Monday, July 31, 2006

Sketching in the southwestern states of the USA - what happened next....

Three road trips across SW States and a stay in Southern California
Top row: (left) San Clemente (right) Sand Bank Mountains
Bottom row: (left) Point Lobos (right) Ventura

It's raining here in southern California on the last day of my trip so I thought I might try and do something really sensible(!) and pull together a list of the blog posts that I need to start creating when I get home to London (end of this week) and back to my computer/scanner/software/etc.

As has been correctly surmised already, trying to post on the road has proved to be well nigh impossible. On the couple of days I've actually had access to a computer I've also had lots of other practical trip related matters to sort out.

So - by way of a tempter - here's a summary of my trip to the south western states of the USA. I'll insert all the blog post links to this summary as I post the entry for each day.

The preliminary indications of some blog post titles are given below - along with some brief descriptions of the journey and some indications of images to come! As you can see there are quite a few sketches and I've very nearly filled my new Moleskine.

[1 October 2006: This blog entry has now been updated to include the final titles and posts relating to this trip and associated hyperlinks - plus a sample of images from the trip.]

A short stay and a pastels workshop in Southern California

I visited my friend Louise - she and her husband showed me the sights and then Louise and I took a weekend pastels workshop in San Clemente
Road Trip #1 - Santee, Southern California to Albuquerque, New Mexico via Tombstone, Arizona

This trip started because my friends and I decided to go to the Annual Exhibition of the Coloured Pencil Society of America.  The trip to get there from Southern California took two long days.
  • Tuesday 18th July "Breakfast in Yuma" and "Gordon drives Dome Valley with the boss" - Day 1 of the San Diego-Albuquerque Road Trip - starting from Santee to Tombstone, Arizona via Breakfast in Yuma, lots of desert and cacti, the Mission San Xavier del Bac and a major rain storm outside Tucson plus how to sketch on the move! (3 sketches plus photos)  Note: The latter updates the original which had coding problems when I tried to update it and hence could not be amended.
  • Tuesday 18th July "A Tombstone Epitaph" (photos) an account of an evening with the cowboys in Tombstone
  • Wednesday 19th July "Chillis and a big elephant butt" - Day 1 of the San Diego-Albuquerque Road Trip - involved Tombstone to Albuquerque via Hatch (home of the hot chilli), Truth and Consequences and Elephant Butte. (3 sketches)
  • Thursday 20th July - Plein air sketching in "Old Town Albuquerque"; CPSA slide show of all entries for the annual exhibition (2 sketches plus photos)
  • Friday 21st July - "Plein Air Sketching and a Banquet" Plein air sketching, champagne and the CPSA Banquet (2 sketches)
  • Friday 21st July (out of order): "Plein Air Sketching the Sandia Mountains" - a follow on from the previous process with a detailed explanation of the process re developing a diptych sketch
  • Saturday 22nd July - "Santa Fe and Georgia O'Keeffe" visiting Santa Fe and the Georgia O'Keefe Museum in blissful weather.  
  • Saturday 22nd July - "The CPSA Artists' Reception" - for the Annual Exhibition of the Coloured Pencil Society of America (2 sketches and photos)
Road Trip #2 - Albuquerque, New Mexico to Santee, California via Prescott, Arizona

The main challenge for the drive back was that in the summer of 2006 the USA had a major heatwave . It had started on 15th July and got hotter as July progressed.  There were extremely high temperatures in the deserts making planning for the route for the trip back rather critical.  The aim was to avoid major inclines for a fully loaded car with four people.
Road Trip #3 - Pacific Coast Highway Trip from San Francisco to San Diego

On this trip I found out that the marine inversions on the coast tend to accompany very high temperatures inland!
As well as sketching details, my posts also include details of

  • routes I travelled
  • places I stayed and/or visited
  • descriptions of places where I ate meals (which often became the subjects for sketches) 
  • PLUS places to buy art supplies .

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Hello from Southern California

Well I woke up this morning to start trying out life in California some 3,500 miles west and 8 hours later than the one I'm used to.

