing of having to save lights. But since I’ve never worked with opaque, I’m trying to figure out the layering and glazing. I do love what you’re doing with the medium.

        Like

  32. denise p says:

    Shari..OMG…This has got to be my favorite post EVER! Well done!

    Like

  33. quinnde says:

    Omg..My favourite post EVER!
    Keep up the beautiful work.

    Like

  34. TonyU says:

    Twice blessed Shari … first, for having such a wonderful view to wake up to each morning; and second, for having the talent to capture it so beautifully!

    Like

  35. joantav says:

    This is such an awesome idea…and I like how your were so prepared for it every day!

    Like

  36. Very good paintings of trees in Gouache.

    Like

  37. Lee Warren says:

    Ah, as I try and figure out this gouache switch over in my sketchbook, I’m also trying to ponder whether to use both wc and gouache in a sketch or head out with just my gouache paints. Do I take the tube of white along with the wc or just the palette of gouache? For someone who’s only used wc before now, where do you recommend I read or watch how to approach an opaque medium. So far I’m just devouring videos and trying it out.

    Like


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