Sketching in a time of isolation

Since returning from the US on Saturday, my husband and I are taking the recommendation to self-isolate seriously, and will be at home for 14 days. Our son, who was also travelling for work and returned home at around the same time, is also here.

It’s hard to drag myself away from watching the tv or reading the news all day long. But that can make you crazy, and very depressed. Sketching certainly takes MY mind off things. I’ve also been getting out often to walk Alice and wave at neighbours from a distance. And we’ve been cooking, catching up on household stuff, playing games, reading and watching Netflix. These are strange times indeed.

There are plenty of inspiring ideas online about sketching and staying connected during this time. There’s a new Urban Sketchers hashtag #uskathome that you can use when posting drawings you do from your window or from the inside of your house. There are also other ways to gather online — virtual sketchmeets, daily prompts, etc. — that will connect you with our very supportive worldwide group of urban sketchers.

We don’t really know how long this will last, but in the meantime I hope all of you are staying healthy. May we sketch together, in person, very soon.

32 Comments on “Sketching in a time of isolation”

  1. Beaumont Nancy says:

    Thank you very much! Stay safe and I hope to see you in the Seattle area some day.




  2. Rockie says:

    Thank you, Shari! It’s inspiring to get your sketches in my email every day and I love the way you sketch. I don’t know how you manage to make what seem to be very simple, fresh strokes of color and value into such a beautiful whole scene. I am doing your Bluprint Cityscapes class online right now and look forward to sketching with you in person one day.


    • Thanks so much for writing Rockie. I always try to use bright colours but even more this week. Glad you have some time to do some of the Bluprint classes. This seems like the perfect time to learn! Hope you enjoy them.


  3. Carol says:

    thanks Shari, take care, we are all in this together. xx


  4. Here in California, I am lucky enough to have a garden. The daffodils are just beginning to hang their heads, blossoms are still budding, leaves are a couple of weeks from bursting forth. I have set myself the goal of doing one sketch , per day, in my garden, for each day of self imposed “Shelter in Place.” Today begins my sixth day of not going out (beyond walking the dog up the street and back.) Once the home stay is over, I should have a nice selection of sketches. Each one is 6 x 6 and I plan to mount them on wooden blocks to display as an entirety.

    Just an idea! Sally



    • Sally, I love this project. You will certainly have a great selection of sketches when this is all over. I will have a look at your blog to see them. Thanks for sharing this idea.


  5. Trevor Travis says:

    Shari, you are inspirational. We, too, are housebound here, possibly for months and your lovely, colourful, life enhancing work is just what we need in these strange times. I really feel that I know Montreal now via your work and being able go back through your posts and revisit the places that you have been to helps a lot. Stay safe and bon courage!


    • Trevor, thanks so much for writing. I’m glad you have been able to enjoy my views of Montreal. In the coming days there will be more house interiors, window views and paintings from my travels. But it is a good time to learn new things too. Stay well.


  6. Judy Sopher says:

    You have written the very things I have said to my family and friends. The TV and newspapers can really make one depressed.And angry at how some people are acting. Like emptying stores.

    My Rabbi sent a long poem about how to get thru this and see the good things life, etc. I commented-that is nice, but what about the people who have lost their jobs and businesses? (my anger shows)

    One nice thing for you is that your family is together.

    So enough about that.Your painting is cheerful.I agree with Rockie that your colors are so fresh.Love to see paintings about how our art areas look. We have 3 apple trees with outrageously gnarled trunks to paint. Not a cheerful but fun.

    Stay safe.


    • Thanks for writing Judy. Yes, one son is here but the other one is on the West Coast so we talk to him every night. And I am definitely staying in touch with more friends too. Hope you and your family are keeping well and hope you are drawing those apple trees.


  7. lynnbowes says:

    I heard it described today – ‘social distancing doesn’t mean social disengaging’ and we all need each other now more than ever. I’m holed up at my bench for the next few weeks and hoping to get caught up on work that can go to galleries when the fog lifts. And it will. Faith.


  8. Kirk says:

    Liked the sketch and the happy colors!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Mary King says:

    Thank you so much Shari for such encouraging words. Wishing you well during this stay inside.


  10. Peri Nilan says:

    Hi Shari,
    Thank you for continuing with sharing your daily artwork, as it’s inspiring and helps take our minds off of the continuing saga of this virus. We artists are so lucky that we have our creative retreat. I just put on nice music down in my newly renovated studio and resume my calm and focus. Enjoy your family time and keep on sharing!


  11. I have increased my painting time. It is therapy for me. I have also looked up videos on how to refresh or expand my artist skills.


  12. Linda Murray says:

    Thank you Shari and hope you and family stay safe. Praying that this difficult time passes quickly without health and financial difficulty for all. Your paintings are a bright spot in my day. 👍


  13. pamlopez15 says:

    Thanks Shari, love your sketch. Yes, we too are trying to stay away from the TV and find other ways to keep mind and body together. Stay cosy and safe.


  14. sandidureice says:

    Thank you, Shari, for your personal story and the links. Earlier this year I saw, for the first time, copy of Watercolor Artists in my newsagency in Monbulk Australia. I looked at the cover and said to myself, “That’s Shari’s painting.” And it was. So I bought the magazine. Love the article.


  15. TonyU says:

    Love the sketch … and definitely the studio/office of someone with time on their hands to do a tidy-up! The freedom retirement brings for a long walk each day is a major plus, but now with lockdowns etc in place those same walks seem like a gift from above. Best wishes to all of you.


    • Good to hear from you Tony. Yes, the walks certainly are a gift, and the fresh air helps. As for the tidy-up, somehow the days get filled in and that cleaning never happens. Probably because I know it can be done tomorrow. I certainly am not going anywhere anytime soon.


  16. joantav says:

    I am enjoying what you are finding to sketch during this time of isolation. I have been trying to get out most days to sketch from my car away from other isolation a slightly different way. I’ve done some sketching indoors but since the weather has been fairly nice I have this compulsion to get out. Thanks for this inspirational sketch of a corner of your studio!!!


  17. Margie Beedle says:

    Such a great, encouraging post, Shari! Thank you for the links and for your inspirational “at home” sketches. There are windows and still life possibilities everywhere – to distract me from the news. I still think so fondly of our time together in Italy – and wish my Canadian friends all the best!

    I was just in Moab visiting our son and his family on vacation from British Columbia. Just returned yesterday and am also doing the 14 day self-isolation. A favorite memory of the trip was a hike my husband and I took to Delicate Arch with our two grandsons (9 and 11) and the three of us sitting on the red rock with our watercolors and sketchbooks!

    All the best to you and Spyro.


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