Shadows first

The morning light on the greystones on the north side of Carré St. Louis is always so beautiful. I was sketching there quite early today, in my usual spot at the edge of the square under the trees, but I only had a short time to sketch. With that in mind, instead of building up layers or glazes of watercolour, as I usually do, I tried a different way of working. I painted the shadow patterns on the wall first, knowing that if I had to pack up, I would have captured the most important shapes in the scene. I ended up having a few extra minutes so I added another layer of darks, and I suppose it might seem unfinished, but there’s also something nice about leaving it exactly as I saw it in the moment.

15 Comments on “Shadows first”

  1. Margaret (Peggy) Herrick says:

    Thanks for this post, Shari. What a simple and obvious strategy!


  2. deedster56 says:

    Beautifully captured, Shari!


  3. Bernadette says:

    Love it just as it is, spontaneous and yet carefully planned. Great idea to begin w/shadows first.


  4. Beverly Grice says:

    Leaving your sketch exactly as it was then puts you in good company…I mean with Monet. I had not realized that is what he did until I saw his series of paintings that were in Vancouver before COVID by a few years. Up close i.e. following the crowds they were mostly dark and burgundy canvasses. When I looked back from a distance I realized that he was painting willow trees in the shade and had managed to capture the deep shade patterns. Beverly



  5. Carmen L Daugherty says:

    What a great idea! I’m going to try that next time! Your sketch came out so fresh and loose. Love it!


  6. Judy Sopher says:

    Lovely. And nice to see you going beyond the usual techniques. By doing the direct Watercolor challenge, I think I got the “nerve” to ignore the rules I had been taught. I agree with Carmen- your ipainting is fresh .and loose.


  7. Bonjour Shari,
    Originaire de Nantes en France, je suis abonnée à la plupart de vos cours en ligne. J’ai progressé en suivant vos workshop et je vous en remercie. Par contre je passe à côté de judi cieux conseils, ne maîtrisant pas parfaitement la langue anglaise.
    Y a-t-il un moyen de traduire les sous-titres en français ?
    Avec mes remerciements
    Bien cordialement à vous


    • Bonjour Genevieve,
      Merci pour l’abonnement aux cours! I will answer in English but please feel free to keep writing to me in French.
      I have explored the possibility of captioning in French, but at the moment it is not something that is within my budget as a small business. My courses are not produced by a production company so the cost to do this is quite prohibitive at the moment. But I will keep exploring the possibility since I know there is a demand for this and I would love to be able to provide this. Many thanks for asking.


      • Genevieve Berthelot says:

        Merci beaucoup pour votre réponse rapide…je pense que je vais devoir reprendre des cours d’anglais…malheureusement il e;st de notoriété publique que les français sont nuls en langue 😉…mais promis je vais faire des efforts 🌝
        En tout cas un grand merci à vous pour nous donner autant de votre temps!
        Cordialement . G.BERTHELOT


  8. Anne Klaus says:

    I love this Shari. And it is so often we feel rushed, so this is such a good thought to have always in mind, the quick summary of the main scene.


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