Monday, November 9, 2009

Twenty-five Years Ago....

This 12 x 24 inch acrylic painting of a killdeer goes back to 1985, the year I graduated from college. I had just earned a B.F.A. from the Kansas City Art Intstitute and was just starting out as a professional wildlife artist. I remember this painting taking me forever to finish with all the vegetation. It wouldn't take me nearly as long to paint something similar now. I guess that means I've learned a bit about painting through the years! It belongs to a nice lady who, last I heard, lives in California somewhere. This image was scanned from an old slide.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

My Federal Duck Stamp Entry

This is the painting I entered in the duck stamp contest. Although I didn't win, it feels good to have been a part of such a competition. I hope to enter again next year. This painting is in acrylic, 7 x 10 inches, a drake wood duck.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Mural Mosaic Progress Post #8 Finished!

It's finished and on it's way to Alberta, Canada! Be sure to check out the mural at My panel is #147.
This was a challenging project and lots of fun. I learned quite a bit about my working methods that I wasn't conscious of, by having to paint on top of an abstract design. The detail is about actual size. The panel is 12x12 inches, acrylic on hardboard. I've titled it "Surf's Up!"

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mural Mosaic Progress Post # 6

Step 6: More detail on the water and a little more refinement of the duck. I've changed the waterline on the duck so he seems more like he's in the water. Check back for more soon. This painting has a tight deadline and I am pushing to finish it pronto!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mural Mosaic Progress Post #5

Step 4: More refinement and starting to pick out shapes in the rocks. I"ve also added a bit more shading and lighting to the duck.

Step 5: Getting into the fun part - detail! I've put quite a bit of work into the rocks and started to define the water. I have a long way to go but it is starting to look like something. The blue shape at the bottom is strange, but is part of the design for the mural, so I must work hard to retain it and make it look like a reflection of the sky. Katelyn's hampster idea would've been a whole lot easier!
Found out that the mural project will be the subject of a documentary during the Olympics!
See the active grid of the mural as it comes together:

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mural Mosaic Progress Post #4

Step 3: Now I'm starting to work out how the water and rocks will look. This is a challenge because I am pretty much winging it, needing to conform to the tones and shape of the predetermined design. I am depending on memory and past experience observing and painting surf. As I post the stages of this project, you'll notice the colors shifting. Much of that will be due to the various light conditions present when I take photos of the art in progress. The first two stages were photographed outside and this stage inside at night. I will be sure to post the finished art as close to actual color as I can manage! Be sure to check out the active grid of the mural to see how it's shaping up. Can you guess what the image will be? I sure can't yet!

Active grid:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mural Mosaic Progress Post #3

Step 1: Here is our duckie now in his native surf habitat. I've painted him in pretty quickly and as you can see, it will take a few layers of paint to cover up the background showing through him. Oh, this is acrylic by the way.
Step 2: Here he is after a bit more paint, starting to give him some dimension. I will probably paint on him a little more and then work on the water and rocks. I typically work on the whole painting, bringing all the elements together in stages. Some artists do the subject to completion and then do the background, or visa versa. My paintings tend to be a mess until the very last stages.
I haven't done anything to the background yet. It appears darker because of the changing daylight between photos. Keeping the overall purple-ness of the panel will be a challenge!

Mural Mosaic Progress Post #2

Harlequins! One of the most beautiful ducks in our Lord's waterfowl collection! I haven't painted one in years so this will be a treat.

First I gathered some reference, not the best photos but they'll have to do.

Some drawings from my sketchbooks, all done from life.

Sketches by Shari Erickson
I then did a quick rough sketch:

I cleaned it up and came up with a final sketch

This sketch I transfered onto the panel.

Mural Mosaic Progress Post #1

A mural mosaic is a very large work of art made up of many individual paintings, which when arranged together, form an image. This project, The West Coast Mural Kunamokst, is a compilation of 231 separate pieces of art by over a hundred different artists. Each piece will depict an image in keeping with the west coast theme. None of the artists know what the finished mural will look like (except it's designers of course)! Konamokst will be 11 feet high and 21 feet long when it is complete. There is an active grid of the mural, with updates of finished panels being added at

I am very excited to be one of the artists involved in the creation of Kunamokst. It is an honor to be among such a wonderful group of talented painters.

Below is the panel assigned to me - panel #147. It arrived as a one foot square piece of hardboard with an absract splash of color painted on it complete with "up" arrow. I am to come up with a design that retains the color and tonal aspects of the panel, covering up all the original surface with my own painting.

