Daffodils in gouache

In late fall I planted about 200 spring bulbs in my garden. I know that sounds crazy but I wanted an explosion of colour to sketch this spring. Every day a bit more snow melts, and every day I go out there, looking for signs of at least one or two of the two hundred. Nothing yet. While I wait, I figured I’d better practice so I bought a few from the grocery store and sketched them in gouache today, on hot press paper. And if all 200 bloom, you’ll see them here in some form or another.

26 Comments on “Daffodils in gouache”

  1. Gretta Benson says:

    Those are so beautiful!!! You are an amazing artist and instructor!!! Gretta


  2. mariancolman says:

    Shari I emailed you that I couldn’t use the code for your new course. I tried a second time and it still doesn’t work- says it is invalid. Can you advise? Thanks-


  3. That blue background really works! Eileen



  4. Bernadette says:

    Lovely, lovely! I’m waiting for mine to break open too. Slowly the stems are reaching higher each day. . I planted more bulbs last fall but nothing to compare with your 200 added daffodils. Wow!


  5. Gorgeous as usual Shari. Can’t wait to see the other 200!


  6. Cindy Wahlstrom says:

    Love your excitement for spring! I don’t think 200 daffodils is crazy at all. I have planted large amounts of tulips and daffodils in the past for the same reason. Unfortunately, we have too many critters ( squirrels in particular) and they’ve seemed to mostly disappear. It’s a sunny day at my house today…. sunlight shining through the tall evergreens.


  7. Elly Hobgood says:

    I would definitely sign up for another of your gouache classes especially with this subject!

    Sent from my iPad



  8. Uma Maheswar Nakka says:

    Good Morning dear friend Shari,
    Very beautiful sketch.

    This reminds me of my student life.
    During those days we have ‘English Poetry” as a special subject.

    In that, we had the poem written by William Wordsworth on Daffodils.
    For some reason, WW was suffering from loneliness before writing this poem..

    And one day, while walking along a lake he saw many many Daffodils in clusters with brilliant Yellow color (as in your sketch).

    He felt they were dancing along with the wind flowing smoothly.
    He was so happy with that scene, he wrote that those Daffodils drove his loneliness away.

    As usual, some of your sketches bring back my past into my mind and this is one of the kind.

    Thanks and Blessings


    • Uma, thank you for sending me in the direction of that poem. I have read it many times in the past but I am always happy to read those beautiful lines again.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Uma Maheswar Nakka says:

        Good Evening dear friend Shari,

        Those days before the 1970s are wonderful.
        The excellent Education system, proficient teachers, and wonderful students.
        Those days every student looked like a scholar, unlike now.

        Thanks and Blessings


  9. Denise says:

    This is lovely, and another reminder to put my tubes of gouache to work! Can’t wait for the picture of your hard work in full bloom!


  10. Mia says:

    Shari, Liking the bold approach and the light/dark contrasts…(a good substitute for coming spring parade).
    Thank you for sharing!


  11. Anna Pavlova says:

    Shari, I took some photos of the daffodils in DC that are already in bloom after I saw your painting. I was going to attach couple of them here in case you’d like current photos, then realized there is no option for that. But 200 sounds about right!
    I am planning on my first plein air attempts next week, and can’t decide whether to try gouache. I am pretty terrible at watercolor, and slightly better at acrylic, but dragging around the whole acrylic set up is too much. Any advice? I’d love to take a workshop on gouache if you ever decide on one- not many out there.


  12. Northern Traveller says:

    I love these Shari! So fresh in gouache…..
    Happy Spring!


  13. Hi Shari- Lovely painting! I struggle every year with painting yellow daffodils. I just can’t “see” the shadow color and I can’t get enough contrast/value range. No matter what I try, I’m frustrated with the results. I welcome any advice for colors to try. Thanks!


    • Jean, I am the same. I find it so hard to paint the shadows on yellow flowers. Sometimes I just use a more ochre-ish colour instead of bright yellow for the shadows. I have looked online at other people’s work to see how they deal with them too. In fact I am going out to sketch daffodils now. If I find any magic answers for either of us, I let you know. The only good solution I have found it to set them against a dark background.


      • Thanks Shari- I’ve combed online too, but haven’t been thrilled with the results. I’ve had one or two good attempts, but they always end up very botanical and not very spontaneous. Yesterday I tried a Winsor violet with Hansa yellow and a lot of water. Not bad…but I plan to try other combinations. It’s an annual quest. Hope you solve the mystery!


      • Jean, you’ll see that what I did today is not a painting. It was just a sketch on mixed media paper so none of the things I was recommending really apply to today’s effort. But yes, I use purple to darken yellows too. I sometimes use Winsor Violet but that’s so strong, so I also use Cobalt Violet for a softer look. Looking forward to seeing what you did too.


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