Instructional videos

You can find all my online classes on my brand new teaching website: Blaukopf Online Learning. I’ll be adding classes often, some filmed in studio and others on-location. I’ve been wanting to create my own content for quite some time, so it’s a thrill to be launching this new venture. If you have a sketching topic that you’d like to tackle, or if you have questions, just drop me a line at The first few courses on my site come directly from student requests.

The Broken Mill

My newest class “The Broken Mill” was filmed entirely on location, in Pointe Claire Village, with the soundtrack of red-winged blackbirds and in the company of many bugs and the occasional dog walker.

What excites me about this course is that I get to share everything I love about urban sketching, taking you along with me as I compose the scene, share the story of what inspires me about the location, and show you how I plan and sketch (in ink and watercolour) the windmill from start to finish. I also get to finally show you my full compact plein air setup that I take with me on daily sketch outings. In fact, this course is as close as I can get to the experience of an in-person workshop these days!

You’ll learn about: 

  • Plein Air Sketching Tools: My own take on a compact, transportable sketching kit
  • Narrative: Choosing a subject that tells a story
  • Good Planning: Creating a values thumbnail to establish composition, along with lights and darks
  • Preliminary sketch: Using rough pencil lines to block in shapes and composition
  • Ink and wash: Combining ink and wash to create a lively under-structure
  • Shadows: Using shadows to add volume to your subject
  • Darks: Finishing with details that “finish” your sketch

Along the way, you’ll also see how I deal with changing light, and how I mix colours on my palette for stone, sky and trees.

“The Broken Mill” includes:

  • Eight video demos
  • A downloadable reference image
  • A full list of materials for my plein air sketching setup

Since launching my online school, I’ve been sharing my skills and joy for watercolour sketching with more people than ever. Now, I’m making it even easier for you to get on board.

The Thrifty Sketcher’s Trio combines three of my full-length courses at 20% OFF the regular price. It includes:

·      “Sketching Structure in the Garden with Watercolour and Ink”

·      “Light, Colour, Shadow: The Essential Triad for Watercolour Painting,” and

·      “Still, Rushing, Falling Water”

In each simple-to-follow online course, I’ll teach you how to: 

·      “See” what’s important in the scene in front of you

·      Simplify that into a powerful composition

·      And transform it into a lively sketch or painting

You’ll listen in as I make critical decisions, sketch the scene in pencil or pen, and then pick up my brushes to apply a lifetime of watercolour painting techniques to make it all come alive. 

One low price. Years of learning.

Best of all, each course is yours to watch as often as you like. You can paint along with me. Pause, go back and re-watch any section. And refresh your skills year after year. 

If you love learning as much as I enjoy teaching, the Thrifty Sketcher’s Trio may be right for you.

Still, Rushing, Falling Water

Being outdoors and painting water — whether the water is still, rushing or falling — fills me with utter joy. 

I’m happiest sitting on the edge of a lake, pond or stream, maybe on a beach or next to waterfalls, sketchbook in hand and brushes at the ready.

On a windless day, there’s a beautiful serenity to the reflections in a mirror-still lake. In early spring, there’s nothing more exciting than creating the illusion of movement and waves in rushing water. And I love the challenge of trying to simplify the shapes of falling water with the fewest, well-placed strokes.

In Still, Rushing, Falling Water, we’ll capture the essence of what I love about each of these scenes. Yes, water can be a challenging subject. But I’ll take you through the simple steps I use when sketching on location with ink and watercolour. You’ll find that I simplify the process, and make it manageable, as we tackle three different water scenes. 

If you love to sketch in watercolour and want to feel confident painting bold and fresh water scenes, this course is for you. You’ll learn about:

  • Edges: How to use the right brush at the right time to get the best edge on falling water
  • Wetness: It’s all about knowing when to have a dripping wet brush for waves or a dry one for texture
  • Reflections: These are simpler than you think — especially once you see how I paint them wet-in-wet
  • Colour Saturation: The freshest results come from getting the right amount of pigment on your brush the first time. Put it down and leave it alone! 
  • Simplification: Once you understand how water and reflections can be simplified in watercolour, the techniques can be applied to any scene, from puddles in the street to waves on the ocean

This course includes:

  • Three full-length video demonstrations plus a brush technique exercise
  • Downloadable reference images
  • A full list of materials

Light, Colour, Shadow: The Essential Triad for Watercolour Sketching

Light, colour and shadow are the three essential elements for creating an exciting watercolour sketch. That’s why it’s always a good day for me when the sun is out. Because sunlight gives form, volume and contrast to every object, and makes every scene more vibrant and alive.

