View Full Version : Venice Sketchbook

Joan T
09-02-2010, 11:05 AM
I just came back from a month and a half in Venice, with one side trip to Tuscany. I did over 80 small paintings and a few sketches that I will be posting over a span of time, so I hope you'll join in to see some of them.

I just loved all the gondolas on the canals. I found if I sat in one place for a while I could start on one gondola and the next one would pass by shortly after and I could add to the sketch from that one. It works well.

Joan T
09-02-2010, 11:12 AM
The buildings there are just awesome. Sometimes the views were a bit daunting, but I kept right on going. lol These were all painted with my small W&N field kit, my waterbrush, and my micron pen.

Joan T
09-02-2010, 11:14 AM
Most mornings I would head over to the Realto Market which had a big section of produce and fish for sale. It was sometimes hard to keep out of the way of the shoppers.

Joan T
09-02-2010, 11:18 AM
In addition to wandering the streets in the heart of Venice, I took several trips to the other islands in the Venetian lagoon. The first painting below was done on the colorful island of Burano, where they make lace. The houses are all these wonderful colors! The second painting was done of a restaurant on the island of Murano, where the Murano glass making is done.

I will try to post more of the paintings tomorrow. After being gone so long I need to go out and do some grocery shopping. Ciao!

09-02-2010, 12:10 PM
Hi Joan,

These are great! Colorful and well composed, they make me feel like I should visit - even though I'm not much of a traveler. Nice to see this addition to the forum!

09-02-2010, 12:11 PM
Forgot to ask...what size are the sketches?

09-02-2010, 01:15 PM
Great to see you home again Joan. What a wonderful collection of paintings. I will keep coming back to see more and more. Over 80, you were a busy lady, but what a great reminder of an amazing place.

09-02-2010, 01:38 PM
Super sketches Joan I'm so :envy: of you spending 6 weeks in Venice.

I look forward to seeing more.


09-02-2010, 07:56 PM
Welcome home! I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around 80 paintings - and yes, I know they are small. :-) I can't wait to see them in person.


09-02-2010, 08:11 PM
Welcome home, Joan! WOW! These are incredible. They are perfectamundo, absolutely fantastic travel sketches. Every one of them is packed with life, color and detail, every one says something different about Venice and makes me wish I could go -- and could do scenes as well as you do. The light, loose pen work is so delightful and your painting is brilliant. Good strong colour and dramatic values from the W&N Field Box ... I am going to have to get mine out and have a go at some good postcard-sized landscapes.

09-02-2010, 11:05 PM
Ditto! I am so in awe of your dedication, what a wonderful way to capture memories! Your washes are so clean and pure - the colours are beautiful - I look forward to "seeing" Venice through your paintings! :)

09-02-2010, 11:18 PM
Welcome back. What an awesome trip you had. The paintings are so lovely. Looking forward to the rest of them, to see Venice through your paintings.

Vivien Maloney
09-03-2010, 12:40 AM
Welcome back Joan. What wonderful paintings! They are gorgeous full of color and light. Can't wait to see more.

Joan T
09-03-2010, 12:55 PM
John - Thanks. It is definitely worth traveling to see Venice. These are all 4 x 6 postcard sized paintings.

Jacqui - Thank you. I averaged 2 paintings most days. It kept me very busy.

Doug - Thanks so much. Painting and sketching while traveling is such fun.

Mickey - We'll have a viewing day at your house soon. Thanks.

Robert - Thanks! I had my trusty supplies and my painter's stool (which was worth it's weight in gold). I just went for it, no matter what the weather was outside.

Jackie - Thank you. Glad you are enjoying them.

Debby - Many thanks!

Viv - Thanks so much. I felt like I was gone forever. I enjoyed it but it is good to be home.

Every time I turned around there was another scene waiting to be painted. Most of the time I left people out of the paintings, but some of the bridges had so many people walking across them that I had to include a few.

