Green trim

In between two sessions of teaching in Santa Fe we did a couple of road trips outside the city. One day we visited Ghost Ranch, and the next day we took a drive along the Turquoise Trail, a historic byway between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. We stopped in a few small towns including Cerrillos and Madrid. If you’ve taken this route, you may know that Madrid was a coal mining settlement back in the 1800s, but now it’s quite a colourful place, with lots of small shops, bars and galleries, and a parade of tourists visiting for the day.

When we stopped for coffee, I did a sketch of a courtyard from the patio where we were seated, but when we got up to leave I saw this abandoned property next door which looked far more interesting than what I had sketched. I took a photo and painted it in studio today. When I look at the reference photo, I can hardly discern any colour in the scene. Every bit of anything, whether man-made or natural, was dried, desiccated, rusted, cracked, corroded, peeling or shrivelled, except for the bright green trim of the peaked roof. It didn’t seem like it really belonged in a town where everything has been prettied up, but that’s what made it, by far, the most interesting scene to paint. Painted on a sheet of Arches CP 140lb, 16″ x 20″.

29 Comments on “Green trim”

  1. Bernadette says:

    Lovely, lovely painting. I like the variety of greens of the left side trees, the green trim of the roof and the patches and sections of green popping up in the dessert like yard. And I especially like the shadows falling on the porch roof….excellent!!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. lois says:

    Shari–this is beautiful! I agree with Bernadette–the shadows on the porch roof are excellent.


  3. Carmen Daugherty says:

    That is just beautiful, Shari! I’d be interested to know if you have any tips for painting from photos. I often take photos when I don’t have time to sketch, but I rarely ever do paintings of them.


    • Thanks Carmen!
      It took me a long time to get comfortable painting from photos.
      I guess the first thing to do is a value sketch. That always helps me, and I did one for this painting, in pencil.
      It also helped that the reference image was a study in values, not colour, so I could do some interpretation of my own with colour.
      After you do the value sketch, if you can paint from that instead of painting from the photo, that will help. You need to use the photo as inspiration. So try to capture the scene in broad shapes of colour and value. And then use the photo for the details. That is what I did.
      Also, I spent quite a bit of time on the drawing. That always helps me get a better painting result.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Denise says:

    This definitely looks like something that would be fun and interesting to paint. You certainly have an artist’s eye for subject matter!


  5. Erik Walton says:

    Outstanding color as always! I agree with Bernadette: fantastic shadows. Did you use indigo in the shadow mix?


    • Thanks so much Erik. No, there is no indigo on my palette. I just used my regular colours, mostly Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Cobalt Blue, Lavender and Chromium Oxide Green.


      • Erik Walton says:

        I have your book & should have known! Your book & work have inspired me to learn to carry fewer colors and learn to mix more. Your Sketching the City class on craftsy is really great. Thanks for all your great work and content!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Christine says:

    Absolutely marvellous!

    Sent from my iPad



  7. De says:

    Shari, we visit Madrid every time we’re in Santa Fe and eat at the Hollar. Are you familiar with the movie Wild Hogs? Part of it was made there. I kept hoping you’d go there. I have many photos of this shack over the years. You gave it a great “face lift”. Or maybe it’s been tended to since we were there 2 years ago. Great painting!


  8. Ruth Johnson says:

    A vibrant and interesting painting.. You captured my imagination with all your colourful touches and fun items strewn around the old building! I keep wanting to look harder into your picture and find a treasure and have a visit!


  9. I think the fact that this was so run-down compared to the rest of the town made it that much more attractive. I enjoy sketching places like this so I would have been attracted to it too. You captured its beauty.


  10. Virginia Newman says:



  11. Alison Hall says:

    Oh my! This is a wonderful painting. So evocative. Such engaging atmosphere!


  12. Nice painting of the house, it looks like it would also work for some spooky night paintings as well. I really like the shades of green and orange you added to the background vegitation!!!


  13. Ahh, “Ghost Ranch” of course it would be good for em “Spooky night paintings”


  14. Valérie Pelletier says:

    Very impressing, such a peaceful and rich atmosphere, and fresh colors


  15. Donna says:

    I was in Madrid many years ago before the tourists found it. The museum was not open and it was really quiet. I gasped at your painting because I did one of that porch area back then!! It looks like the same place. So many interesting places out west. I want to know their stories.


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