Black and blue

I received a gift some time ago. It’s a beautiful object — a handmade sketchbook filled with Fabriano paper, hardbound, covered with black-patterned cloth and held closed with a striped elastic. I’ve been saving it because it’s almost too beautiful to sketch in, and I feel like if I mess up a spread then the gift will be ruined.

I started the book in Amsterdam with a rough pencil drawing of a boat, but when a rain shower interrupted my sketching, I never finished the spread. The paper is too nice to waste, so today I erased the boat, drew in some black figs and blue plums, and made the first step towards filling the book.

26 Comments on “Black and blue”

  1. Delicious! Wonderful colours and blending.


  2. Ahh Shari, I hear you! Putting that first entry in
    a new sketchbook is finger-trembling work. Like getting the first ding on a new car 😊


  3. karim waked says:

    Hope you ate them all once you were done painting them


    514 9944433


  4. Mary Roff says:

    Your friend thought enough of you to give you a beautiful sketchbook. so, honor her by using it and enjoying it and thinking of her when you do use it. It was meant to give you joy.
    Beautiful berries!!!


  5. Bernadette says:

    Never will a page be ruined or wasted when you paint! This one is lucious, a great beginning.


  6. M Cirfi Walton says:

    Beautiful, glad you started the book. I too love Fabriano paper and totally understand. But you have a gift and Fabriano deserves your talent.

    Thanks for sharing, Mercedes

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10


    • Thanks Mercedes! Fabriano paper is wonderful, especially in sketchbooks. The best kind of paper for working on detailed work, I find.


      • Janine says:

        Hi Shari,
        There is a lovely woman on Etsy who hand binds amazing sketchbooks with Fabriano, Lana, Arches and Saunders papers. Her stock varies but if you email her she will bind you a book with whatever paper you like, in whatever size and orientation you request. In addition to being a high skilled book maker, she is also a very accomplished artist.
        Her name is Aneta Koehn.
        Beautiful sketch in a beautiful sketchbook!


      • HI Janine, That is great info. Thanks for sharing it! I looked at her books and they really are beautiful. Have you ordered any? I am curious.


  7. I once had a piece of hot press paper all ready for watercolour, and I erased a wayward pencil line — it must have lifted some sizing, because when I put down color, it totally spread!!! Sometimes I can work with that, and sometimes it is a blobby trouble! Your plums, however, are perfect!


    • Sheryl, what kind of eraser did you use. I always use those grey kneaded rubber ones, and they never damage the paper. Just curious about what you used that would ruin the paper.


      • I only ever use a white Staedtler eraser, or one of those square, sort of brown chunky erasers. It was one or the other! Now I never erase that hot press paper (it is student grade from OPUS) unless I am completely finished the watercolour! I really like that paper, though, so I’ll keep using it.


  8. Denise says:

    Hi Shari! What a fun painting, can I ask what colors you used? They blend together perfectly. I have some blueberries and figs in the house right now- I don’t know whether I now want to eat them or paint them!


    • Hi Denise, You’ve probably eaten the figs and plums already! But in case they are still around, I used mostly Ultramarine Blue and Alizarin Crimson for this. I prefer to let the red and blue mix on the paper, rather than using a purple from the tube. I also used a bit of sap green for the figs. Enjoy!


  9. Chris Rusk says:



  10. joantav says:

    What a thoughtful gift…and you started it off so nicely with the lucious fruits.


  11. Sherri T Skrivanos says:

    I received a tip that I thought was brilliant in a recent workshop. Work your sketchbook from back to front – idea being you will improve over time (kinda like the first pancake is always the worst).


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