Good story giveaway

The other day after I did a live painting session on Instagram, Deborah asked this question:

I really enjoyed your live painting session! Will look forward to seeing more of them. I’ve been thinking about your gouache painting since, however, and am wondering a couple of things: First, is there a reason you would choose white gouache in lieu of a titanium white watercolor? Wouldn’t it accomplish the same thing—opaque color? Also, do you ever work with actual tubes of gouache?

I replied to Deborah in the comments, but thought it might be useful to repost my reply here, in case anyone else is curious.

In answer to your questions: I tried white gouache for two reasons.
1: I already had a big tube of it.
2. I was reading Nathan Fowkes’s technique and wanted to try it. Yes, I do have a limited selection of regular tubes of gouache and have done many paintings with them. But I also have lots of watercolour, and would rather not invest in new materials if I can use what I have. So this method made sense for me, especially since it is more portable. Like Fowkes recommends, I take my watercolour palette with me and simply bring along a bit of gouache to squeeze out fresh each time. So there is no loss of paint (meaning blobs of dried gouache on my palette). PLUS, and this is even more important to me, I know my pigments so well on my watercolour palette that I can obtain the colour mixes much more quickly this way because I am using colours I am familiar with. Make sense? Thanks for asking a good question that I may end up using as the start of a blog post if that is ok with you. 

As for today’s sketch, my drawing inspiration comes from a gift I received from my son. He picked up these shells on the beach in Vancouver before he came home last week and brought them home for me to sketch. A very thoughtful gesture. Do you have a story or anecdote about a little bit of kindness in your life during this period of isolation? I’d love to hear it. In exchange, I will enter you in a draw for one of my sketches. The winner can pick either the shells or the wheelbarrow sketch I did in March. I’ll do the draw on Saturday at 5 pm. In the meantime, keep drawing and stay healthy!!

58 Comments on “Good story giveaway”

  1. mcdonnmc says:

    I have two quite senior friends (86 and 92) that I stay in touch with and now, because I can’t visit like I used to, I painted two little pictures of tulips to cheer them up. They are finding the “social isolation” extremely difficult right now.


  2. Laura B. says:

    A friend was able to buy a box of disposable gloves. She divided up her box and gave several pairs to her friends for wearing to the grocery store or pharmacy. We are all in the “elderly” age group, so the virus is especially dangerous to us. If I win your drawing, I would love the wheelbarrow sketch but the shells would also be a nice surprise. Thanks for doing you blog. I look forward to it daily! Stay well!!


  3. Bonnie Olpin says:

    Our Anacortes Washington art group, who you know well as your enthusiastic students are serving the community by doing Meals on wheels to elderly and by sewing masks for hospitals and friends. For each other we are sending on line sketches back and forth; one day we all painted what is outside our window!
    Thanks for your blog, generous teaching style and all the tips!


  4. Rita Cleary says:

    Here’s my story. Normally, our family (16 of us in the immediate area) gather here for Sunday dinner. During this quarantine, we are not able to do that…and my daughters are busy with schooling kids at home plus their work, plus entertaining kids after schoolwork is done…so video chats seem a lot of effort. Last week, one family ordered takeout dinner and got more than they expected…so they called and asked if they could bring leftovers over to us. Yahoo! We had a little chat (they stayed in car, I was more than 6″ away), the three kids made little notes with drawings for us, and we got a delicious meal! Sweet!


  5. Trevor Travis says:

    I love the colours and arrangement here. Very effective and satisfying. Restful and exhilarating at the same time.

    A little touch of kindness. Yes. We are long term self isolating on government instructions and a young neighbour pushed a note through our door offering any help we might need. We were very moved by this and emailed her to thank her. We now swap family news and it is so comforting to know that we have such a lovely, caring neighbour nearby. We are planning the neighbourhood party for when all this is over!


  6. Sonia says:

    I’ve been setting up various online groups to keep out WI drama group and book group going which has all been taking a while and I’ve been trying to stay in contact with people who are vulnerable/lonely but today had a small but very uplifting surprise when a friend dropped our medication on the doorstep and had slipped a bar of chocolate in for us, these little things have a big effect.


  7. Pastor Cathy says:

    thinking about taking what I have ,,, gifts, antiques, souveniers, and such to sketch.


  8. Gail Young says:

    Our neighborhood decided to do a visual scavenger hunt for all the children taking walks with their parents. This week we were encouraged to take Teddy Bears and put them in our front windows or porches for the kids to have something fun to look for while they were out and about. It is fun for us also to see how creative we can be!


  9. Sandy says:

    Last week my family established a text message chain. I have 4 remaining siblings including a brother and his family in Maine. My brother is a nurse anesthetist and is on the front line in Bangor, Me. I hope our bit of family normalcy helps him while he is rationing his ONE N95 mask. I pray the “big relief effort” our president is bragging about is in time to minimize lives lost.