Joan T
09-03-2010, 12:59 PM
I had a pass for the vaporettos that went around Venice and to the other islands in the lagoon. I spent many afternoons on Lido which is one of the barrier islands for the Venetian canal. These are sketches done at or near the beach of the kit vendor, the drink/snack cart on the beach, and a food vendor just outside the beach entrance. Lido is where the Venice Film Festival is being held this month.

I'll be back soon with more.

09-03-2010, 06:47 PM
You got so much detail in your paintings I was surprised to learn they were only 4x6. Lovely.

09-03-2010, 09:41 PM
All great, but reallllly like the last two beach scenes - what fun! ;)

09-04-2010, 01:47 AM
You do such a great job with the people!

Great beach scenes! :-) I know you had to get some beach paintings in there. LOL

Vivien Maloney
09-05-2010, 10:38 PM
Beautiful and I love the beach scenes.

09-06-2010, 12:35 AM
Oh yay! I was hoping you'd create a sketchbook thread so I could enjoy your Italian sketches in one place :) :) :)

Love the people waiting to buy goodies at the food cart by the beach.

09-06-2010, 02:52 AM
Ayo, superb work of your Italian sketches!

09-07-2010, 05:46 PM
how amazing to have so long there and what a lovely memory these sketches are going to be to look back on

09-07-2010, 06:41 PM
I'd LOVE to visit my relatives in Rome, Italy. Maybe someday. Even it'd be very cool if I could go visit my grandpa's old town where his parents were from, until they moved to America in the 1900's.

Joan T
09-09-2010, 11:09 AM
Debby, Jackie, Mickey, Viv, EP, Crystal, & Vivien - Thanks so much. I treasure each one of these.

Rachel - I say go for the trip to Italy!!!! Want company?

Joan T
09-09-2010, 11:17 AM
This first painting was done on the island of Burano where they make lace. I was in love with the colors of their buildings. It is a fishing village also, so there are usually lots of boats around (that I very often eliminated). lol

The second painting is of a pensione right along the canal. While I was sitting there the water was up pretty high, so I assume during "high water" they have problems with flooding. Many of the buildings in Venice don't use the ground floor for that reason.

Joan T
09-09-2010, 11:22 AM
Any time I saw a brick wall in front of a residence I wanted to be able to unlock the gate and get inside. lol This one with the openings and the foliage peeking out really intrigued me.

The second painting is of a lovely restaurant in a sunny square. After I finished this painting I realized there were other artists around who were also painting. They were with an art group that came from the UK.

Joan T
09-09-2010, 11:24 AM
Some of my favorite spots to focus on were those crumbling brick walls along the canals. Each spot had its own charm.

I will be back with more shortly. Stay tuned.

09-09-2010, 11:46 AM
Joan, these are so magnificent! Thank you for posting more of them. I need to practice more with buildings and proportion, you've gotten every detail and captured the charm of these places so well. They could be nowhere else in the world. The peeling plaster on the last one and bits of brick work showing are fantastic.

It must have been so much fun running into the UK art group too! Looking at the people in the cafe, some of them look bent over as if they're drawing. That's so cool. Again, everything is so natural and proportioned so perfectly, with great perspective.

The colors of the buildings in Burano are so cheery. I love that sort of warm-climate exuberance in building colors, most of the time if I look at normal American suburbs everything's so dull. Absolutely gorgeous series! Thank you for recording this in so much detail - it's drawing me to go there someday much more than any number of photos could.

09-09-2010, 11:58 AM
Great paintings, Joan! I'm really enjoying looking at your work. I can't imagine what it's like over there. I bet it's a whole other 'world' in that country. I know someday I'll make it over there, as well Ireland, too! Ireland is where my grandmother's side resides. I know for sure, when I do go to these places, I'll bring my handy sketchbook along and finally use as a archive/journal for the trip. :)

09-09-2010, 10:55 PM
These are so lovely, Joan!! I can't wait to see more!!

09-10-2010, 03:40 AM
These are marvelous. Such an awesome remembrance of your trip. Better than photos.