Flight from London to San Diego 11 July 2006
My trip was fine and I got here safe and sound. However, my sketching chair is having a more interesting trip and is not here yet. The baggage handlers at the recheck baggage place at Newark Airport decided that it really ought to go and see North Carolina so it'll arrive in San Diego this morning and will be delivered to the house later today. That chair is now more well travelled than me!

The sketch is of the flight about halfway across the Atlantic - I think the George Clooney film had just finished! Done in pen and ink on a double page spread of the Moleskine. The ceiling panels and overhead lockers were a a good test of perspective - but unfortunately I failed!

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Monday, July 10, 2006

Travels with a sketchbook in..........the southwestern states of the USA

This time tomorrow morning I start my next big trip with a sketchbook (and the rest!) when I board a plane heading for California.

During July, I'm going to be:
- visiting San Diego and Southern California
- attending a pastel workshop (next weekend) with Dianna Ponting SFCA PPC, MPAC, PSA
- travelling with friends across Arizona to New Mexico in order to..........
- stay in Albuquerque to attend, as a member, the 14th Annual Convention and Exhibition of the Conference of the Coloured Pencil Society of America (CPSA) and hopefully do some pastel sketches as well
- visit Santa Fe
- and then return to California and, hopefully, fly up north and then drive back down the central coast visiting Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur, and San Luis Obispo en route.

The whole trip will be recorded - with photos and sketches and maybe pastel paintings - in this blog - "Travels with a Sketchbook in.........". What actually gets posted in the next three weeks (as opposed to when I get home) is rather going to depend on access to the internet and facilities to download photos and scan and process sketches. We'll.....or rather you'll see, or not as the case may be! ;)

In the meantime I had a large packing problem before I left London! My cat Cosmo decided that he was going to occupy the space reserved for the pastels!

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Saturday, July 08, 2006

Venice 2005 - Summary

This thread provides links to all the individual posts relating to my trip to Venice in May 2005.
They are all posted sequentially so if you go to the first, you can then read the whole trip by scrolling up the page.
  1. Sketching in Venice - May 2005 - introduction
  2. Venice - Sunday 8th May 2005 - sightseeing, a boat race, Harry's Bar, the Dogana and the Salute
  3. Venice - Monday 9th May 2005 - what to do when it's wet and windy; the pescheria and Desdemona's house
  4. Venice - Tuesday 10th May 2005 (morning) - the view from the Arsenal
  5. Venice - Tuesday 10th May 2005 (afternoon) - a shopping trolley, pigments and wooden pears
  6. Venice - Wednesday 11th May 2005 - Piazza San Marco, lunch and sketching at Quadris and the Palazzos Dario and Barbero on the Grand Canal (both associated with Monet painting in Venice)
  7. Venice - Thursday 12th May 2005 - the Friary Church and the Ca D'Oro
  8. Venice - Friday 13th May 2005 (morning) - the market, the Rialto Bridge
  9. Venice - Friday 13th May 2005 (lunch and afternoon) - lunch and sketching waiters, more Rialto and noisy gondoliers, exhibition
  10. Venice - Conclusions
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Venice - May 2005 - conclusions

The reason for creating the (original) thread like this is to encourage everybody to have a go at plein air painting - and to visit Venice if they can. It's certainly an ideal place for anybody wanting to paint - you can get to everywhere quite easily through a combination of vaporetto and foot. There are things to sketch and paint everywhere you look, it's a real visual feast - even if it rains!

The painting at the top of the page was one I completed when I got home - it's called "Painting Party at the Pescheria" - based on our trip to the Fish Market on Monday when it rained.

This trip was linked to an advanced course with Paul Riley who is a watercolourist and tutor. You can see details of the regular workshop schedule and painting trips on the website of Coombe Farm Studios.

I've stopped going on painting holidays for the tuition per se and now do pretty much all my work independently rather than with the group - as I did this time. However, I still very much enjoy having people to converse with over breakfast (planning the day) and over the drinks and dinner in the evening (what did we do / would do differently if we did it again ). I'm still not sure about whether or not I've got the nerve to go out to somewhere like Venice and do a whole week on my own - although I've done a few days at a time in different places on a few occasions so far. I've also been known to pick restaurants on my travels for their view as well as their food before now!

