Sunday, November 27, 2016

Manarola Harbor Sketch + GIVEAWAY!

I have a week's worth of Italy sketches to share with you, but rather than post them all at once, I thought it might be fun to spread them out over the next seven days and give you seven chances to win some brand spankin' new art supplies for yourself. I'll tell you all about the giveaway in a minute. First, let's look at today's sketch. It's a harbor scene from Manarola, one of the five villages that make up the Cinque Terre...

10" x 7", Ink & watercolor. Ink drawing done with Platinum Carbon desk pen. Handbook Field Watercolor Journal.

I drew this as we were waiting for the ferry boat to arrive and take us on a scenic tour up the coast. My friends and I were lined up, along with at least fifty other tourists, on a narrow rocky path that wound around the cliff at Manarola harbor. I held my breath every time someone tried to squeeze past me, hoping neither one of us would tumble into the water, especially since I was holding my sketchbook!

I only had time for a quickie ink drawing before the ferry arrived, so I painted the sketch back at home. I started with the sky and the distant hills, then gradually moved  into the mid-ground and foreground. For the water, I painted a base wash of light blue (mostly Cobalt & Cerulean), leaving some areas of white for highlights.


After the base wash on the water was dry, I added darker lines with a flat brush to show the movement of the water and the reflections.

I scraped a few extra highlights with an X-acto blade

The boulders in the breakwater were painted with a base of warm Yellow Ochre in the sunny areas and a more muted pale gray in the shade. Glazes of medium and dark values added depth and form to the rocks. A touch of spattering was used to indicate texture.


The cliffs were handled in a similar manner, layering washes and adding detailing at the end.


 And now for our DECEMBER GIVEAWAY...


Enter to win a set of five American Journey Interlocked Synthetic Brushes (a $38.69 value) plus a handy Cheap Joe's Folding Brush Holder (a $14.69 value) to keep them all in, courtesy of the friendly folks at Cheap Joe's Art Stuff.


These are the same brushes I used on my recent trip to Italy. I have the shorter travel version, and they fit nicely in my travel sketch kit. I really enjoyed painting with them in Tuscany - they hold plenty of water, and they're a little springier than my sable brushes. I like that.

Travel brush set in my Katsuwa supply case

To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment on one or all of the seven sketches I'll be posting between November 27 and December 3. Yes, you may enter multiple times! The drawing will be held on December 7, 2016.

Each day I'll ask a question that you can answer in the comments, if you like. It's a good way for us to get to know one another. The first question is...

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Good luck!

70 comments:

  1. I would love to visit so many places. I would like to visit England's Cotswolds and see the homes and gardens.

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    1. The Cotswolds are high on my list, too. I want to sketch the thatched-roof cottages and the gardens. I'm actually looking into doing an England sketching workshop in 2018. :)

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  2. Thank you for a chance to win, but even more for your description of painting the beautiful harbor. #1 on my travel bucket list is Morocco!

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  3. Thank you for the details on this page Leslie. Always nice to hear how you create. If I could go anywhere it would be to an art workshop in Tuscany! Oh wait, I will be doing that next year. My second choice would be the Lake District of England. Maybe a sketching trip?

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    1. Who are you, Anonymous?
      The Lake District is high on my list, too. I'd love a trip that would cover both the Cotswolds and the Lake District. I think I just might pass out from the beauty of it all!

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  4. Thank you for this page Leslie. Always wonderful to see a description of how you work. If I could travel anywhere it would be to an art workshop in Tuscany. Oh wait, I am doing that next year! My second choice would be the Lake District of England.

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  5. Leslie, I love it that you take the time to explain your process in tackling your painting. Thank you so much! I would love to travel pretty much anywhere, but travel isn't an option right now, so I won't even try to narrow it down, I'll just enjoy vicariously living through other's travels. :)

    Thanks for the chance to win!

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Susan. I'm glad you can get some enjoyment from reading about my experiences. Good luck with the giveaway!

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  6. I'd like to stay at the Dancing House Hotel in Prague. Thank you for having such a lovely giveaway

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    1. I had to look it up - the Dancing House Hotel looks incredible. Now I have to add it to my bucket list, too! :)

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  7. My wish is Italy but since it's so large I'd do northern Italy first. The standbys - Florence, Venice and the small cities and towns that surround them. Also Cinque Terre and Portofino. Then, if I had strength, I'd sneak in Rome.

