One day in Havana

A few years ago we spent a day in Havana. It wasn’t nearly long enough to see everything there is to see in that fascinating city. Instead of sticking with the group from our hotel, we chose instead to wander through the streets of the old colonial centre. That’s always the best way to see a city, isn’t it? I hadn’t gotten back into sketching at that time, but I did take a lot of photos, and I go back through them from time to time. This week, when I was looking for a reference image for a large format gouache experiment, I happened upon this one and it seemed just right. A tree-lined square, plenty of locals hanging around in the shade, some exotic yellow Cassia trees and of course good shadows. Painted in gouache on a half sheet of Fabriano CP paper, 15″ x 20″.

29 Comments on “One day in Havana”

  1. Ann says:

    Love your trees!


  2. IRENE Reinhold says:

    What a lovely painting. Can’t wait to start the gouache workshop( have bought it) and can’t wait to get back to Cuba.


  3. Northern Traveller says:

    Ahhhhh……large-scale gouache……Fantastic – I shall be watching this very carefully 🙂 🙂 🙂 :).
    The trees are especially lovely, and the bright colours.


  4. larkintn says:

    I would love to visit Cuba! This is a beautiful painting- is it as satisfactory to paint from a photo as on location? I’ve not tried it much, fearing the result would lack emotion.


    • Hi. I would love to go back to Cuba too!
      In answer to your question, no, it is not as satisfying to paint from a photo but this has been an unusual year. For lack of options during this pandemic, I have travelled to many places through photos, especially back to places I have visited myself. It’s been a great year to learn, and to practice stuff that I’ve been wanting to try. You have to make the best of it, right? And hopefully one day soon we will be travelling to amazing cities like Havana once again.


  5. Terrific atmosphere, love all the mark-making and textures.
    Glad to see you got to do a large format painting!


  6. Leslie Blackwell says:

    I feel like I’m back in Havana, looking at your painting.


  7. WAYNE says:

    Hokey smokes that is nice.


  8. Tracy says:

    Beautiful! I’m waiting for my paints and palette to arrive so I can start the skies class. I hope you will add more gouache classes along with new watercolor classes!


  9. Bernadette says:

    Magnificent! I have such trouble w/complex scenes. The people, signs, shadows, trees and so much more all included without being overcrowded or confusing. I LOVE it. It is my new favorite of all your works!


  10. Linda Murray says:

    Ditto, what Bernadette said. There is so much to see in the painting, and I love how I can go in and look at everything without getting lost. Just beautiful and not too busy at all. Great painting, Shari!


  11. Love the sunshine and shadow in this! Great job on this!!


  12. Nice view of Havanna, I’ve never been there, but I could probually sketch it for months on end. It has to be full of interesting scenes.


  13. I like how you added the bright sunlight leaves it gives the trees a lot of character.


  14. Donna says:

    This is so lovely. It has convinced me to try gouache again. Thanks for the inspiration.


  15. I always like wandering without a guide. You see so much more of what you want to see. This is really lovely.


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