Saturday, July 08, 2006

Venice - Wednesday 11th May 2005

This is the day when I skipped the trip to Burano and Torcello and got my head down for some serious painting. So lots of images in this post.

First of all I planned to go to the basin at the back of St Marks Square where they park all the gondolas. I've seen some paintings done by people who have worked there and it looked very promising...........but big disappointment - very busy. Getting there was easy as I had my new shopping trolley with the big wheels. However until I got it, I never really realised quite how many times you walk up and down steps going over little bridges over canals!

As I walked through into St Marks Square it was, as usual, full of people. I then spotted some artists who had tucked themselves away at the far end of the square in a quieter area but with a good view of San Marco - so I went and joined them. One of them was doing a fabulous oil painting of the basilica.

Anyway, being the 'sensible girl' that I am, I get my sketch book out and settle down to a preliminary sketch. Truth be told, I'm not stupid and there was no way I was going to attempt the basilica without trying to work out how it worked first.

I made myself work in pen and ink because I find it makes me look harder as there is no scope for rubbing out mistakes. So first image is a photo of the basilica and the crowds and then my sketch of the basilica in sepia ink.

Then I decided to have a go at doing it in coloured pencil. Interesting decisions to make about where to crop - and whether what I decided actually turned out to be what happened! It's a very difficult building to assess whether or not you're sizing things correctly. Anyway, here is the result - unfinished - CP, A4 size, on a 'neutral' shade of colourfix (not sure what the name is).

Then, after I got very tired going cross-eyed trying to draw, I decided to award myself a very late lunch in the restaurant at Quadris. It's amazing what being uncomfortable for a few hours will do in terms of making you want a comfortable seat to sit on. This restaurant is a very old fixture in the square - silly prices which I don't mind paying once only for the views from the first floor restaurant!

I had the fish, the fish and the fish (getting the food theme yet?) plus a glass of proseco and spent my time while eating next to a window looking out over the square and doing 10 second sketches of people in pen and ink to help populate my painting. And here they are........plus a photo of the interior of Quadris taken on leaving - I got the distinct impression they thought I'd taken root, but you know a comfy seat is a comfy seat!

Then I walked over to the vaporetto stop opposite Palazzo Dario to have a go at painting for real right in front of it rather than than interpreting Monet's versions of it. I had to sit on the corner of the vaporetto stop hoping that the people getting off wouldn't knock me off my chair so my CPs and I ended up in the Grand Canal! So here is the photo of the place - and boy does it lean!

And then my painting - on an A4 size terracotta/rust shade of Colourfix. I might just have exaggerated the lean a bit! This is probably the first one where I felt I was getting back into Monet mode. Quite pleased with this one.

And then it was on to the vaporetto for a No1 ride back up the Grand Canal - with my eyes closing most of the way there.

But not so much that I couldn't take a photo of the Palazzo Barbaro (next to the Accademia Bridge) where Monet (my hero!) stayed in 1908 and painted the Salute - he stood there!!!

Do you think he had problems with the oil paints rolling into the canal?

I've preached to various people on the trip about not setting out to do finished pieces and quoting the statistic about Monet starting 38 pictures of Venice of which 35 were finished at Giverny. Makes me feel better anyway!

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