  10. Annieofbluegables says:

    A darling woman in our congregation has chickens that are laying 2 dozen a day. She offered to deliver to our door once a week. I pay her $3/dozen and give her all our egg cartons, which I left on the glider on the front porch in a bag. It was sweet to see her slip quietly back to her car. I opened the door and called out a thank you. And we have yummy fresh eggs!
    I am making masks to donate.
    Sheri, I love your art. I love the one you did of the Boulder Flatirons that is the cover photo of your Craftsy class. Thank you for uplifting my days with your beautiful work.
    I’d love the wheelbarrow if I’m lucky enough to be drawn.


  11. karen colson says:

    I ordered some mop refill pads on amazon…(they are sold out in the stores) When they arrived, the package included a sweet, hand written note from the business owner, “Jess”. She was thanking me for supporting her small family business. It stopped me in my tracks…a moment of human kindness and connection that i wouldn’t even have thought of without her note. It made realize how meaningful a seemingly meaningless thing, like ordering mop pads, is. I since think of her often, hoping she is able to provide for her family in midst of this chaos.

    Thanks are always an inspiration to me!


  12. Donna Thibodeau says:

    I got a call from my 6th grade best friend who later was my bridesmaid. We had not talked forever. We talked like we had seen each other yesterday. We plan to do it again soon.


  13. Jean says:

    I am enjoying your blogs and paintings even more than usual these days of quarantine. When my husband and I first returned, ahead of schedule, from our drive down south in U.S.A., a neighbour kindly left on our doorstep two pieces of her delicious chocolate cake ! Another neighbour bought fruit for us. We felt so much better that our neighbours were concerned for us.


    • Jean, the gifts of cake and fruit are so nice. Especially since snowbirds have been told to go home immediately without even stopping at the grocery story. Thanks for sharing that. Wish someone would leave chocolate cake at my door.


  14. Pamela Peters says:

    Hello Shari, this is Pam from San Diego. So enjoy your art and blogs. 16 days ago, five of us friends who worked together (long retired 16 years ago) started doing a sketch a day. One of us lives in Seattle and her art teacher (Amy Williams D’Apice) provides the daily challenge. It’s supposed to be a 30-minute sketch, but some of us extend that time. At the end of the day, we email our sketches to each other. I think Dee (Seattle) emails our efforts to her teacher. It is a challenge to think of how we interpret the word or phrase, but the main thing is that we keep in daily touch with each other since we are missing our coffee and lunch dates, as well giving us a sense of purpose for the day; something to look forward to as well. Today’s was “A Gathering of Small Things” and I decided to paint my watercolor paint tubes which I keep by colors in boxes. (I have way too many). I enclose it here for you to see.

    If . . . I happen to win, the shells are it. I love shells and have them from many places in the world. Your painting would be the crowning glory.

    Happy painting, keep it up, and I liked the notes on the gouache today.

    Best regards,



    • Hi Pam from San Diego. What a wonderful idea for you and your friends. It really does help to have something to start with, like a daily challenge, rather than wandering aimlessly around looking for something to paint, like I do sometimes. Glad the gouache notes were useful. Stay healthy!


  15. sharon says:

    I am enjoying your blog. I have a question about using watercolours with gouache. Do you put fresh paint in your watercolour palette everyday? I let my watercolours dry and rewet when I use them. Would that work when adding gouache?


  16. Gayl Harner says:

    Shari, I have studied your book, and recently started watching your City class on Bluprint. I love the way you do your value sketches with the water soluble ink pen and the water brush pen. I can not figure out what kind of pen and what kind of ink you buy for that value sketching and would really appreciate it if you would share that.
    Also, how does that pen differ from the one you use for your permanent sketches ? (I have been using Pigma Microns) . Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us!!


    • Hi Gayl. So glad you like the classes and the book. The pen I use for value sketches is water-soluble. It’s a Pilot Fineliner. Very common in office supply stores. The Micron is permanent so it’s perfect for using under watercolour washes.


  17. Shirley-Ann says:

    My mother is turning 91 tomorrow. She lives in an aged care home and they are in lock down. I haven’t seen her for three weeks. She is feeling isolated and confused. Today a member of staff rang me to organize a video call with my mother tomorrow for her birthday. How lucky we are that caring, compassionate people are making a day special for our family.


    • Shirley-Ann, what a wonderful story. I can’t imagine how hard it must be not to be able to see your mom, especially on her birthday. You’re so lucky to have a compassionate staff member to arrange the call. I send good healthy wishes to both you and your mom.


  18. Lee Warren says:

    A friend of mine and her husband are now having to keep 24/7 their 5- yr-old granddaughter as her mother is a nurse and she currently fears coming home with the virus. (Daycare closed) It’s hard on everyone, but the child who is having a blast not being in daycare. I am trying to learn portraiture so I asked my friebd for a photo of little Jojo. A gift for Mom and Dad while they figure out their options.

