Ten before two

It would have been wonderful to paint the front of the Santa Barbara Courthouse with my students, but we just never found the time to do it, and when it seemed like it might be possible there was another wedding party that had reserved the spot. The clocktower is quite beautiful but the main attraction for me is that big stone arch that leads to the sunken garden. I snapped a photo of it on my way back from lunch one day, and while the memory of all those white Santa Barbara buildings was still fresh in my head, I thought I’d tackle the scene. Painted wet-in-wet on a quarter sheet of Fabriano CP.

21 Comments on “Ten before two”

  1. susie langley says:

    Shari did you use a white or bright white paper. The courthouse looks so nice!


  2. Gretchen Flesher says:

    Well done, it really captures the essence and quality of light.


  3. Bernadette says:

    It’s a beauty! I don’t always remember to snap a picture till I’m home trying to finish what I started on site. Love the variety of greens! Wonderful!


  4. Dianne says:

    Love this painting. I so enjoyed following you on Sketchbook Revival. I also completed your seashell lesson. Thanks I loved them both.


  5. Lori says:

    It’s so beautiful!


  6. Sandra L Lewin says:

    What did you use for the white surface of the building?

    Beautiful painting!


  7. Betsy says:

    That’s so beautiful! It makes me want to practice and learn more! Your shadow are so beautiful. And wow, what a beautiful treatment of the arch and the garden beyond.


  8. Michele Meredith says:



  9. So fresh and bright! West coast California dreamin’ light.




  10. mcammeehan says:

    I’ve always wanted to visit california, so many inspirations there!


  11. Lovely!!! I sketched the courthouse on a trip to CA eons ago. I would love to go back. It is an inspiring place and you captured the heart of it!


  12. De says:

    Wow, that’s beautiful! The bright greens and other colors juxtaposed on the white building makes a stunning painting!👏👏👏


  13. Robin Riley says:

    Great painting. The courthouse is an amazing piece of architecture. See Dimensions. Space, Shape and Scale in Architecture by Charles Moore and Gerald Allen for wonderful insights. The history of the building is as interesting as the building. See: https://sbcourthouse.org/history/ and http://jwilmerhershey.com


    • Robin, thanks so much for these insights. As always, when I am sketching I enjoy so much of the outside space, but never get to visit inside. Or even learn about the architecture. I really liked reading about Hershey and thanks for the book recommendation too. Is it something that you can usually find in a used bookstore?


      • Robin Riley says:

        Dimensions. Space, Shape and Scale in Architecture by Charles Moore and Gerald Allen (1976) is still available at Amazon. Type in “Santa Barbara County Courthouse” into Google Maps search box and enjoy a photo tour of the building and grounds…..


  14. Gwen Gordon says:

    Hi Shari, I took your Urban Sketching at Madeline Island last year. Was on a road trip this April and saw your Santa Barbara class, but didn’t get signed up in time. Great painting of the Courthouse.


  15. Northern Traveller says:

    Lovely atmospheric painting.


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