Joan T
09-10-2010, 11:45 AM
Robert - Thanks. I agree with you. The buildings in Venice all have such color and texture. They call out to be painted. I did over 80 of these little paintings, so uploading them will take me a while.

Rachel - Thanks. I love traveling to places that are different, but I will sketch anywhere. lol Ireland is on my list to visit soon.

Leslie - I'm out of time today, but will post more soon. Thanks. I'm glad you are enjoying them.

09-10-2010, 06:48 PM
Hi Joan,
Welcome home! The paintings are all marvelous. I follow your blog pretty closely so I've also loved seeing them during your trip. I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE a trip like that! If I ever get the funds to make it happen, I'll have to pick your brain for lodging, etc. Thanks again for sharing all these gorgeous paintings!

09-10-2010, 07:47 PM
The crumbling walls are so cool. I hope they don't leak! Eeek!

Joan T
09-13-2010, 01:29 PM
Dena - Glad you are enjoying them. It was a great painting opportunity.

EP - Thanks. I really got into those crumbling structures.

Of course every picture has a story. We had a few really rainy days while we were in Venice. I didn't want to stay inside so I looked for a covered spot to sit. Well, just about every portico was filled with soaking wet tour groups trying to get out of the rain. I walked down to one of the vaporetto stops. Luckily there was a canvas shelter over the ticket booth and the area in front of it where the maps of the vaporetto stops were. I found a spot to set up my painting chair under the canopy. I couldn't put my backpack down on the ground because it was so wet, so I had to do the entire painting with the supplies I needed balanced on my lap, and my backpack on my back. Luckily I work small. Now I realize I should have painted in some of the puddles on the ground that day.

Joan T
09-13-2010, 01:33 PM
The next painting is my only attempt at a night painting in Venice. I sat near the Realto Bridge to capture of the restaurants across the canal.

Joan T
09-13-2010, 01:35 PM
This was done at the edge of the park in the Santa Elena area of Venice, which was quiet and not as touristy.

Joan T
09-13-2010, 01:37 PM
The first painting is of a hotel along the Grand Canal, and the second painting was done back on the island of Burano.

09-13-2010, 01:44 PM
Triumph in adversity Joan ;)

Wonderful sketches which really do convey the amazing architecture of Venice.

I look forward to seeing more.


09-13-2010, 04:20 PM
Hi Joan,

These are all just excellent! What a great travelogue you've created. You mentioned ground floors sometimes not being used because of high water...I think I recall from an art history class that the issue there is basically that the city is slowly sinking on the pilings. Is that the case, if you know?

09-13-2010, 10:16 PM
Wow! Still more spectacular paintings. I love the rainy day one, agree with you on the puddles. Gorgeous night scene, it looks like the area's so brightly lit but not much like daylight. Beautiful scene of the hotel, makes me wish I was there looking at the iconic gondolas and canals and historic buildings. Very cool ones on Burano too in all those mad bright colors.

You've captured the feeling and character of Venice in these, everything's familiar from so many documentaries and photos, yet yours are timeless and elegant, they seem truer than what I've seen in many other sources.

09-13-2010, 10:41 PM
More wonderful paintings. What a fantastic collection you have created. I feel like I am on holiday with you. Beautiful. And there is more to come, yeah.

Joan T
09-14-2010, 05:19 PM
Doug - Thanks. I usually was able to do at least one painting, if not two each day.

John - Thank you. Yes the city is slowly sinking. All the buildings were built on pilings. They are replacing some of them, but not fast enough.

Robert - This is my little documentary on Venice. Glad you are enjoying the trip.

Jacqui - Thanks. It is fun to post these and write the comments as I think about each spot.

I am trying not to post duplicates of these, but if I do please bear with me. I started posting them from the zip drive that my friend in Tuscany was able to load for me, but that was long before I finished. I loaded most of them onto a CD when I got home, but it is hard to remember which ones I already posted. I will do my best.