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    1. Great choices! I found Northern Italy to be so different from Tuscany. It's good to experience both. And Portofino and Rome would be amazing, too! We can dream....

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  8. Ha! I could say everywhere but my first choice might be the Bahai Gardens In Haifa, Israel. It is an awesome sight.

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    1. That place looks spectacular, Roxanne. I'm learning about so many beautiful places in these comments. This is fun!

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  9. My anywhere would be England, where my grandmother came from, at 18 yrs of age. Mgmj1949@yahoo.com

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    1. I want to see more of England, too. My mom and I visited Cornwall a year ago, and I hated to leave. Must. Have. More. England. :)

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  10. It's so great the way you describe your techniques--so helpful for watercolor painters like me to try as I sketch and paint on my travels. I want to return to Venice and Florence and also to he Cinqueterre region. Your travel sketches are inspiring.

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    1. I may be teaching a workshop in 2018 in Venice and northern Italy - we're working on it. Wouldn't it be fun to sketch the canals together?

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  11. Italy! Especially want to visit Venice! Love the water!

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    1. It's amazing, isn't it? When I first stepped out of the train station in Venice and saw the bustling canals in front of me, I felt like I had walked into an old movie. Unreal!

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  12. Romania and Hungary or any Eastern European country for the hidden treasures that bound to be there.

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    1. Great idea! I need to look into that area. I know nothing about it, but from the few photos I've seen, it looks beautiful.

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  13. oh Leslie, how sweet of you to have a give-away in this recent somewhat tumultuous time. I am an expatriated Californian and I miss it! I would go to Sonoma County and cover it all--the wonderful coast, the wine country, the lake, the little towns. and then I'd head down hiway 1. that would be a little bit of heaven. bless you!

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  14. Thank you for sharing your beautiful sketch and how you paint it. I would love to go to Bali.

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    1. You're welcome, Lois. I hope you make it to Bali some day!

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    1. You've piqued my interest. I think I need to start reading about the Eastern European countries.

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  16. Love this piece and your generosity in sharing your process. I'm determined to make it to Croatia at least once in my life!

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    1. It looks spectacular! So many places I'd love to see....

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  17. I love your art and you are generous to share lessons with us. If I could go anywhere in the world, I would go to northern India.

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    1. Glad you enjoy my work, Sharon. Good luck with your entry!

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  18. New Zealand!! Love your posts - thank you for the inspiration.

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  19. California stateside & southern Germany/Austria in Europe!

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  20. I enjoy your posts very much, especially when you talk about the process of creating your paintings. I would like to go to Antarctica to see penguins, seals, whales, and icebergs.

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  21. Leslie, you are so generous in sharing the details of your sketches. My dream is to go anywhere where people get along, front porches, able to walk everywhere....Mayberry, USA maybe?

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  22. The United Kingdom-meaning England, Scotland, etc. I'd love to see all those old castles.

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  23. Thank you Leslie for such a fun giveaway! My current travel wish is also the Cotswolds, Dorset and Wales! So many charming villages and the David Austin roses!

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  24. I really enjoy reading about your creative processes. If I could travel anywhere in the world, I think Ireland and Scotland would be my pick. My family has been in this country since the early 1700's and I would love to see where we started.

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    1. It's about time you head back to the homeland for a visit!

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  25. Thanks so much for sharing with us. My first love is Italy! By the way love your posts when you're in my neck of the woods!
    Elaine in Bradenton, FL

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    1. You should sign up for my class in Sarasota in January - we could meet in person! Check the US Workshops tab above for details.

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  26. I would love to start in Maine and work my way down the East coast all the way to Key West. I live on the West coast but am fascinated with the beautiful East coast. Thanks for sharing your talent with us. It is appreciated!

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    1. You're welcome, Sharon, and that sounds like a great idea, to follow the coastline from Maine to Florida.