In Light, Colour, Shadow: The Essential Triad for Watercolour Sketching, we’ll go through all the steps I use when I’m sketching on location on a sunny day. I’ll start by analyzing some sunlit scenes from my sketchbooks. Then we’ll paint shadow patterns on various wall surfaces. From there we’ll move on to how light and shadow look on three-dimensional urban subjects. And finally we’ll paint a full scene in sun, using some of the techniques we learned in previous exercises to create a sparkling sketch.

I’ll give you the same reference images as I’m using, so you’ll be able to draw and paint right along. I’ll also share my favourite mixes for bright and fresh shadow colours. And when you’re done, you’ll feel confident going out on a sunny day to sketch your own lively scene. 

If you love to sketch in watercolour and want to infuse your scenes with light and colour, this course is for you. In this class you’ll learn:

  • How to use lights and darks effectively to make sunlit scenes come alive
  • How to use shadows to give form to subjects
  • The best colour mixes for subjects in sun and in shade
  • How to mix your own glowing shadow colours rather than using diluted blacks or pre-mixed greys
  • The most effective water-to-pigment ratio for painting shadows

This course includes:

  • Seven full-length video demonstrations that illustrate key concepts
  • Downloadable reference images
  • A full list of materials

Sketching Structure in the Garden

A new online sketching and painting course

I love sketching in gardens. But it’s always more fun when the garden is complex and lively. Maybe just a little bit wild. 

In Sketching Structure in the Garden, we’ll go through all the steps I use when I’m sketching on location, with ink and watercolour. I’ll start by analyzing what makes a composition interesting. We’ll map out the sketch in pencil. Add lively ink lines. And paint on fresh and bright watercolour washes to complete our sketch.

I’ll give you the same reference image as I’m using, so you’ll be able to draw and paint right along. I’ll show you how I mix the brightest colours for flowers. Then I’ll share my favourite mixes for painting trees and shrubs. And give you proven technique for creating luminous greys. When you’re done, you’ll feel confident going out into any garden setting to sketch your own lively scene. 

If you love to sketch in watercolour and want to add more colour and freshness to your work, this course is for you. In this class you’ll learn:

  • How to analyze a scene and create a dynamic composition
  • The best method for painting a wet-in-wet sky
  • Eight tested and proven recipes for more varied foliage colours
  • Colour mixing techniques for brights and neutrals that you can apply to all your sketches
  • How to use darks effectively to make impactful sketches

This course includes:

  • Full-length video demonstrations
  • A downloadable reference image
  • A full list of materials

What people are saying

One of the best online classes I’ve seen. Well organized, clear and articulate. Beautifully done by a terrific teacher and wonderful artist. — WAYNE BISSKY

I just finished watching Shari Blaukopf’s online course, “Sketching Structure in the Garden”. Beautifully broken down and explained, with lots to think about and try, but presented simply so it’s never overwhelming. I particularly loved hearing her talk through her thoughts on Luminous Greys for shadows and Mixing Greens, and I’m inspired to pull out my paints and play with mixes NOW. — SUHITA SHIRODKAR

Great class! I binge-watched it all and have learned lots. It’s the little comments you make that provide helpful hints. Love the way you add a bit to the colour every time you dip back into the paint. It’s an awesome tip. — LEONIE MCLAREN

47 Comments on “Instructional videos”

  1. […] so skipped ahead a bit to complete the foreground. The course is great so far and if you follow the link from her blog post then you can get a discount so I did. I hope to learn about composition and values in landscapes to […]


  2. Heather says:

    Hi Shari, I’m working through your class on Craftsy and would love for you to explain how many different paintings of the flat irons you did. It looks like there are 2 different paintings above and yet another in the Textures video. It would be great if you can keep a thumbnail of the inspiration photo in view in the video so we can see how you are interpreting and selecting what to paint and what not to paint. I love your work! Thanks for teaching!!


    • Hi Heather. Thanks for registering for the class. When preparing for the course, I painted the Flatirons several times in different stages. Once with the sky, once with sky and mountains. Once with sky, mountains and foreground, etc. It’s a bit like a cooking show. You have to have the turkey cooked at different stages before you film. As for the final production, that is really up to the editors at Craftsy. They do all the insets, etc. I have asked for the reference photos to be included with the course materials so maybe that will help you. Glad you like the work!


