Probably my favourite view of Venice which I have painted several times before, but not with this lovely misty light, which I shall assume to be morning but could be evening. This photograph I owe to Pixabay and am grateful
This is my finished watercolour painting, or my version of the photograph I should say
This was a challenging photograph to work from. San Giorgio Maggiore in the background, shrouded in mist. I knew it well and had painted it a few times. This is a lovely building set on an island and reminds you where you are, almost into the mouth of the Grand canal. Gondolas line up like taxis in the foreground. Drawing them is always fun. They seem to have a twist along the length or maybe that is my imagination. An interesting point about gondolas is that they have to be black according to regulations and yet because they are so highly polished, they very often don’t look black, because of the highlights and the reflections
This fills a spot in my collection. I have two exhibitions planned for December, and I never feel complete without a painting of Venice. Unfortunately having been through my own collection of photographic references more than once, I am sometimes puzzled as to what to paint for a change. This view I have painted before but in bright sunshine, so a misty start to the day is a nice change. Initial response to the painting has been encouraging, so I think it could do well, but I have said that before
We shall see. At the moment I am in different stages of two works, not something I like doing but needs must
We went here four years ago. We were staying in Seville at the time, so our visit to the Alhambra Palace and Granada meant we had to make a really early start, and tour the palace in the cool of the morning. This we did, and the tour went well. Some while ago I painted something called Wandering round the Alhambra Palace, which featured the Patio de Leones or Lion Square because of the magnificent fountain in the middle, with its superb carvings of lions.
Nearby Granada, with its magnificent cathedral, we visited later in the searing heat of the afternoon, which I did not enjoy. I don’t know what the final temperature was, but certainly passed 40c. I spent most of the time in the cathedral, to escape the sun, but also to visit the tombs of Ferdinand and Isabella. This royal duo liberated Granada from the Moors in 1492, including the Alhambra Palace where they themselves held court. Christopher Columbus went there in 1492 to receive royal instructions before leaving on his voyage.
I had wanted to paint a long view of the palace but time did not permit me time to take any long view photographs. I was pleased to find a helpful reference shot on the Pixabay website, taken by Dennis Doukhar, which was available royalty free for commercial purposes. My thanks to the photographer for the use of this shot.
There is a red shade to much of the building which I have used. Quite a lot of trees around the outside of the palace, so that problem wit unremitting greens, yet again. I have done my best with the trees and will let others judge
I have made a start on the actual painting. Quite a lot of drawing work to be done as one might imagine, and working from three photographs, the perspective drawing was interesting to say the least
I do a small amount most days and look at what I have done when the paint has properly dried. The cathedral is virtually finished although I may still go back in with a sharp brush and reinforce some of the finer details.
For some reason the colours in the photograph are more red than in the original painting.
I have used the grid method of transferring an image before, but was reminded of it when I went to the Hockney exhibition at the Lightbox in Woking recently. It is very useful especially when you want to enlarge a picture as I do with this one. This is how my drawing has turned out
I have now doubled the image size so that it is about the usual size that I paint, ie 30×40 centimetres. I have traced the drawing now and am about to transfer this image to watercolour paper
The nice thing about using this method is that once the grid is in place on both images, then there is very little, if any, measuring to be done. Drawing or copying within each small square is relatively simple, and gives you a check on perspective so very useful for anything architectural
There is no restriction on size so if you wanted to paint a mural and make it ten times or twenty times the photograph, then you could. You can work the other way, of course, and reduce the size of an image too.
I shall paint this when ready and probably use a completely different colourway than shown in the photograph. Not sure what yet, possibly an evening colour, and may even do two different colour ways from the same drawing, which will save me some time
This painting sold on the internet out of the blue. They’re often the best ones I often think, as they give you a boost. A buyer in the United States has bought it, and it is on its way as we speak
We have had a dreadful start to the year since getting back from Romania. My father died on New Year’s Eve whilst I was away. My wife and I have both been ill ever since getting back. I am just getting over bronchitis and my wife has one heavy cold followed by another. Fearsome bugs
We have had to do funeral preparations whilst feeling like death ourselves, even though having wonderful support from family, there were some things I had to do myself
This painting had happy memories. We were in Corfu about three years ago, and enjoyed it immensely. Literally any port in a storm, we were unable to dock on the Adriatic coast and had to run from the storm. Corfu took us, and what a lovely place it is. We had a tour round the island and spent the afternoon in Kerkyra in the shopping lanes. This painting was my memento. I am so pleased that someone has chosen it and it will go somewhere it will be valued
Afterwards we sailed for Greece in the evening. It had been a lovely trip. Often thought I would like to revisit Corfu and spend more time
Anyway this short blog whilst I think of it. I am still working on the Venice picture but not as much as I would like
This is the picture that I am going to work from. I have done this view before, but it is so magnificent that I come back to it every now and then. Incidentally, this is a different take to the one that I did last time, and also I am going to rearrange this photograph. I am going to push back the buildings on the left so that we can see the mouth of the Grand Canal and the horizon beyond. This should hopefully give us a feeling of distance as we look out to sea.
