Monday, 31 December 2012

Venice - Day 5 & 6

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas time. Here my last post about my recent trip to Venice with six paintings done in my last two days. (Click here if you have missed my first post and second post). 


The fog was still there so we made the most of the magical touch it brought to Venice. In the morning, Haidee and I decided to tackle the Salute from the Accademia Bridge. Here is the result:

Salute Maria della Salute from the Accademia bridge in the fog     16"x9"  oil on board

Here is my set up just as I was about to start:

As I was painting, I saw someone waving at me from the waterbus; it was fellow painter Tim King who was about to join us on the bridge to paint.


The painting at the end of the session

Afterwards, Haidee and I decided to head to San Barnaba which offered many painting opportunities. Here is the little painting I did on the spot. I loved painting the gondola and observing people in the square:

View from the Ponte dei Pugni   10"x8"   oil on board

For this painting we set up again on a bridge, much smaller than the Accademia Bridge so we tried to take as little space as possible and not disturb people. It seemed locals tend to use the right side of the bridge to go one way and the left to go the other way, just like a two ways road. I remember an old lady crossing the bridge that looked at us with complete indignation as she realised she had to change her usual route and cross the bridge on the left side instead as we were on her way. I think she was literally about to call the police! 

Haidee and I in action


My painting towards the end

After a delicious hot chocolate at the café next door, Haidee and I set up for a last painting on an other bridge just around the corner. I know, 3 bridges set up a day seems like a lot but really we just couldn't get enough of disturbing people by standing in the way!

What caught our eyes was the amazing light of the vibrant Venetian red buildings creating great reflections in the water. Here is the result:

Bridge near Campo San Barnaba   10"x7"  oil on board

The original picture below doesn't truly show the beautiful light as it was taken when the sun had gone:

As we were painting, a tourist shouted at his friend "Look! Picasso painting!". Then he came closer to have a better look at the paintings and turned around with a disappointed look on his face to rectify to his friend "No Picasso". It would be rude if it wasn't so funny...


The painting towards the end 


On the last painting day, we were greeted by a beautiful sunrise and the view towards the Piazetta was the perfect spot to capture this magical moment. Here is my little study of the place: 

Piazzetta in the morning 2   10"x7"   oil on board

The painting towards the end

Haidee and I were standing on those tables already set up for the high tide. As we were painting the water started to cover the low parts of San Marco Piazza but didn't quite reach us. Still, the excitement was enough to make us feel like we were courageously braving the elements for the sake of our Art!


Afterwards, to reward ourselves for our efforts, Haidee and I decided to treat ourselves to a nice cup of hot chocolate at the famous Café Florian on San Marco Piazza. I know we had many hot chocolates during this trip, but this was something special... I can't stop thinking about it!

After the luxurious Café break, we went for a hard transition for our next painting with the smelly fish market! I had been meaning to paint there all week so this was our last chance. Unfortunately we arrived a bit late as they started packing up when I was just starting to paint. I decided to give it a go anyway and managed to do a little study in less than an hour:

Fish Market, Venice   12"x9"   oil on board

Below you can see my set up amongst the buckets of seafood. My feet were swimming in a pond of smelly fishy water. I had to bin my lucky painting cloth after it fell on the floor - no washing machine would have got that smell off! Still, this was worth it, this place is so vibrant and full of life - a real treat to paint!

This was really a race against time but it was really fun and I think this rush probably pushed me to keep things fresh and spontaneous. 


After this I had time only for one last painting before the light had gone so I headed back to San Marco with fellow painter Stuart Fullerton. It was raining so we took shelter underneath the alcoves at the end of the square. The rain made lovely reflections on the pavement and the people with umbrellas brought colours and movement to the scene.

San Marco Basilica in the rain, late afternoon   12"x9"   oil on board

This was the scene as we arrived:

But the light was disappearing fast and half way through the painting I had to put my fashionable head torch on to complete my silly hat look.

The rain became stronger and was now reaching my painting so what started as an oil painting turned out to be more like a watercolour! It became very dark quite soon so I had to call it a day.


The day after we were on our way back to the airport - here is a picture of the four of us posing in San Marco Piazza before heading back. It was high tide so the whole Piazza was flooded.

Tim King, David Pilgrim, Haidee Jo Summers and myself

What a great trip it was. I hope I'll be there soon to paint again. I wish you all a fantastic year 2013! 

My paintings are available for sale directly from me or through a gallery and can be shipped worldwide. Prices depends on size and subject and generally range from £100 to £500. Please email me to check prices and availability at


  1. Valerie, I like how you include the photos of what you paint. It really shows in this case how you can take a scene and produce a work of art that is more interesting and nicer looking than the original. Happy 2013.

    1. Thank you Douglas! I wish you a fantastic year 2013 and looking forward to seeing your paintings on your blog.