Montana reflections

When an opportunity to teach a workshop in Montana’s Paradise Valley was presented to me several years ago, I couldn’t say no. I’ve always wanted to visit that scenic state. Of course the original week was in 2020, but when things opened up recently the offer was made again and I said yes for the second time. I’m sure glad I did. Picture a wide valley, over fifty miles long, with the Yellowstone River winding through the middle of it. The Absaroka Range is on the east side and the Gallatin Range on the west. If the setting of the movie A River Runs Through It comes to mind, you’ve got it. We spotted mule deer and osprey every day, and enjoyed sunrise and sunset looking up at Emigrant Peak. We even made the drive to Gardiner to see the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park, and despite the fact that the road was closed due to the recent floods, I still felt a sense of awe gazing out over the grassy plains and the Roosevelt Arch. The valley was as beautiful as I had imagined it.

We spent the first day of the workshop on the property (a private residence) and sketched the views around the pond. It was a windless day so I had to invent a little movement in the water, but the lesson was mostly about reflections and using one of my favourite limited palettes (Hansa Yellow, Alizarin Crimson and Ultramarine Blue). My only regret is that I didn’t get to add in the deer that appeared in the distance to watch us, but my sketch was done by that time. I’ll post more of my Montana sketches in the next few days. This one was done in my Etchr A4 Sketchbook.

18 Comments on “Montana reflections”

  1. Laura Kate says:

    Gorgeous greens. I look forward to seeing more of Montana.


  2. ML Roush says:

    What a wonderful opportunity and experience! Would absolutely LOVE it. And I LOVE this sketch. Looking forward to more!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dory Rice says:

    Wonderful painting from just 3 colors! I have discovered that Winsor Newton and Daniel Smith use different pigments for their Permanent Alizerin Crimson. I assume this could affect mixing them. Do you have a favorite brand for these 3 paints? Thank you!


    • HI Dory. Thanks for having a look. I do have preferences for my pigments. For Ultramarine Blue, I use Winsor & Newton or Holbein. Both are great. For Hansa Yellow, I use Daniel Smith. I also like M. Graham but it is very runny so I only use that one at home. As for Alizarin, I have always used Winsor & Newton.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. jeremc1maccom says:

    Your written description reminded me of a fly fishing trip many years ago
    Then your beautiful painting…the reflections only captured by those who really look and then see
    Thanks shari


  5. I love the tiny reflected white dots – maybe insects, water droplets, etc. I, too, love this valley. I spent time camping near Livingston 20+ summers ago for two weeks.


    • Thanks so much Peggy. I think there were a few insects but that was it. That was not much else that could interrupt that perfection on the water. We also spent a day in Livingston. I LOVED that town.


  6. Denise says:

    A beautiful painting of a beautiful part of the country!


  7. Rita Cleary says:

    Loved your commentary, Shari Montana is a place I’d also like to visit…and sketch/paint!


  8. TonyU says:

    Love the sketch, the triad … and the clever title. Looking forward to seeing more.


  9. Bill Fagan says:

    Nicely done Shari!


  10. Marilyn H says:

    I don’t think you needed the deer in the distance. I love the painting just as it is.
    I’ve always loved your water reflections and need to try your limited palette. Beautiful work as always!


  11. Wonderful rich colors! You make me want to visit there!!


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