Seeing red

I’m always looking for an idea that I can use as an inspiration for a series of sketches. Especially during these mostly at-home days. After I did my market sketch yesterday I started thinking about the colour red, because after all we are in a Covid red zone in Montreal starting tonight.

Reds have always been difficult for me, so I thought I might explore working with different reds and see where that leads me. I started with a James Gurney technique — casein to cover the sheet, a drawing using a water-soluble pencil, and then a gouache painting on top of that. My gouache palette was pretty limited — Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue and white. The aim of the exercise for me was to really look at the reds (cool, warm, light, dark, in light, in shadow) and paint what I saw. I hope to try to same thing in watercolour tomorrow.

24 Comments on “Seeing red”

  1. Jann Gumbiner says:

    You are an inspiration to us all. You are always growing, trying new things, challenging yourself.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Kathy Zodiaco says:

    Hi Shari,

    We haven’t officially met yet, and I want you to know how much I enjoy receiving your emails. They inspire and calm me.

    Happy Painting! Kathy Zodiaco



    • Kathy, that is so nice. And I want you to know how much I appreciate comments, especially in these difficult pandemic times when I’ve lost all my connections with other artists. Shari


  3. Wow! Wasn’t expecting a red background with all that red, but it totally works! You’ve got a fun color to be playing around with!! Helen


    • So nice to hear from you Helen. I wasn’t sure if the red background would work, but it turned out fine. I usually look for contrast or an area of neutral relief, but red on red worked. Hope all is well with you.


  4. loisajay says:

    These are wonderful, Shari. You amaze me with your limited palette. The greens are perfection!


  5. I agree with the previous comments, what more can I add!


  6. Andrea Rule says:

    Stay well, Shari.  I read that Montreal is getting more covid cases.  As are we.Crazy times……….Your art cheers me upAndrea Rule


    • So nice to hear from you Andrea. Yes, Montreal is bad. That is why we are in another lockdown situation, more or less. I hear it’s bad where you are too. Hope you are staying well.


  7. Chris Rusk says:

    They’re so hot!


  8. Wow!! This has such vibrancy to it!! I love it!


  9. Betsy says:

    That’s stunning and the exercise of seeing those reds accurately sounds very difficult!

    Sorry to hear of the setbacks with Covid in your region. This whole situation beggars description. I’ve sure enjoyed the relief of checking in here to look at art and talk about technique. Terrific distraction and I’ve learned a lot.


  10. meadowwoven says:

    This picture is amazing. I have been following James Gurney as well. The pepper absolutely pop!!


  11. Laurel says:

    Just great, I bought some hot peppers at the market and will give them a try. I am taking your watercolor flower course and learning a lot, thanks .


  12. Hsin says:

    Is the pure red background just red casein? or was the casein another color/shade. I love how matte it looks!


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