What did I learn on this trip? Well how about:
  • you can get a big return if you do decent homework / preparation in advance (eg where to go / what to tackle) but aren't limited by what you've found out in advance - there are always going to be surprises
  • I can actually get a great deal of work done if I put my mind to it and get up and out early - I probably achieved more on this trip than any other
  • there's a lot of places to paint in Venice where you needn't be bothered by crowds - you just need to look
  • a good guidebook helps (I used the Dorling Kindersley Venice and the Veneto (Eyewitness Travel Guides S.) - lots of great location maps)
  • a guidebook which is annotated (by me following a bit of research) with the location of places where others have painted before me is even more helpful!
  • even if you set yourself up in the same spot others have painted from, you can always get a new take (ie mine!) on a popular scene or motif
  • a tip I once got from Jackie Simmonds proved jolly useful when I employed it on this holiday. She recommends coming up with a title for a picture after choosing a scene and before committing to paper. It helps to get the focus of the picture sorted straight away - and keeps you focused on it all the way through.
  • digital cameras can take an awful lot of photos so long as you have a big enough memory card and remember to carry a spare set of charged batteries on you - I forgot to take a spare set the first morning and had to go haring back to the hotel for the spare pack when I forgot to put a freshly charged set in that morning
  • shopping trolleys work well for carrying painting materials around - and help you to stand up on vaporettos! However, they're not so wonderful on some of the little bridges. However the wheels survived my specially devised autodestruct test while bouncing up and down steps!
  • don't sit on the windy side of the pescheria when it's raining cats and dogs - those red blinds can flap rain all over your painting! But Art Spectrum Colourfix doesn't mind!
I'm reasonably pleased with what I did on site. However, the real test after every trip is converting sketches and photos into fully worked up paintings. What I'm enjoying at the moment is I have the complete image for at least three or four large pieces already fairly well sorted in my head - it's just a question of starting to get them down on paper.

I think I'm going to try and focus on going on painting trips with like-minded friends in future if that's possible and try for the 'modus operandi' in the field of the sort which tends to operate in within groups of people who get to know one another over the internet.

(Note: This commentary on my trip to Venice was written in May 2005. My next trip is to the southwestern USA this month - with friends I've met and got to know over the Internet and who I've not yet met in real life!)

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Venice - Friday 13th 2005 (lunch and afternoon)

About 1.30pm I went for lunch at a nearby trattoria which is well thought of - and had the most amazing time - and four courses! So menu first - this time it was fish, fish, fish and sorbet!
  • Hors d'Oeuvres Madonna (all the little shell things I'd seen in the fish market),
  • Spaghetti with squid in black ink,
  • fillet of St Pierre in bread
  • and then Lemon sorbet with Proseco. (I'm now on a diet!)
And I've got photos of inky squid and St Pierre if anybody wants to see them in their raw state.

But the best bit was the waiters!

There was this very tall and patrician Maitre D (what's the equivalent in Italian?) who obviously ran the place 'just so'. And then sat at the back was a whole table of waiters of various ages. I thought they might be having their lunch but then thought that was odd as it was lunchtime - and waiters normally eat just before or after the time a restaurant is open for lunch.

It turned out that they were all shelling the scampi for that evening. There were ENORMOUS mounds of cooked scampi and scampi shells - each one of them had a little mountain! So I asked if I could take a photo and they said Yes and then I started to sketch in pen and ink. And this is the sketch of "The shelling of the scampi" - which is going to make a marvellous painting as it's all black and white and neutral colours and then these big pinky apricot mounds of scampi and shells.

I probably didn't spend more than 15-20 minutes on the sketch - there are times when attending life drawing tends to pay off - but unfortunately not for the bloke on the left whose head I got wrong! He was absolutely fascinated by what was going on and kept looking round to see what I was doing.

And then.........waiters started coming over to watch me.

And then...........the Maitre D came over and I thought he was going to stop me - but I showed him where I was up to and he nodded and said something in Italian which I didn't understand. I think I was OK because nobody was identifiable - again just suggestions of faces rather than portraits.

And then........because he'd been to look even more of them came over to look! What I hadn't appreciated until I looked around the trattoria a bit more was that they had paintings absolutely everywhere - on every wall three and four high up the walls.

