Friday, July 07, 2006

Venice - Monday 9th May 2005

The joy of rain in Venice is that you get to see the colours better! Guess who didn't have perfect weather? However I have to say it makes for more interesting sketches as not everything looks like it's trying to be in a postcard.

On Monday we woke up to mean grey skies and rain. This is not what holidays in Venice are supposed to be like I thought! Luckily we'd been warned by the long range weather forecast that there might be rain so I'd packed wet weather gear.

We were located near the Ca d'Oro (and here is a map from Lonely Planet with Ca d'Oro marked on). Near to this there is the traghetto stop of San Sofia which is bang opposite the Peshcheria or Fish Market.

Fortunately the fish market is under cover in a stone building so we went across on the traghetto (the gondola which crosses the Grand Canal) and took cover in the Fish Market and started to sketch and paint.

This is the photo of what I could see (the traghetto stop on the other side) and a photo of our position. Of course being the first day, there's always some sort of 'macho' culture about needing to be seen not to give in too easily to the weather - so we all sat there all morning! I was acting as a windbreak and was periodically rained on and my sketch book is covered in rain drops from when the red 'curtains' flapped on us. Believe me, it got a lot worse than this. We only just got over to the Fish Market before the traghetto stopped running because the rain and weather were so bad!!!

The person second from the left is sitting on my seat as I've just been away for cappucino after getting very cold! (Fortunately there was cafe nearby for coffee and comfort breaks.) I had a T shirt on plus a warm long sleeved shirt, a sleeveless fleece, an outdoor fleece and a packamac. Up top was fine, but my legs and hands were frozen!   I met some other painters later in the week who told me that they had seen us in the Fish Market on Monday and were torn between thinking we were very brave or completely potty!!! 

This is my initial sketch in my hardback A4 sketchbook plus the notes page recording colours and details plus what I produced that morning. Next to it is colour sketch I produced in approx 2 hours. It's on the aubergine shade of the Art Spectrum colourfix board and is A4 size. Most of it was produced on site (you can see it in the photo leaning against the wall) but I decided to strengthen the colour of the sky later plus I strengthened some other colours which needed more work. Plus when I consulted the photo back at the hotel I had to adjust all the main windows for value. I knew something was wrong but was just too cold working 'plein air' to do anything about it.

There's another nice photo from this spot of some gondolas against a building which is being restored. I think this might well become a future painting. The other painting I definitely want to do is of the fish market with the curtains - just got to decide on the answer to the 'with/without fish market' option.

The weather cleared in the afternoon and we went down to Salute on the principle we could always all dash inside if it started to rain again. The colour sketch for this was less successful - but this is the scene (with Desdemona's balcony) that I was trying to do sitting at the top of the steps just next to the enormously huge doors of the Salute. I was in the shade and cold again - I'd worked out by this time that it was a cold wind from the north which was causing the problems.

I think I prefer the scene in the next photo (but didn't see this until afterwards) and may well try and concoct a painting out of the two of them. Any suggestions for composition or treatment?

The (very unfinished) WIP sketch is on Saunders Waterford HP paper and is A4 size. I got distracted because I was still cold and started trying to do silly things with windows and curtains and didn't stick to the big value shapes as I should have done.

Maps: Lonely Planet Venice
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