    Regarding gouache, I too am more familiar with my wc colors. I am trying to figure out the water:paint ratio. Do you have a video by any chance of using wc and white gouache 🙄?


    • Lee, there are many stories like this of families taking in young kids because parents work in healthcare. It’s so hard on everyone.
      Hope you are well. No videos yet of gouache and watercolour!


  19. angmacleod says:

    Hi Shari, we are up in the Lower Laurentides region of Quebec, we came from Fort Myers to Montreal and then straight in “self isolation “ after the 14 days were up I felt so relieved and grateful that we did not have the virus. So I thought well I will have a lot of time for art now! Then the reality of our global situation hit me, the creative juices stopped dead. A friend invited me to do the Isolation art challenge on FB, even that took a few days but I did and the caption reads: “Day 1: Edibles, it was either paint or cut my own hair!!” I am glad I painted, 😳 art is therapy and so is sharing your talents With all of us ! 🙏


    • Angie, I find it hard to get motivated too. Many of my friends are having a hard time even reading a book. But once you get going with painting, it does feel better, doesn’t it? Glad you made it home!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Uma Maheswar Nakka says:

    Good Afternoon friend Shari,

    I was having a hobby of collecting shells and Conchs, when I was very young.
    Many of my friends used to pick them off from my collection.
    And the hobby became inversely proportional with my age.
    I read long ago that Burma Shell logo has a story behind it .

    Simple and best sketches to view and enjoy.

    Blessings- Uma


    • Thanks for this Uma. My father had a friend who had a museum quality shell collection, gathered over a lifetime. It was recently donated to McGill University for their natural history museum.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Uma Maheswar Nakka says:

        Good Morning dear friend Shari,

        That’s a very good thing you have done. They are permanent forever, educating and making the visitors happy and wondering too.

        These shells sketch took my teenage life, scrolling around the beach of Bay Of Bengal to find this treasure.

        Good old days Shari, very innocent, mischievous, cheerful and joyful with no worries or tensions.

        Only twice in a year I used to be worried and under tension, that i during Class Exams:)

        But always my elder sister used to cover me from our parents for my bad performance:)
        Very kind and loving lady, but now she is in the Divine company (22nd Aug, 2006).

        Have a beautiful day everyday
        All the best and good luck
        with my Blessings- Uma


  21. Leonie McLaren says:

    a friend checking in via text when usually we would be catching up in person – I haven’t seen her for months and we are due for a catchup next week


  22. Lynn says:

    With this horrible scare my husband and i have started on our Living Trust. The legal fees are quite big, but my lawyer said she would reduce them first and then take the rest out in trade. What trade? My art work! Now that is an amazingly kind human!


  23. John Lillyman says:

    Shari, SEWING rather than SOWING: Now based at home I have watched my wife and daughter (who at 16 has a job at the local hospital in meal delivery and has not decided to give it up but to serve through this scary time) pull out their sewing machines and make face masks to donate to local institutions. Fun to see them having a race to see who can complete one in the fastest time! Living in rural Nebraska we sow more than sew it seems but this spring is different.

    Blessings and thanks for your continuing inspiring artwork, John

    Sent from Outlook



  24. Maureen Gray says:

    I live in a small town in the commonwealth of Virginia. A group here quickly sprung up on Facebook where people are offering and asking for help. When I get a little down I look at their posts and it lifts me up. Since I’m in a high risk category, all I’ve done is make masks for my family (especially for my son who works for FedEx) and I’ve taken a couple of meals to my neighbor who has a lot of health issues. I think the most special kindnesses are the verbal expressions of love and support I’ve given to and received from others.
    Thanks so much, Shari. I look forward to your daily posts.


    • Thanks for writing Maureen. So nice to read everyone’s stories. I made masks for my sons yesterday, but I have no sewing machine so I did them by hand. It was kind of nice to sew again after many years. Good luck and stay healthy!


  25. Denise says:

    Dear Shari, The teachers where my daughter works drove, parade like, through all the streets in their school’s district to wave to their students. 39 cars in all! Neighbors checking on neighbors and making grocery runs for them, the many signs in windows, donations to healthcare workers, the list goes on and on! The little things that put smiles on people’s faces during this crisis gives us all strength. Your posts is also added to that list of happy things. Stay well and keep us motivated😀


    • Denise, that is amazing. I would have loved to see that. I love spotting all the rainbows in windows as I walk through my neighbourhood with Alice. I’m not sure if that is a Canadian thing or if it all over.


  26. John says:

    My wife is tangible evidence that God loves me. I hope she feels the same way. She is the gift…


  27. wendy cutting says:

    My painting friend in Australia sent me some lovely watercolour tubes – Daniel Smith my favourite range. Paint all the time in lockdown in England
    Thanks for cheering daily posts. I live in France but can’t get home xx


  28. Betsy says:

    My neighbor offered to make a plate of her Easter dinner next weekend and leave it on my front porch.


  29. Gayl Harner says:

    Thank you, Shari!


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