View Full Version : Venice Canal

12-02-2003, 11:38 PM


Title: Venice Canal
Year Created: 2003
Medium: Oil
Surface: Canvas
Dimension: 20 X 24
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

Working a little looser, and playing the colors a bit. (I may have become a bit too enthusiastic with the colors after discovering the Fauves) I'm just shy of calling it done....needs a few tweaks.

Any and all comments. Does it need anything major/minor?

12-03-2003, 07:06 AM
how playful and serious
mottley sillouhettes and
reflectance merged into
a realistic scene

pero lane
12-03-2003, 11:30 AM
Love it....soft and loose! Good work!:)

12-03-2003, 03:05 PM
The colors definitely are not overdone. I find them even realistic. The water is very well done. I really like this. The only thing that bothers me a little are the green areas in the center. They distract from the overall muted red/yellow/blue color scheme. Maybe its because the green is opaque while the rest of the painting's colors are blended and transparent. Or maybe the green is just one color too many.

Alan Cross
12-03-2003, 03:35 PM
I love the colors and the feeling....well done.
Alan :)

12-03-2003, 07:16 PM
Very nice. You have captured the essense of the scene. My only suggestion would be to get a bit more light in the water. The sky is above the canal and although parts are darker some of the grey/blue of the sky will be in those darker spots as well. You will see them when the water is adjatated and of course in a Venice canal it always is.

Keep up the good work.


12-03-2003, 10:54 PM
Jerry: Thanks for the kind words - They almost have a Haiku feel

Pero: I'm glad you liked it. The loose style is quite a departure from my norm.

DuhVinci: I'm of two minds about the green. On one hand I agree with you, yet, as mentioned, I had planned on adding a bit more to it. Specifically, There are some flower boxes with geraniums which were in several of the windows, including the green shuttered ones. Additionally, there were red and yellow banners draped between the uppermost windows on the same house. I think the banners would draw the eye away from the center of the canvas - but was considering adding one or more flower boxes, which I thought in with the green windows. Then again, I kind of like it as is - so maybe I should just mute the green somewhat?

Alan: Thank you. I pushed the lights lighter and the darks darker to get more mood in it. I'm glad I succeeded at least a little bit.

xvallarta: In looking at the screen, I agree with you. I think I've already got that going, it just doesn't show on the computer. I'm still struggling to get a realistic photo of my paintings. I've tried direct sunlight, diffused sunlight, flourescents, and even went out and got color correct photography bulbs (used on this one) which I used to light the canvas up at 45 degrees on either side. Close.... but still lacking. Thanks for the insight and suggestion though.


12-03-2003, 10:57 PM
My favorite place to paint, wm.,and you have done a great job of showing why

lovely work

12-03-2003, 11:22 PM
Very nice! I like it a lot. I'd love to know what you decide about the green. I could see a little tweeking there.


12-03-2003, 11:27 PM
Pampe: Thanks! I went to the "Sargent in Italy" show at the LA county Museum of Art, and was BLOWN AWAY by all of it! Ye gads it was GREAT! I can certainly understand your love of the place. I have a few photos from a European vacation to work from, but wish I could spend months over there instead of just a week or two. Belgium has some great old towns and buildings too BTW, and the canals......... oy!

12-04-2003, 12:12 AM
I love it: the subject and the painting:)Colors are wonderful.
And I want to go to Venice again... Last time was two years ago;)


12-04-2003, 11:17 AM
I think the windowboxes and banners would add quite a bit to the piece. Do them both loosely and muted and they won't detract from the focal point. I do love the colors in this one, and the "feel" I get of being there.


12-04-2003, 12:04 PM
I am glad you agree with my suggestion....but now let me make a comment on the lighting problem.

Lets assume first you are not working on this painting but planning a new one. I would consider fluorescent natural light bulbs (sometime referred to as art bulbs). If you don't have a overhead fluorescent fixture then I would get a stand (like a tripod) and put in a reflector and art bulbs (fluorescent or otherwise.)

Now if your worried about this painting and lighting....stop!

