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March 28th, 2014

Cinque Terre

Watercolor artist Leslie Fehling has been posting regularly about her magical trip to northern Italy last year. This is one of the last pages in her journal. Cinque Terre, which means “Five Lands”, comprise five enchanting seaside villages on the Italian Riviera connected by foot paths and ferries, but no cars.

“The little village of Manarola, in Cinque Terre, was one of the most charming and memorable places I visited in Italy. Its colorful houses, rocky cliffs, terraced hillsides and aquamarine sea all add up to something really special. I did several smaller sketches during the short time I was there, but I wanted to have one page in my journal that told the whole story and just screamed “Cinque Terre”. This late-day scene seemed to fit the bill as it included all the best parts of Manarola – the houses, sea, cliffs, and gardens.

Just before sunset, I followed the walking trail that winds around the cliffs, high above the shoreline, and found the perfect spot, where I could watch the sun go down on my right and see the gorgeous golden glow of light on the rocks and buildings in front of me. The scene was a little daunting – so many buildings, and stone walls, and complicated rock formations! I had to edit out lots of detail while still trying to remain fairly true to the scene.

I drew quickly with a Noodler’s Creaper Flex Pen filled with Noodler’s Lexington Gray ink. (I didn’t want to be sketching in the dark!) I managed to get the drawing done, but the lettering and the watercolor would have to wait for another day. I finished it this week at home in my studio, painting from reference photos I took on location.

The wirebound Stillman & Birn Beta Series sketchbook that I carried on this trip served me well. The paper is smooth enough to allow my pen to glide easily over the surface when drawing or writing, and it handles multiple watercolor washes very well. The covers are sturdy enough to endure weeks of being manhandled while traveling, and the spiral binding stands up to being jammed in a backpack along with everything else I need for a day of touring.” To see more sketches from Leslie’s Italy trip, visit

MEDIA: Ink and watercolor
SURFACE: Beta Series – 180 lb – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Finish

Cinque Terre


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