Joan T
09-14-2010, 05:28 PM
This first painting is of Hotel Bauer which was directly on the Grand Canal near the St Mark's vaporetto stop. The second painting is of the Ponte de la Chiesa...although how they can narrow down that bridge to be called the "Bridge of the Church" when there are so many churches with bridges is beyond me.

09-14-2010, 05:48 PM
I'm thrilled to see more of Venice through your brush Joan. I had around 4 hours there, how I would love to spend two weeks :envy:


09-14-2010, 06:52 PM
These two are so beautiful. You captured so many wonderful scenes. Your hotel looks so lovely. Wish I was there. I guess they named the bridge before a lot of the other churches got built? Did anyone know which church it referred to?

09-14-2010, 08:37 PM
Joan, these are so beautiful - a wonderful personal way to remember your trip. Are you going to frame any of these? I think they would look fantastic as a little group on the wall.... ;)

09-15-2010, 12:04 AM
Marvelous! Splendid! You captured so many every day moments but it's all Venice.

Joan T
09-15-2010, 11:18 AM
Doug - Thanks. 4 hours would be time for a few sketches. lol I would be so frustrated there with a time limit.

Robert - Thank you. I guess if I walked a bit from that spot I would have found the church being refered to by the sign.

Jackie - Thanks. I don't know yet what I'll do with these. I have a collection of sketches from my trips to Europe.

Debby - Thanks so much.

This next one is of a balcony on a building in Lido. I loved the striped canopy.
The second one I did is of the souvineer stands just outside St Mark's. I had seen a book of Venice sketches in the bookstore there and the artist had done one of this area, so I went off to find a spot to see the railing and all the stands behind it...easier said than done. I ended up sitting on a boat loading dock, and every time the boat came in I worried about being knocked off the dock.
The third one was also done on Lido and is of a restaurant/hotel near the vaporetto dock.

In case you are wondering why I was on Lido so often I'll tell you. I would go out every morning and paint from about 9:30 to 12:30. By that time I would be very hot and head by vaporetto over to Lido where the beaches are. I would spend the rest of the day there. Some days I would go to Lido a bit earlier and do one of my morning paintings there.

09-15-2010, 11:27 AM
Jackie - Thanks. I don't know yet what I'll do with these. I have a collection of sketches from my trips to Europe.

You could put them together in a photobook Joan, easily done on line.


Joan T
09-15-2010, 11:35 AM
Now I'm switching over to the CD of the painting images. Now I have the actual titles of each painting. But again, I will try not to post anything that was already posted if I can.

When I knew I was going to Venice I contacted an internet friend who lives in Tuscany. I suggested that we meet in Florence for a day if she was free. Robyn thought that was one option, but asked if I would like to come visit her Tuscan town. I decided to do that. Robyn Sinclair is a WetCanvas member and moved with her husband from Austrialia to the lovely town of Castiglion Fiorentino. Aside from getting slightly lost on the way to visit her, it was a wonderful trip and she and her husband were so gracious and welcoming. I felt like I had a personal tour guide of her town. One morning we set ourselves up to sketch down one of her streets. She lives in an old, historical, walled city with steep streets and narrow alleyways. This first painting is "Castiglion Fiorentino Calle."

When I was leaving to go back to Venice Robyn and I took the train early in the morning to Firenze (Florence) to do a little exploring and shopping. We stopped at a Fabriano store where they sold Lamy pens. I had heard about them from other artists I admire on the internet and had checked them out, but wasn't sure what to buy. With Robyn's guidance I bought a Lamy Safari pen and 2 refillable cartridges so I can work with any color ink I want. We filled up one cartridge at lunch, so I had it with me when I went back to the train station to go back to Venice. Robyn's train left earlier than mine because mine was delayed, so I used my new Lamy pen to sketch "Firenze Santa Maria Novella" while I waited. Touching the ink before it dried completely with my waterbrush gave me some nice bleeding to shade the sketch.