  3. holmar58 says:

    Hi Sheri,
    I just signed up for your Craftsy class, I’m enjoying the class so much. I was born in Montreal and love seeing your wonderful, amazing sketches of my old hometown!


  4. lridolfi says:

    Hi Shari, I am enjoying the class and wondering if you plan to do one that focuses more on urban sketching. I would love to see how you draw some of the scenes featured in you blog.


    • Hi Lisa,
      Thanks for writing. Yes, I am planning on doing another class that focuses more on urban sketching. Watch for the announcement on the blog, hopefully in the next few months.


  5. Faith says:

    Hi Shari, I just completed your class on Craftsy. I started sketching 6 months ago – was so surprised to see that I can draw. I’ve done mostly buildings in the small town where I live. We are going on an Alaskan crusie(tomorrow) and I needed and got help from your class. I’ll be practicing all the things you taught in the class as I attempt to journal and sketch the trip. Your class was outstanding. Thanks so much. Looking forward to your next class.


    • Hi Faith,
      I’m so glad you liked the class and found it useful. I hope you sketch a lot on your cruise and we get to see some work on the Projects area of Craftsy. Have a wonderful time. As for doing another class, I hope to do one too!!


  6. Lynn Holbein says:

    I am loving your online class. So many great features, and excellent instruction. I hope there’s an “urban sketching class” in your future! Can’t wait to see you paint buildings in perspective, figures and more. And I love your book “Mostly Montreal,” which arrived two days ago!


  7. Nadine Acker says:

    Hi Shari,

    I am buying gifts for some refugees. One of them is a 12 year old boy who asked for a ‘sketch book with pictures on one side and a blank page on the other side so he can try to copy the picture, and some pencils & markers.” Do you have any ideas? Your sketches are fantastic, and I would love to buy him your online course, but I’m not positive he has internet access. I want to foster his talent and make his holidays wonderful.


    • HI Nadine, What a great idea! I think you should just print some sketches (feel free to use some of mine) and bind them yourself in a book with blank pages (and some good paper) on the other side. I bet he would love that. Of course if he has internet access there are so many great courses out there, not just mine, that he might appreciate. Regards,


  8. Nadine Acker says:

    Fantastic! I will do that. He’s going to love it. Thanks so much Shari!


  9. Martina says:

    Hi Shari, Are these courses independent from each other or would you recommend to do the landscape course first? Thanks! Martina


  10. AGNES says:


    I follow your work for a long time and I love very very much your work.
    I would like to know if your instructional videos have English subtitles : I am french, I understand English if I read it, but when a people is speaking, sometimes I don’t understand.
    So before buying your 2 videos, please tell me if there are subtitles ; I didn’t find where to ask it to Crafsty.
    Thanks for your answer, best success for your watercolor paintings.


  11. Hi Shari, I just discovered your blog after signing up for your landscape class on Craftsy. I found your simplified approach to the value sketches to be very helpful and you blog is wonderful. I will have to try your city class next. I am trying to get back to my regular sketching practice after a few months absence and feel so rusty, especially with the watercolor. My biggest challenges seem to center on simplification, keeping my whites and creating clean washes. Your examples really resonate with me for that reason. Thank you!


  12. Jacqueline says:

    Hi Shari, I discovered craftsy then your classes then you blog . I love so much the way you teach ! I am French but your English is perfect for me and I don’t miss a thing.
    I did not find the way to post, but it does not matter because I am new in watercolor and these small watercolors are far from perfect. I am going to work a lot on my drawings and follow your blog as much as I can. Thank you for being so talented and sharing your knowledge with us.


  13. Mayela Lameda-Lyver says:

    Hi Shari,
    I just purchased your Craftsy class “Sketching Landscapes” and look forward to start playing/learning this weekend. I love you r work and would love to attend one of your workshops. Could you please add me to your mailing list?


  14. Monica Knowles says:

    Shari, I was interested in taking your on line city sketching course. I was given a link for cyber Monday to use. I seem to remember the cost of the course was reduced to 20.00 odd dollars. The link is not working of me and the course is now 50.00 odd dollars. I was under the impression I could use the link any time. Is there any way around this. Thanks Monica.


  15. Monica Knowles says:

    Thank you Shari, I just purchased it and am looking forward to doing it over the holidays. Thanks.