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  27. HI Leslie -- FOR NOW -- i'll travel anywhere in North America ;-)) need to build up my courage to leave these shores again...but seriously -- id love to spend some time in Banff, Lake Louise , Canada...that water color would be fun to try to capture.
    I am amazed at the texture and shadow you achieved on your rocks! Thanks for the tips, too.

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  28. I love the villages of Cinque Terre, and I would enjoy going back to them.

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  29. My dream is for my husband and I to take a several months long RV trip across the US, with our dogs, aiming for all of the national parks! :)

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    1. That's one of my dreams, too, Deb. Not sure when we'll be able to, since he's still working, but it sure would be fun!

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  30. I love water scenes. In this one I especially enjoy the red fisherman's floats bobbing on the water above his nets. And your blues are very much the same color as those waters. I have never been there, but all my friends who have mention the incredible blue of the water. Lovely work - as always!

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind comments, Deborah.

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  31. Thank you so much for sharing your techniques with your readers. I love traveling in Europe. Scandinavia is next on my European travel wish list. I also want to see Australia and New Zealand.

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  32. I'd travel to Tuscany with my favorite teacher and tour guide, Leslie F!

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    1. September 2017...Tuscany, here we come! I can't wait to share it with you.

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  33. Another great painting of water, thank you!
    I'd like to see Cannon Beach in Oregon, the other side of the country from me. I've barely been 100 miles from home. Dreaming large here, anywhere in Scotland and Ireland, then off to the Yorkshire Dales to see James Herriot country. And Australia, my husband was born there and has never been back.
    I'm so glad to see where other artists have been, like you, with your watercolors!

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    1. So many of the places mentioned are on my dream list, too. I'll get to see Cannon Beach next spring when I teach in Oregon - can't wait! And the Yorkshire Dales - wouldn't that be lovely? I'm not sure I could ever stand the plane ride to Australia, though!

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  34. Thanks for sharing and for the giveaway! if I could travel anywhere in the world I think i would like to go to Austria Hungary and take my husband so that he could learn more about his family and genealogy!
    ~Gin K.~

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  35. My dream travel destination changes so often! Lately I've been dreaming of driving across the states to Point Reyes north of San Francisco to meet some dear friends.

    Thanks for the generous opportunity to win!

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    1. I'd like to visit San Francisco one day. I haven't seen much of California at all yet, but you guys are all giving me some great ideas for future trips!

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  36. in the United States, Alaska. Any place in Italy.

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    1. Have you seen my Alaska sketchbook, Ruth? http://www.picturetrail.com/sfx/album/view/23986606
      It was my first ever travel journal, back in 2006. Wow, I can't believe it's been ten years. If I ever make it back to Alaska, I think I'd like to take a cruise and sketch those mountains from the water.

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  37. I dream of a long trip with my husband to really see the USA, and to visit every National Park. I'd love to see Europe too. But if I had to choose just one one special trip to take it would be to Israel.

    Thanks for sharing your fabulous Italy travels with us, Leslie and for the opportunity to win these brushes and case!

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    1. You're welcome, Katie, and thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Good luck with the giveaway!

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  38. Thanks Leslie for all your great info!
    #1 on my travel list is Iceland 🇮🇸:
    The fjords, the geysers, the Northern Lights!
    Plus I hear the people are very friendly.

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  39. Right now I would have to say Phoenix. My daughter is expecting our first grandchild and living in MIchigan, I feel very far away from her. I have visited her a few times and will be there again before she is delivers. Thank you for the chance to win. This would be perfect to take with me!

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  40. After traveling abroad, I now would like to travel west to explore the Grand Canyon, see redwood trees and perhaps the Rose Bowl Parade.
    Leslie, thanks for this giveaway offer. I have enjoyed entering while reliving my trip with you.
    Better get busy on that journal!

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  41. I would just take whatever trip comes along. In September, I visited the Republic of Moldova, which I didn't know much about. It was more interesting and eye-opening to go someplace I didn't choose (it was a work trip).

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  42. I want to go to Italy and travel all over Europe. I'd also like to do more traveling here in the USA because there are so many cool things I haven't seen here yet. I really enjoy your blog and I would like to take a class from you but it hasn't worked out yet. Maybe someday.

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  43. I would travel to either russia or germany

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