When I finished I gave it to one of the waiters who then took it around the table of waiters - as they were all still shelling! - and everybody had a good look at the picture - and, of course, what they looked like! Lots of nods and smiles and 'Bella' type comments. It always makes it worthwhile when you do a sketch which people know you're doing and they get to see it - and then they don't make faces! Must have been OK then!

Note a bit of lunch escaped and got on the sketch!

The afternoon was a bit less successful. I tried a sketch next to the Rialto but it was just too busy and noisy (gondoliers arguing!). This is what I was trying to do and will probably have another go at - it's photo no. 167 since Monday morning!

So I went back to near the Fish Market and did a very fast sketch as I was due back at the hotel by 5.00pm to fulfil my honorary task of 'End of Course Exhibition Organiser'. I even bring my own blu-tak! Here is the exhibition of the various paintings executed during our week in Venice.

And then we all went out for dinner!

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Venice - Friday 13th May 2005 (morning)

Guess who didn't realise it was Friday the 13th?

The rest of the party class went off to paint further up into Cannareggio but since that was where we stayed last time we came to Venice, I decided to stick around the Rialto area which I'd not got around to looking at properly last time.

So I loaded up the trolley and set off in the traghetto at San Sofia for the fish market just the other side of the Grand Canal where we painted on the first day.

Last Friday it was in full swing as a fish market. Now to avoid loading this thread with yet more images I'm going to post a link to images of and explanations about the Fish Market and Fruit and Vegetable Markets which is rather good. This is the day I took well over a 100 photos of fish and fruit and veg and the market. Here's a just a very small selection of the fish I saw in the market.

The fruit and veg market was just as good - and I finally got the hang of that thing with digi cameras where you use the screen thingie to show you what you're doing - and as a result you can take all sorts of photos which you can't do if you've got your eye smack up against it in normal photo taking mode - it was a very educational experience!

Here are a few of the fruit and veg piccies. Notice how the green and white asparagus are decorated with wisteria blooms - colour co-ordinated or what? And have you ever seen dried tomatoes like this before - I certainly haven't?

I finally dragged myself away from the market and set off to find a place to paint.

I'd had a notion of doing the Rialto Bridge but as a background. Here's the drawing I did which when worked up will be called 'The steps near the Rialto Bridge' slight pun fully intended.

This is very much a colour sketch rather than a WIP and probably won't be finished. It's the only piece I did while I was there in which I consciously tried to work people in while I was working - and very difficult it was too as the models kept moving. Fortunately I had a couple - whose photo I won't post - who stayed very still for a long time and were sitting in a wonderful place in compositional terms. All the 'real life' people will lose their identities in the painting so it becomes one of those paintings were people will think "that could have been me".

Lunch comes next!

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Venice - Thursday 12th May 2005

And the sun shone again! We took the vaporetto down the Grand Canal to St Tomo and went to the square in front of the Friary Church (in the Santa Croce and San Polo district).

I was very sniffy and said it didn't do anything for me and went off on a walk in search of something better but didn't find anything. Came back and walked to a different bit of the square (the quiet bit with the sunshine!) and instantly found a view - such is life! It always pays to walk all the way around the first place you come to before setting off to find something better! Anyway, I set myself up on the doorstep of the Institute of Archivists (I kid you not!) and proceeded to get going on this view - except this is the photo take nearer the end when I'd worked out that I needed some people to give scale to the piece.

In the middle of the square shortly after I started, was a guitar player sitting playing classical guitar - in classical guitarist pose. (This is the way to draw/paint folks - in the sunshine in Venice with somebody playing classical guitar less than a stone's throw away!) so guess what the piece will be called. This one is a dead cert to be done again - but needs lots of thinking around how to populate it with figures without losing the focus on the guitar player who I want to be deliberately understated.

Anyway, here is the colour study sketch - minus all figures except the classical guitar player - in my sketch book - hence slightly funny looking scan. It's across two pages and I had to stitch them together and the software didn't want to do it automatically so I had to it 'manually'. It's the biggest drawing I actually did while I was there approx 17" x 9" in about 2-3 hours. Eyeballing all the way on all that ' challenging' perspective in sepia ink before I started to use the CPs.

