Saturday, July 08, 2006

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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