Europe 2020V: Five days in Venice

June 29, 2020 | Leave your thoughts

I wasn’t expecting to have any time in Venice this year as Mike Botton and I had intended to spend two weeks planning the third Palladian Odyssey tour in a different part of Italy. Doing a virtual version of our “PO reccy trip” (reconnaissance trip) would have been too much work, so I decided to spend my time revisiting Venice for a week, and then have 5 days in Florence.

Have I mentioned before how much time it takes to prepare for a virtual travel sketching session? If I’ve been somewhere before, it’s a lot easier as I simply have to dig through all my past trip photos to create a collection of images to sketch from. But if it’s a new place, I have to spend time roaming google earth/street view so that I get a feel of the place and then I hunt some views which are not too distorted or blocked by a bus/truck which I can sketch from. This process takes hours – sketching from photos is hard work! Revisiting Venice was fairly easy as I have lots of photos from previous trips and it was fun to spend a few days there without the crowds!

As mentioned previously I devoted the week to a concentrated effort for the 30×30 direct watercolour challenge. It was really good to ‘hit it hard’ as it gave me a chance to develop and test some new techniques. See this article for more about that.

I’m going to re-share some of the images here and also show you how these sketches fit within my page layouts. Creating interesting spreads and a narrative that connects my sketches is probably the best part of this mega 11 week project.

A few highlights

As I look through the sketches I did during my virtual trip to Venice it’s incredible how few sketches were done with ink. This is the only full building sketch I did with ink.

This page contains a few other ink sketches. Note: One of the big differences between my virtual trip sketchbooks and my real travel sketchbooks is the fact that I’m doing hardly any quick ink sketches. I miss that a little as I really like the variety and the areas of white space that ink sketches add to a sketchbook spread.

Naturally I made sure that I sketched Palladio’s three churches in Venice – San Giorgio Maggiore…

Il Redentore…

and San Francesco della Vigna (which is in a lovely quiet part of Venice)

I did a second version of San Giorgio Maggiore using my 3/8 one stroke flat brush.

I also did a few versions of Santa Maria della Salute (a favourite building of mine to sketch!)…

and also a few versions of San Marco.

It was nice to be able to do a sketch of the Rialto Bridge without having to stand up and dodge the tourists…

and to sketch San Giacomo di Rialto again – I have memories of sketching this on a week day with Esther many years ago.

My favourite palace on the Grand Canal is Palazzo Grimani di San Luca by Sanmicheli

and I managed to do a few details of Sansovino’s masterpieces – the library and the mint. Ah! there are so many important buildings to sketch in Venice.

And finally I kept up the tradition of painting San Simeone Piccolo from the station as I was about to depart. This trip I also did a version on arrival too – which you can see below

There are of course many canal views in Venice which I would have liked to have sketched but:
1. I’m in an architectural mood and a little more focused on the architectural history of Venice at the moment (I’ve studied it a lot in the past)
2. I didn’t have many reference photos of general canal view to sketch from.

So the virtual nature of this visit certainly impacted the views I was able to sketch.


Full Collection

Here are the pages in full. Enjoy!

Wow! that was a big week!

Next stop Florence.


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