Shades of grey

There’s been no sun in Montreal for many days. We had rain and a big thaw on the weekend, and what’s left of the snow is mostly piles of greyish ice. Not very pretty to draw, but I really wanted to do some car sketching so I went out anyway.

On days like this I circle around in my car, waiting for something to catch my eye. Sometimes I stop at three or four places until I find the right spot. It’s not easy to get excited by the monochrome landscape. There’s hardly any colour and no shadows. The only thing I can hope for is some contrast, which I finally found down by the lake. The breakwater at the Pointe Claire Yacht Club is a subject I’ve painted often in the summer, and sometimes in the fall. I love the pile of rocks, the scraggly trees, and the view of Mount Royal and the Oratory in the distance.

Today this scene had two things that made it interesting as a subject: contrast and reflections. Those remnants of ice at the edge of the water, set against the dark rocks, gave me the bits of light that I always love to include in a focal point. And it’s not often that I get to paint reflections and moving water in winter, but on this warm day it was a treat trying to capture this scene with ink pen and diluted ink washes.

22 Comments on “Shades of grey”

  1. yvonnefcarpentergmailcom says:

    Wow! You can do so much with so little! The saying is so true: it is not the tool, but the hand!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A pretty scene indeed, even on this glum day. Thank you for finding it and sketching it.



    Liked by 1 person

  3. IRENE Reinhold says:

    Still a fabulous image I actually like these rainy misty days. ( Not as much as good weather ) but they hold mystery. Here in Hamilton it’s supposed to stay rainy for the rest of the week. So I am hoping to get to your water rocks course. Always amazes me how much time everything takes…


  4. Great! Your work reminds me of one of my favorite wc artists, John Yardley.


  5. Linda Uphus says:

    WOW ! Beautifully done. Pretty gray here in Washington state too! You have inspired me to car paint during these dull days. Did you start or end with fine lines? Do you have a recipe for “gray “ in the winter?


  6. Ginny says:

    Shari, I absolutely love this! The monochrome shades work so well in this scene. What ink did you choose?
    This really is lovely! Thanks!


  7. Mireya says:

    All that rain means spring is going to be beautiful!


  8. ccr1ccr2 says:

    I need to do monochrome tonal sketches! On a practical note, Shari, how do you use diluted inks when drawing outdoors? Do you fill waterbrushes with various strength pre-diluted ink?


  9. Mary Marple says:

    Neat, looks like you enjoyed the challenge and I have never used watered -down inks. I need to try doing stuff with all my equipment I seemed to accumulate over time. Thanks for your inspiration.


  10. Maureen says:

    You’re the only person I know that can find beauty in a dull grey day!


  11. Nice painting of the tree, yes it has been awfuly grey. I think its been 9 Days since I’ve really seen the sun. I really like how you used monotone grey in this, and also your inclusion of the pen lines.


  12. Linda Hackett says:

    Lovely monochrome landscape Shari.
    I have a question regarding the “desk pen”
    You have used in your classes( Sketching Markets). I love fine line pens and this nib is very nice but the ink cartridges I ordered are filled with water soluble ink. Do you fill yours with DA Document ink, and if so how? This sketch looks as if the pen work is with non water soluble ink unless you added the lines last after the washes were dry? Thanks


  13. Uma Maheswar Nakka says:

    Good Evening dear friend Shari,
    Excellent work as usual.



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