So, what to paint? I stared at it for a while. Talked with my niece about it, who suggested a hampster riding a sandpiper. Yup, you read that right...Gazed at it some more. Drew up a few sketches, none of which did a thing to inspire me. Then, in the wee hours of the morning, I woke up with an image in my head: a harlequin duck in surf! I love harlequins and have seen many in the surf around jetties and headlands. A very west coast duck for sure! Look closely at the panel. Can you see a duck in there?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What's up update

The sketch above is a detail from a work in progress for the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.
It will end up as a pencil and watercolor painting for an interpretive sign at the refuge. After this project is complete, I will be doing a painting for the West Coast Mural which is part of the Mural Mosaic project. It's really cool! Check it out at

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sunny Forest Mini Painting

Landscape painting by Shari Erickson Here is another view of our back woods. The snow is all gone and everything is green and fresh. A beautiful day for praise and thanksgiving! This was painted yesterday en plein air in Golden Open Acrylics, 2.5 x 3.5 inches.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Snowy Forest Mini Painting

Landscape Painting by Shari Erickson This is the view off our back deck last winter when it had snowed way more than usual. It is 2.5 x 3.5 inches, Golden open Acrylics.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Gerber Daisies Mini Painting

Flower painting by Shari Erickson This is a nice bunch of Gerbers resulting from a weekly drawing event at It is 2.5 x 3.5 inches (ACEO sized) in Golden Open Acrylics. Happy Spring!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Mt. St. Helens Mini Painting

Landscape Painting by Oregon Artist Shari Erickson
This one was fun to do. Lots of golds and blues and bouncing light. It is 2.5 x 3.5 inches, ACEO sized, in Golden Open Acrylics.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Mossy Rock Mini Painting

Painting by artist Shari Erickson Another from the landscape challenge at This one is ACEO sized - 3.5 x 2.5 inches in Golden Open Acrylics.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Red Tree on the Wenatchee Mini Painting

Landscape painting by artist Shari Erickson
This is the result of the April landscape challenge at where everyone paints from a few selected references and then we all enjoy the results. It's a lot of fun and very inspiring. This little painting is 2.5 x 3.5 inches in Golden Open Acrylics. It was a difficult one for me and took a bit more time than others I've painted in this size.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Misty Glade Mini Painting

Misty Glade painting by Shari Erickson This painting is of a forest on the Pacific coast near the ocean where it is often misty. I love the way moss looks on trees with the sun shining through. Over the years, it has become a common theme in my paintings. This little painting is 2.5 x 3.5 inches, ACEO sized, in Golden Open Acrylics.

Monday, April 6, 2009

What's old Is New Again

Landscape painting by Shari Erickson Unfinished Landscape
8 x 10 Gouache

While cleaning out my studio, I discovered this little unfinished plein aire painting. I don't remember where or when it was painted, but I do remember that I wasn't happy with it and gave up on it. Ordinarily I would have tightened it up quite a bit before calling it finished. It is interesting to me to see the brush strokes and the roughness of it. I actually like it now, maybe because the negative feelings I had towards it have long since faded and I can just enjoy it for what it is.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mini Landscape

Landscape painting by Shari Erickson
This little painting is 2.5 x 3.5 inches, ACEO sized in Golden Open Acrylics. I am longing for some weather like this! Soon I hope!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hummers are back!

Rufus Hummingbird photo by Shari Erickson
The Rufus Hummingbirds have returned from their winter haunts, which means it's Spring! Later, when they are at their peak numbers, we will have over two dozen at the feeders. We go through lots of sugar! Hummers are one of God's most dazzling little miracles, in my opinion!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Percheron Horse Portrait

Percheron by equine artist Shari Erickson This painting is part of the breed a week project at The Percheron is a majestic breed of draft horse from France. They are usually grey or black. This piece is in Golden Open Acrylics and is 4.25 x 4.25 inches.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Lake Sunset Mini Painting

Lake sunset painting by artist Shari Erickson
This is another little painting resulting from the weekly event. It is ACEO sized - 2.5 x 3.5 inches, in Golden Open Acrylics.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Old Barn and Truck Mini Painting

Old Barn painting by Shari Erickson
Truck Detail by Shari Erickson
This is a painting done for the WDE at The host of the event asked us to include a crop of the imgae as well. The painting is 2.5 x 3.5 inches (ACEO sized), in Golden Open Acrylics. The crop of the truck is much larger than actual size. Pretty interesting exercise!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Snowy Landscape and Arab Portrait Paintings

Plein Aire Landscape by Artist Shari Erickson
Arab Horse Portrait by Equine Artist Shari Erickson

The snowy landscape, 2.5 x 3.5 inches, was painted en plein aire during a recent snow storm. The Arab, 4.25 x 4.25 inches, is the result of my participation in A Breed a Week art project on the equine art forum at Both are in Golden Open Acrylics.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Przewalski's Horse

Przewalski's Horse by equine artist Shari Erickson
This painting was done for a project at The project is to paint a different horse breed every week for a year. The host of the project names a horse breed each Monday and everyone involved paints and draws and posts their results. This is the first week of the project. I hope to do more breeds as inspiration strikes. This painting is a little over 4 inches square, Golden Open Acrylics on coldpressed ragboard.
The Przewalski's Horse is an endangered species recently reintroduced into the wild after a captive breeding program was set up to save it from extinction. Also known as the Asiatic Wild Horse, this species is the only remaining true wild horse, never having been domesticated. The four hundred in the wild today are living in a nature preserve in Mongolia. It is sad when one of God's creations is gone, and wonderful when one such on the edge of extinction can be saved and appreciated.