  16. Iris Evans says:

    Thanks for sharing this! I recently graduated college with a BA in Art. I emphasize in painting with watercolor and mixed media. Just seeing your videos inspired me to continue what I’m doing since I got a little sidetracked by going into another profession. If you don’t mind sharing, I’d love to know more about you and your art career. As a college graduate I don’t know what am I doing sometimes and I am in much need of a little push in the right direction 🙂


  17. arlynab says:

    Hi Shari! I registered for both classes and loving the landscape one! Have to start on the cityscape one soon.

    I wonder if you can have a blogpost or class about painting snow scenes. I’ve been following your blog and captivated by the sketches you’ve done with snow…

    Thank you!


    • HI. I’m so glad you’re loving the classes. Thanks for letting me know! I will try to do a blogpost about painting snow. We sure have enough of it this winter! Thanks for writing.


      • mayelalameda says:

        Everybody wants to learn how to make those lovely shadows, Shari. Thank you for keeping me in the loop. I look forward to reading your blogpost. Too bad it will be summer for the USK symposium in Porto, otherwise that would be a popular workshop… ocean waves, maybe?



        Sent from my iPad



  18. TucsonTom says:

    I have both of them on Craftsy and would like more from you. Your style is outstanding. Liron Yanconsky did a nice review of your work on youtube.


  19. Diana Dell says:

    Hi Shari, I’m enrolled in the Craftsy landscape course but have a question. I can’t find any downloadable photos of the landscapes. Are we meant to follow along or use our own photos ?
    Thank you.


  20. Jane Guest says:

    Shari, I absolutely love your work which I have just discovered.
    Please let me know if any Montreal workshop or plein air classes u r offering this summer or fall winter.
    Thank you
    Jane Guest from Senneville


    • HI Jane,
      I am adding you to my mailing list. I have your email address from this comment so I will add it and you will receive notifications.


      • Jane Guest says:

        Looking forward to hearing from you re a day workshop in Montreal hopefully soon. I would like to treat myself for my upcoming big birthday!
        Thank you


  21. Liz Lystra says:

    Loved the class and have started following your blog.


  22. Doris Wood says:

    I signed up for the Garden class but my email and password don’t work! Ready to go on friends’ recommendation. Help!


    • Hi Doris,

      Thanks for emailing.

      I have had a few other people have this problem. Here are a few suggestions for you to try.

      1. It could be the web browser you are using. If you are using Safari, try switching to Chrome.
      2. Log out of the site and log back in again.
      3. Switch your device. If you are using a computer, and you have an iPad, try that.

      If none of these options work, please let me know and I will contact Customer Service.

      Many thanks for enrolling in the course.


  23. Chris kopet says:

    Loved the garden class! The benefits of video for me were: the ability to watch a segment in full and then go back and stop the film so I could practice, watch a lesson more than once, take what I learned and apply it to my own photos. I had a great time and anxiously await the next class. Really fun and useful. Thank you


  24. Kathy Mills says:

    I love both your classes! You’re a great teacher and I have learned so much in both of them. Thank you! If you are thinking about creating more online classes, can I suggest you teach how to paint water in watercolor? You do that so beautifully.


    • Hi Kathy, Thanks so much for writing! So glad to hear that you are enjoying the classes. Guess what?? The water class is almost done and should be out within the week! I’m very excite because so many people have been asking about this one. Shari


  25. Sara J Tarr says:

    I wish I could figure out how to post my interpretation of the “schoolhouse in the garden”. I enjoyed the color mixing parts of the class. I know you’ve been in Seattle and were in a class of Tom Hoffmann. Love that man…. please let me know if you have a spot to post. Thanks, Sara


    • HI Sara, Thanks for writing. I saw your schoolhouse on my FB page. Thanks for sharing it. There isn’t really a place to post but if you are on Instagram and you tag me, then I will certainly see it. As for Tom Hoffmann, he’s amazing. Such a kind and generous teacher. I wish he lived closer so I could take more classes with him!


  26. Marie-Catherine Vigneron says:

    Hi Shari , I love your work and I have really enjoyed and learned so much from your two Craftsy courses. I have bought your new Sketching Structure in the garden on april 15th, and I now want to buy the other ones, “light color shadow” and “water”. I see that you now sell a bundle with these 3 courses, how could I pay the price of the bundle for the 3 courses, though I have bought the first one too early ?
    Have a good day!


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