So far I have done the drawing which I will use for painting, and you will be able to see the changes for yourself, and I will show that now, although the lines are faint so may not stand out well
Perhaps not too bad, and perhaps you can see where I have moved the buildings to the left. We can see the mouth of the canal, and the building I believe to be the Customs House, and then out to sea, but that won’t be apparent until after painting
For sky and water I will start with my mix of Cobalt and Phthalo Blue, which I know I have said before is a good Mediterranean colour. I will need to mask off the buildings to the left, including the balconies and awnings which stick out over the water.
They will need to be in yellow and pink, so important to paint on white paper.
The buildings on the right will need a cover of raw sienna as a base coat, before building up with other colours, and before covering with deep shadow.
Coming back to writing this blog, I have now done just that and have detailed the domes, and all I can say is so far so good.
The painting is complete and as always, with any of my completed paintings, I am loving parts yet totally unsure of some of the details
The trees were in deep shadow in reality. I put them in deep shadow in the painting. Hmm. not sure. The church immediately went into the background. That wasn’t intended either
I really like the cranes which some might find strange. I think of them as part of the sculpture. I don’t think they clash at all with the basilica, magnificent as it is.
Possibly this composition will still work as a painting. I really am not sure
I am going to post it on line and will invite comment, in fact I would be grateful for comment. I did frame the work, and of course anything framed looks better, so nothing conclusive there
I will start on a new work later. Nothing to do with this one, but when I have done that I may well do a second version of Sacred Family and somehow leave out the foreground trees, and see if I am happier with that.
My next exhibition is in October so I have time. Shortly I am heading north to colder climes, Shetland Isles and the Faroes where recorded temperatures are about 11c. Yesterday at home we had 32c so an abrupt change. No painting for a week or so but maybe some sketchbook work, if I am lucky.
I have been doing some work on the painting. Unfortunately as always the photograph doesn’t show the depth of colour, which is a pity because the church is against a red sky, and the pink glow is reflecting on the building
The drawing was testing as I said before, and easy to see why the building is taking so long. The draughtmanship and architectural work is pure genius. Just making a sketch I have found tricky in the extreme
So far I have just been building up layer upon layer, wet on dry, of a pinky grey colour, which is close to the original, but not showing deep enough in this image which is frustrating.
However, we continue. I will need to introduce green into the trees, and am just wondering which shade. The tops of the trees will need to reflect red from the sky. The undersides of the trees will need to be very dark indeed
I will have to play around with that
I like the cranes. They add to the feeling of sculpture.
Just referring back to the last post showing the dragon of Kew Gardens. This was shown at the Pirbright Village Fair last Saturday along with three other paintings. Nothing of mine sold. Some very favourable comments about the Swan painting but no commitment to purchase. Alas. That’s exhibitions for you.
Now that the dragon painting is completed, I am back to the attempt on the painting of the Church of the Sacred Family. I say attempt, because so far I have just done the drawing and trying to follow the detail is absolutely mind bending
Small wonder that building the church has been taking so long following the death of Gaudi, and still more than twenty years to go. What is there, is staggeringly beautiful, both outside and in.
My painting I think will be an impression only. Certainly it won’t be an architectural drawing
We shall see when we get some colour going, and that is for later
I was here earlier in the year, and I have already written a post on this so won’t dwell on the building and its history, magnificent though it is. This was my second visit in two years, and frankly the interior is breathtaking.
The reason I have put this picture up again, is because I am going to attempt a painting of the exterior. This will probably turn out to be foolhardy, as the intricacies and detailing of the architecture on the facade are legendary. However I will soon start a drawing and see where it takes me. The drawing exercise will be the testing part, I know but it is one that I want to attempt.
I will rearrange some of this shot. The pond in the foreground is not attractive. The colour is an unpleasant shade of yellow, and I would like a lot less of it. The foliage in the foreground may or may not be included
Anyway I will come back when I have something to show
Just to end up, my exhibition at the Guildford Institute produced only one sale, the painting of Bosham Creek. Still at least I wasn’t out for a duck, and the guy who bought it was thrilled with it, so that was good.
A lean time now for exhibitions, apart for local shows. October at the Royal Surrey Hospital in the Peter Thompson Gallery, which is usually a good venue, will be the next major show for me. Time to build up stock of some different paintings.