Month: June 2016

Last of Venice, for now

My final two pictures of Venice couldn’t be more different in style. Both are very busy pictures but treated in different ways. One has harder shadows,stronger colours and much more close-up detail. The other is more romantic, has a wider vision and is much looser in style. Of course I’m critical of both and wondering if there is a happy medium but for now I will study and learn from them and move on.

I walked to the Ponte dell’Accedemia and was hit by the most amazing view of the Grand Canal. I took photos and knew I had to try and paint the view towards the Basilica.

Venice 9

Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

The other painting is of a canal scene somewhere in Venice. Loads going on, great reflections and all the things I like to paint; boats, bridges and water.

Venice 6



Views of Venice

With the beautiful city of Venice still fresh in my mind I’ve been working on some new paintings. I was given a pad of lovely Arches watercolour paper by a good friend and being long and thin they are the perfect size for views of the canal. It’s wonderful paper to work with and makes a big difference on layering washes and merging colours.

Given the paper size I looked through my photos and found three views I felt I could work on. The first is one from my sketchbook and shows a scene across the Grand Canal to a bridge with people wandering over it with umbrellas/parasols. (My camera has distorted the verticals I’m afraid)


Parasols in Venice

The next was of a dark sided canal with an old boat moored up and a bridge in the distance, close to our hotel.

Venice 9

Finally the water in Venice has a greeny,blue colour in certain lights, close to Veridian and I found a picture that captures the colour and mood of the place. The camera has taken some of the green out of the picture but I like the overall result.

Venice 7

Venice reflection

I’m thinking of grouping the three paintings onto a single frame as they work well together. (verticals are off as the paper has curled)

More paintings to come of Venice but I’m also planning for this years Pintar Rapido. As I’m working with this lovely paper I thought I could use it for the competition. I made a quick study of the Albert Hall and produced this… what do you think? Worth a try on the day?

Albert hall

Venice Sketches

I’m back from a wonderful 3 days in Venice. A mixture of dancing, art, food and drink. It’s a beautiful city, with so many stunning views. We did get some rain, which cut into our dancing, as it was all outdoors. There was also flooding from very high tides and sunshine on the final day… all adding to the atmosphere of the place. But I did get to dance to an orchestra in St Mark’s Square, briefly.

I found time to sketch with varying results. The big picture never happened. I went out with good intentions but couldn’t settle and made a mess of it. So I kept to small sketches in my watercolour pad. I’m’s very difficult to sketch on the spot.

I did take photos of promising views and it’s inspired me to work on a new range of paintings.

Quick sketches of Venice

Venice sketches

We stayed at a great hotel, which had a landing stage facing out on to the Grand Canal, where we enjoyed drinks in the evening. Stunning! From this wharf I found time to sketch a small scene on the opposite bank, during which there was a small shower or rain. (see umbrellas)

Venice 16 2

Off the Grand Canal

Other sketches..

Venice 16 3

View to St Mark’s & Doges Palace

Venice 16 5

Unfinished canal scene (possible future painting)

Venice 16 4

Campo Dei Frari

Another attempt at Venice

Well I’ve found out that I can’t turn into a professional painter, with 30 years of experience, after copying just one of his paintings!

It’s really difficult to think how to take his methods and style on to another subject. I used the previous location in Venice and changed the angle and composition slightly. I tried to apply his style of painting to the familiar scene but nothing worked first time. This leads to a muddy result. I felt like giving up so many times but pressed on.

It’s very different from my usual style and I’ve learnt a lot but I think I need another 29 years to get it right.



I’m off to Venice tomorrow and will be sketching and roaming around looking for more inspiration.

I’ve just found out that Zbukvic has painted this very scene and it will be interesting to see what his version looks like!!

Trying a new style, again

I was feeling disappointed that I couldn’t loosen up my style more with my last picture and so sought inspiration again on Pinterest. I’ve been following an amazing Australian artist, Joseph Zbukvic and I love his paintings of Venice.

So, of course, I wanted to give one a try. Just working out the how’s and why’s of his wonderful paintings is a big enough puzzle but putting them down on paper is very tricky indeed. Here it my lumpy attempt….

Venice 3


It has a very different feel to my previous painting and one I’d love to emulate. I’ve got to watch  my verticals but overall I’ve learnt a lot. The big question is can I apply this to my own subject matter?