You have reached the point in this work where you must make it YOUR WORK. Do not rely anymore on a photo you may have of the scene. Why? Because photos have a limited tonal range and will distort the reality of the scene they are taking to fit that range. Also most "automatic" shutter/exposure pictures "key" on the lightest light and therefore over expose the darker elements.

If it was not for that fact landscape painters might be out of a job.
It is behoven on us to interpret the reality and paint it as we want it to be. Some "punch up" colors....I refer you to the book RED HOT PAINTINGS THAT SELL...to see some extreme cases of this. Some of us transpose the painting into a condition that may not have existed at the time of the photo...such as convert a dull day photo into a foggy day painting.

Some change the composition...moving elements...removing elements...adding elements to the painting that are not shown in the photo. This is all part of the composition process. The last time you get to make the painting YOUR'S is at the stage you are at now. Do you want to add cracks in the walls? Add a gondola? Put in a bridge across the canal? Expose areas where stucco has fallen off and bricks are shown? Make the blue trim around the windows yellow or v.v? The list goes on and on.

Subtle improvements can be made by either scumbling opaque colors or applying thinned down glazes of transparent or translucent colors. You don't need special lights to do this work. Just enough light to see THE PAINTING YOU WANT TO SEE!

Try it you'll like it!

keep up the good work


12-04-2003, 02:24 PM
Thinking about the "problem" of the green. The yellow/off-white of the middle and upper right side is repeated over and over again as the eye moves back along the buildings. Likewise, the red of the lower right repeats along the buildings' facade. The green on the other hand seems plunked down in the middle of the painting which makes it a kind of focal point - but not a very satisfactory one.

In spite of my harping on the green, I really like this painting. I think the most satisfying thing about it is the way the eyes can follow from the darker, richer coloration of the forground back to the bright background. Along the way there are many wonderful color variations and shapes to consider. I'm afraid that the addition of banners or even flower planters could distract from the wonderful tapestry of windows, doors and walls as it stands now. I guess its just that I find the most appealling thing about it to be the overall look of the buildings with no one specific detail standing out from the others.

12-04-2003, 03:22 PM
The reds, the blues, the beige and the mossy green ... what a lovely pallette and congratulations on the reflections in the water. Great painting rendering Venice as it is, not the honeymoon place.

12-04-2003, 04:10 PM
I would not change a thing!:)It is very "Venice atmospheric" :)


12-04-2003, 05:22 PM
To all who have replied: many many thanks for your insight and suggestions - all taken to hart. To add a little perspective on where this came from, and to agree totally with Myles latest comments, I'm adding the reference picture I started with.

12-05-2003, 01:36 AM
You took a rather ordinary looking photo and made some magic happen with your painting!

12-05-2003, 09:03 AM
Very nice piece,I especially like the colors,The water is excellent as well.I think you created a very sensational piece..and look forward to your next.......Steve

12-05-2003, 12:17 PM
Nice work. Unlike typical Venice Canal paintings, the buildings don't have that exotic, baroque look. Instead, it's a more modern reflection of sobriety of things.

12-05-2003, 02:03 PM
I like your painting much better than the photo. I had a good light day today, overcast but briight and retook several of my painintgs. I just got a new camera for work and it is wonderful, I had been using a first generation digital, my new one is a Nikon D100 WOW , only problem is is cost more than my car...yes really. Bright overcast days seem to provide the best lighting for photographing painings, but I usually can't wait, I'm not very patient.


12-16-2003, 09:06 PM
I had to let this sit a little longer than planned, before finishing it. I muted the green colors in the center window shutters.... they weren't working with the rest of the composition. I also added the one window box of flowers to add just a little bit more interest to the center of the painting. Final image atteched.

I'm still trying to get an accurate digital image of my work... but this is close.

12-16-2003, 09:13 PM
The colors are eye catching. The water and reflections are flawless. (imho) Very nice work, wm. Put a fork in it, it's done.

12-16-2003, 09:52 PM
You see the lost edges in the most distant bdgs? That's nice! I would like to see more of that throughout. And more soft edges.

12-16-2003, 10:05 PM
Sorry, I didnt look at the second page! Looks better. I would like to see the windows, maybe some, bleed beyond their borders, instead of being so strictly contained.