West Coast inspiration

These days painting inspiration can be hard to find. The pandemic has confined so many of my sketcher friends to home, and let’s face it, after a while, drawing your immediate surroundings can get tedious, even for the most motivated sketchers.

Yesterday my painting inspiration came in the form of a text message. My son — who is on a kayaking trip on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia — sent me a photo of a bay he had just paddled into after a long day on the water. The low viewpoint of the image (taken from the kayak), combined with the deep green West Coast trees and inky dark water spoke to me immediately. After dinner I headed down to my studio to paint it. It’s just a little painting (9″ x 12″) on a pad of Arches CP paper, but it was good practice for moving paint around on paper. And it satisfied a little bit of the urge I had to paint that part of the country since I was, in fact, supposed to be teaching in BC this month.

40 Comments on “West Coast inspiration”

  1. Leslie Blackwell says:



  2. Stephanie Descoteaux says:

    That is very beautiful.


  3. janice says:

    Love this. Wish we could all head to the west coast for a week of painting and change of scenery.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gretchen says:

    As usual, I Love your way with water! Thanks for this breath of salt air–


  5. Missy Walsh-Smith says:

    Oh, I love this kayak-perspective and the moving water! Fabulous!


  6. Dale says:

    You have beautifully caught the sense of weight and movement of the ocean water….and the ovoids that have been such an influence on West coast Indigenous artists.
    The painting gives an uncanny feeling of the power of the ocean…and of floating in a kayak.
    Doubly impressive since you were painting from a photograph.

    – a West coast admirer


    • Dale, thank you so much. I did feel something when I saw the photo and I had to paint it immediately. It seemed to me to encapsulate all that I love about that area. I really appreciate that your comments.


  7. LaVerna says:

    As a former resident of the Sunshine Coast and a permanent West Coaster, I have to say that you completely captured the beauty of this place in your painting. I love it. Thanks for sharing.


  8. Brenda Staresnick says:

    ..I know the feeling..painting my fav art tools..awesome painting..Brenda (TX)


    • Art tools are always good to paint. I actually never get tired of painting tubes of paint. Not sure why but I think their shapes are easy and I love the little bits of metal on the tubes.


  9. LOVE the inky water!

    Regards Mary (Molly) Harvey



  10. Judy Sopher says:

    9X12 is a little painting? Not for me. that’s big..

    Lovely painting. Water and boats-perfect. What is the prominent green? I bought a tube of garbazole violet as I like how it mixes with yellows per your class. First new color I’ve bought in ages and anxious to use it.


    • Thanks Judy. The green that I am using in this one is Viridian. On its own it’s too green but I mixed it with lots of blue and I think it worked well for this. I also used some Cobalt Green for the cabin of the main boat, and its reflection.
      Enjoy the Carbazole Violet. It creates a beautiful colour mixed with Burnt Sienna.


  11. Soni says:

    this is fabulous and thank you for addressing motivation block – I painted profusely for months when this began but a week ago I hit that brick wall. It’s never what to paint so much for me as it is I’ve simply lost that urge. Burnout, recharging creative batteries & needing a new stimulus all apply as experience has taught me. The fact that you expressed it too just brightened my spirits a lot today just as your wonderful painting did.
    Thanks for all your daily gifts.


    • Soni, I think we are all going through this at different times. Yes, lack of new stimulus is definitely a factor. It certainly helped me when I was in Charlevoix for a week, looking at new vistas. Even the car ride on a boring, flat road was somewhat exciting. Here’s an idea that might help: look at art books. That always gives me so many great ideas when I see how other people work.


  12. TerryKrysak says:

    I live in Richmond BC, and I love the Sunshine Coast.
    I have several Sunshine Coast shots on a website called Paint My Photo.
    Free to join, but you have to join to see the photos.
    You can use the photos as a reference for your own work of art with no Copyright restrictions, and you are free to sell your work.


    • Thanks so much for this Terry. I will join and look at the photos! And I hope other people see this too. What a great idea!!
      After hearing about the Sunshine Coast from my son, I really would like to take a trip there. It sounds so amazing!!


  13. Becky Smith says:

    Love how you capture the water!


  14. I love the water. The color! I have never sketched or painted so many trees since all this started. Now I am running out of trees. I miss sketching in coffee shops with my friend. On the flip side I have had more time to learn. Your workshops have kept me inspired.


    • Ah, I am so happy to hear that you’ve been enjoying the classes. That makes me happy!
      And I know what you mean about coffee shops. I anticipate a long winter here in Montreal when I can’t go to indoor spaces to draw. Hope you are well.


  15. michelledever says:

    That’s beautiful and i love your inspiration!!


  16. oishmortal says:

    The water ripples. Everything about this is amazing! 💜


  17. Nice painting, it looks like a really beautiful location.


  18. Iona says:

    Fabulous! You’ve really got our coast – deep green trees and inky water – perfectly said too. You are so inspiring – thank you! I have so many photos that I could work from. And of course – lots of time these days – so no excuse!

    … from another West Coast resident..


  19. joantav says:

    I’ve never been out to that area, so seeing this makes me want to plan a visit. This is great! I love the deep colors of the reflections.


  20. Uma Maheswar Nakka says:

    Good Evening dear friend Shari,

    Lovely sketch with beautiful colors.



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