Then I had a chinese lunch(!) sitting in the sunshine in the chinese cafe in the square and sketched a window with flowers in pots, again in sepia ink inbetween munching prawn crackers.

After lunch, I walked north from the church, back to the Fish Market and set up to the left of the Fiush Market and opposite the Ca d'Oro to see how much I could get done of that.

I'd already worked out that in the late afternoon that the sun would be on the building and I would get to sit in the shade. (It's always a good idea to work out where the sun will be at different times of day if you're staying in one place and can choose when to do your sketch / drawing / painting).

Here's the photo and then the painting - with a big space to the left as I ran out of puff for painting! The Ca d'Oro has a marble front - hence why it is so very pale. Finally at 6 o'clock, I 'clocked off' and caught the traghetto back over the Canal to get back to my pre-dinner drink at the cafe on the corner.

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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 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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Venice - Tuesday 10th May 2005 (afternoon)

These are photos of different pigments in their natural ground up state. I've never ever seen a display of pigments like this before.

The photos are from the shop where I bought my shopping trolley on the Tuesday afternoon. The photo on the left is the shop window and the one above is of the jars of pigment inside of the shop.

Ella (new painting buddy) then took me to visit one of her very favourite places - the shop of Livio de Marchi. He is an artist who sculpts the most amazing everyday items in wood. You can see a number of examples in this gallery on his website. I bought some wooden pears - quite unlike any I've ever seen before.

This is a photo of him standing at the door to his job. The hat is wooden!

(Note the rather nice and brand new shopping trolley on the left of picture)

Pigment shop: Arcobaleno Pigmenti de Nube Massimo, San Marco - Venezia.

Livio de Marchi Gallery: Salizzada S.Samuele S.Marco n°3157/A 30124 - Venezia (Italia)

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Friday, July 07, 2006

Venice - Tuesday, 10th May 2005 (morning)

Yet another grey day - or at least morning. We went on the No 1 Vaporetto past St Marks Square to the Arsenale - which is the huge area to the east of Venice where the navy has been based and still seems to reside. The waterfront area there provides a great view of (from left to right) the San Georgio Maggiore (the monastery island), the Giudeca (a long thin strip), and the Dorsoduro with the Salute and Dogana at its tip - plus the entrance to the Grand Canal. If you came from Marco Polo airport and paid for a water taxi and asked them to come around so you enter Venice from the Grand Canal this is the view you would get as you first see Venice.

I spent a long time stitching photos and scans to produce the next lot of images produced. This is the view I had from sitting on a marble slab seat just to the right of the Arsenale Vaporetto stop.

It's two paintings - intentionally done as a diptych - and stitched together to see how they look as one. These are two identically sized drawings (A4) on Canson Mi Teinte (mid blue colour) paintings. Bear in mind this was all completely eyeballed, no tracing, no photos, no nothing. I do confess to measuring the line of the water to make sure it would be at the same height in both pictures! I then intentionally shortened the long thin line of the Giudeca and added a bit more in to the left of San Georgio Maggiore. Celadon Green came into its own for the water which was exactly celedon green colour rather than the greyer colour in the photo. These two paintings probably took about an hour each or maybe a little bit more. The tricky bits were getting the relative proportions of the buildings right (and I was a bit out there with the height of the campanile on San Georgio) and getting the cross over right on the sky and clouds and the water.

I really, really enjoyed doing that sky but was quite frustrated by how the blue Canson muted the colours very significantly so after stitching the scans together last night I tried to tweak the merged image ever so slightly in Photoshop to get closer to what I had been trying to do and was amazed at what came out - which is below. This also shows up my 'mark-making' much more clearly - and is much closer to the idea in my head - hence the reason for showing it to you. And this is the under-stated version. The 'full on' auto tweaks made the image even stronger!

Finally, to close Tuesday morning's activities, here's a close up of the Salute from where I was sitting (with the entrance to the Grand Canal to its right) - and this is probably one I'm going to have a go at - but take my time over - as I love the colouring of this one.

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Click on all images to see larger versions.

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.

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