Bottles on grey

On my sketchbook shelf I just found a book I’ve never tried. It’s a Stillman & Birn Nova Series Trio — one third grey paper, one third black paper and one third tan paper — in a square 8″ x 8″ format. It’s a great book for practicing gouache, so I started sketching in it today and my aim is to fill it up completely. I’m not usually very consistent with my sketchbooks. I tend to draw in many at once, unless I’m travelling and only bring along one or two. But I think this paper is perfect for gouache, so I’m going to make an effort to go through it from front to back and use it both indoors and out. I’ll let you know if I’m successful.

23 Comments on “Bottles on grey”

  1. jankto says:

    I really like this sketch.

    Thank you for telling us that you’re not usually consistent with your sketchbooks. I thought I was the only one who uses them back to front, front to back, sometimes in the middle so I don’t accidentally splash up a page I like. I always have several going at the same time too. One of these days I may become more organized, but …. not likely.


    • I’m glad to hear that about you too. I am always so envious of those sketchers who fill up books and then do little videos where they flip through the whole book.You’ve seen those, right?? I want to do that so badly!! So I am going to try with this one…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sheryl says:

    Shari, you are successful with the very first one!! 🙂


  3. Yvonne Carpenter says:

    Hi Shari, thank you for the hint! I never thought the Nova would hold up to guache. Good to know!

    Speaking of sketchbooks – did you see one of your favorites, the Hand Book Travelogue square is now also available with thicker watercolor paper? The one you have used often is 90 lbs/200gsm, and now they have it with 140lbs/300gsm. It i still hard to find as I believe it is just now hit the stores. I got one to try but have not started it yet. I would be curious to know how it suits your painting style (heavier paper is not always better!)


    • Hi Yvonne. Yes, this book is really perfect for gouache. The paper is definitely thick enough to stand up to a good coat of creamy paint. AS for the Travelogue books, no, I hadn’t heard about the thicker paper. I have to ask my art supply store to get some in so I can try them out. I still love those books! Thanks for that news flash from the sketchbook world.


  4. Meredith Bohne says:

    Happy Hanukkah from Meredith Bohne


  5. Lovely sketch for your toned paper. I have one of those sketchbooks too, but haven’t used it yet. I tend to fill my sketchbooks page by page, but have several going at the same time. Some I forget about and they end up having sketches from several years.

    Have a Happy Hanukkah!


  6. Bernadette says:

    Nice sketch…I really like the toned paper you used.

    I too have several sketchbooks…most only partially filled. It’s interesting to learn that others also have several incomplete sketchbooks.
    I keep one in the car to use for quick sketches. One is beside my favorite spot in the living room where I try to capture a sleeping cat… or my husband. And I have more than one, partially filled on the shelf in my dedicated art room. Lately, I too have been making more of an effort to complete before I purchase new.
    Thank you for your daily posts. You inspire me many times in many ways.
    Happy Hanukkah.


    • Thanks so much Bernadette. So you are like me. Many books on the go at once! I shared a sketch Stillman & Birn a few years ago that I used on the cover of one of the Nova books, and I was paid in sketchbooks! So I have lots of toned paper for sketching and am anxious to fill this one to the end. The grey and tan papers will be easy to use but the black, not so sure!


  7. Tricia says:

    Oh wow! I love this.


  8. Tina Koyama says:

    It’ll be fun to watch your experiments on gouache in this book! I have one too, and I’ve been using the black pages to sketch at night with colored pencils. So much fun! Starting with a dark background has really changed the way I think about negative space.


    • Tina, now I am going to have to look up what you did with the black pages. I have been wanting to sketch some night scenes and I was thinking about gouache, but maybe coloured pencils are the way to go. Or pastels!! I can see how working on dark would really change the way you think. I look forward to trying it.


  9. Interesting to look at your sketch and to see the background showing through…or maybe now
    after another look you may have painted some gray inside the bottles. I am afraid I am one of the sketchers who fills each sketchbook to the end. Although I have 3 going at the same time one for my purse, one for sketching outings and one for people. I get excited as I near the end of a book wondering which one will I work in next. I have a Nova in grey or beige not the trio. I love how you make any object you paint interesting.


    • Carmel, the grey you see is the paper, at least on the bottom left side. In the bottle, that may actually be grey paint. I do love the greys you can mix with gouache.
      I admire your consistency in filling your sketchbooks. I am trying hard to fill this one!


  10. Christine Mühlenkamp says:

    Shall we call you Morandi?
    Your images are the perfect accompaniment for these days – they get more meditative (and “restricted”) by the day. Thanks for giving us the right melody to stay in tune!

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, please don’t call me Morandi but we can agree that we might both love his paintings. As for my sketches being meditative or restrictive, I guess we could agree on that too. Our worlds, at least mine, is much smaller than it used to be. And I am enjoying seeing the beauty in the things that are nearby. Thanks for writing Christine.


  11. Denise says:

    Hi Shari, I was contemplating heading out to my art supply store today to purchase this exact sketchbook. Thanks for reassuring me that I’m making the right decision 😀


  12. Wendy Cutting says:

    I always love your paintings with bottles and jars in.
    I have your course on water waiting for a quiet moment ( ie after Christmas)
    Best wishes, Wendy Cutting


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