I’ve just finished our first Veneto Tour for this year and it has been an incredible week. Once again we had a fantastic group of sketchers (from Australia, New Zealand, UK, France, Canada and USA) and we had a lot of fun hanging out in this beautiful and interesting part of Italy.
During the week we had a variety of sketching subjects, but the focus of this particular tour is learning to sketch classical buildings. It was wonderful to see such incredible progress in everyone’s work during the few days we were together. Being able to confidently sketch classical buildings is a very important skill for travel in any western country and I love opening people’s eye so that they can understand what they are trying to sketch.
The work of Palladio makes a great theme for this architectural sketching. He is arguably the most important architect in the history of western architecture and has had such impact on the buildings in England and USA. In fact a few years ago he was pronounced ‘the father of American architecture’.
During the week, in addition to the sketching, we also learn a lot of fascinating things about the history and Venice and the Veneto, which makes it a very rich tour. (And I’m not even going to mention the food!)
Each time I teach this tour, I find new ways of teaching the architectural drawing side of things, and I’m also able to incorporate more watercolour tips along the way.
I really love having a broad range of experience in the group and coming up with modifications to my exercises to suit everyone! My goal is to get to know everyone and their sketching style well enough in the 6 days that I can suggest different things to each person which I think will progress their work. Being able to devote this week to the development of our sketching always produces special results for everyone (including me!)
But let’s get going with a photo summary of the week!
A raining day to start the tour, so we did our warmup exercises inside a beautifully lit shed at our farmstay – Ca De Memi.
A lovely morning at Ca Marcello sketching a huge villa without worrying about accuracy.
After lunch we have a great garden tour by Count Jacopo – a little rain but it stopped in time for our sketching session.
Abstracting shapes in the garden. This was the first time that many people had tried paint first, so we all learned heaps and had fun!
In the late afternoon we got special access into the grounds of Villa Cornaro (our first Palladian Villa) for a bonus sketching session. Sadly we can no longer go inside as the villa has been sold and is now being renovated but I’m thankful that we were able to sketch from the garden.
Everyone enjoyed being able to apply what they had learnt in the morning session to another building.
Lovely afternoon but a storm was brewing.
Here are my quick sketches from the visit.
Amaing dinner by Michaela, our host at Ca de Memi. It’s just so special for me to see her again for the fourth year in a row.
Villa di Maser: The un-italian weather continued and Wednesday was a wet day. But I was thankful that I was still able to teach my lessons despite the rain.
For the first part of the workshop we sketched the villa from the bus and then we sheltered in the side arcade and sketched the corner column. I was thankful that Palladio designed this ionic column so that it turned the corner. We then had our first fantastic tour by Monica, local art historian.
Lunch at the winery associated with Villa di Maser included these amazing platters of cheese and ham.
In the afternoon we explored the nearby town of Asolo. The local children are very cute but often become a little too interested in what we are doing. When they blocked my view mid-demo, I decided the only thing I could do was to sketch them,
During this afternoon the group was free to sketch whatever they wanted. I always love seeing how different everyone’s subjects are.
Here are two of my sketches from the afternoon.
At one point I looked up and noticed a huge tower that I hadn’t seen before! I’m normally totally focused on the sketchers so often forget to look up.
Another amazing dinner at Due Mori restaurant in Asolo.
Villa Emo: Another Palladian Villa and my quick sketch during Monica’s tour.
I love how different the back of the villa is.
I then did a staged demo of a technical perspective drawing of the villa. I don’t normally work this way, but I do think it’s important that you understand how to draw buildings in perspective like this. Great work everyone!
Earlier in the morning while the group were inside the villa, I bought a paperback copy of Palladio’s “The Four Books of Architecture”. I then referred to it constantly during the rest of the week, especially if people had questions. This book is full of practical descriptions of the architecture of Rome, and Palladio’s own work and it’s what many architects in the past have used to create their own work (eg. Thomas Jefferson!).
I had a hardbound copy at home, but it was super special to be able to refer to it on location. (Serious Palladio fan-girl here, I know!)
Lunch and then sketching by the Brenta River. The town of Bassano del Grappa is another gorgeous town of this region which few people know about.
And here are the sketches from the group. This is a very hard scene to sketch and everyone did a great job.
On our final full day we returned to Vicenza and had a great morning workshop sitting on the steps of Palladio’s Basilica, doing a measured sketch of his elaborate Loggia opposite.
In the afternoon I had one on one sessions with everyone, and then we shared our favourite sketch. So this is a throwdown of favourite sketches.
Then it was time for the final dinner. And yes, I took the Four Books with me. We also shared our sketchbooks and had a wonderful postcard exchange.
What a fantastic week! Thanks to everyone in the group who made it so special – miss you all!
Thanks again to Mike for being such a wonderful tour director.
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And now it’s time to do it all again with a different group!
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