Posted in painting

Structure in the Garden

This blog is about my first watercolor on-line tutorial from Shari Blaukopf. She is a Montreal-based artist who specializes in urban sketching. First let me say, I enjoyed it. The reference photo is of a barn wood clad schoolhouse relocated to an urban garden somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.

My first challenge was to draw and ink the essential lines of the image. I took my time over this step, since it is critical in setting up the rest of the painting.

By the way, I’m working on Arches cold-press watercolor paper for the first time. This premier paper is much beloved by watercolorists.

Next I completed the preliminary washes for the sky, building and flowers.

After letting these dry thoroughly, I went to work on the shrubbery and trees. Shari gave instructions on how to mix eight different greens using various blue and yellow paint. This part was really hard for me, partly because I didn’t have all of the paints that she used in her mixes. I had to substitute.

To me, the various green areas look like they don’t belong together.

I let the paper dry for almost a week before I got around to adding the final details. First the lawn went in, then dark green for underpainting the brighter greens. The barn wood got more shading before all final details were added using a small round brush. After drying, I dabbed some white opaque paint onto the flowers to give a little sparkle to the scene. Here is my finished painting.

This is the first time I successfully painted a mass of foliage. I also learned how to paint a lawn and the order to use in painting flowering plants. I’m betting that I will use these techniques in many future paintings.

Shari Blaukopf’s blog is found here:


One of six children, I was raised by a busy mom, who instilled in me a love of fabric. Though I learned to sew and knit at a young age, it was the arrival of my first grandchild that pushed me into action. A long-time knitter, I am now ready to explore all things fiber.

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