09-15-2010, 11:44 AM
Glad you found the Lamy Safari Joan. I use an extra fine nib, but they are quite cheap and easy to change.


09-15-2010, 07:58 PM
oh Joan, these are all lovely! I too love that canopy - it screams Europe to me (I actually was thinking it looked quite Parisian!). The last two are wonderful - I really like the alleyway but the plain pen sketch is so good - I like the looseness, you just got the scene down quick, great stuff!

It must have been lovely to meet a wetcanvas friend in person! It sounds like a fantastic trip...... :)

09-15-2010, 11:08 PM
Your art is so vibrant. And your sharing of what and where so delightful.

Joan T
09-16-2010, 11:20 AM
Doug - At Robyn's suggestion I also bought an extra fine nib in addition to the one the pen came with. I'm glad I did.

Jackie - Thanks. A lot of the places in France and Italy look very similar.

Debby - Thank you. I'm enjoying sharing them.

Joan T
09-16-2010, 11:25 AM
"View from Calle Toletta" was done in an area I found myself going back to several times because it was so scenic.

I did several trips to Burano which is about a 40 minute boatride from Saint Mark's Square. It was so colorful.

Joan T
09-16-2010, 11:30 AM
I was enchanted by the crumbling bricks and did quite a few paintings focusing on the bricks and doorways. "Bricks Along the Canal" is one of them.

Some of the buildings, hotels mostly, had docks in front of them with colorful striped poles. They added a lot of color like in "Red Stripses on the Canal."

The hard part in Venice was seeing a spot I wanted to paint but not being able to find a way to sit across from it and paint. Large areas along the Grand Canal especially, have no access without going through the building itself.

Joan T
09-16-2010, 11:33 AM
A few times in the evening after dinner I set up a still life to paint. This is a larger painting (7 x 10) which is not in my actual sketchbook, but I'll show it anyway. I saved the prosecco bottle and it's pieces for a few days before doing "All That Remains."

09-16-2010, 11:48 AM
Joan, these are just absolutely wonderful! I'm so impressed with all your work here. The buildings are so well done - very inspiring. :clap:

09-16-2010, 07:42 PM
More great stuff. This is fun.

09-16-2010, 08:44 PM
These are very nice Joan. I especially like that view of the weathered wall, but then I'm always a sucker for weathered stuff.


09-16-2010, 11:48 PM
These are so beautiful. I love the red striped awnings. The Lamy pen ones are great too. The wine bottle approaches photorealism. Striped poles one is lovely.

The crumbling bricks one is magnificent.

View from Cafe Toletta is spectacular too. Some of these latest ones are very refined, even more than they've been before the trip. I can see that during the trip your sketching became a little tighter sometimes - not in a bad way, in a refined way, not like overtight but just easy and accurate. At the same time your colors became richer and your darks deeper, your brights more saturated - all of your paintings are stronger than before you left and I can see the progression.

I think the light in Venice must have been warm and beautiful to inspire you this much. Every time you post these are even better!

09-17-2010, 09:23 AM
these are so beautiful, i have been following this thread for some time, and just had to add my comment.
i must have received a dudd field box, mine certainly does not work the same as yours.
i just love your use of colour.
thanks for sharing

Joan T
09-18-2010, 11:44 AM
John - Thanks so much.

Debby - Thanks.

David - Thanks. I'm the same way with weathered stuff. Show me something that looks like it needs TLC and I'll love it.

Robert - Thank you! I think as I got more practice painting that environment, my paintings did change for the better.

Janine - Thanks. Sometimes I needed several layers to get the colors I wanted.

This is "Pischina Frezzeria" where we had our apartment. We were in a building on the left which isn't showing in the painting. We were right near one of the popular gondola canals, so if the windows were open we could hear the gondoliers singing.

Joan T
09-18-2010, 11:50 AM
This is "Squero San Trovaso" where the gondolas are maintained and repaired. It looked like it should have been a movie scene. When I wen to paint this it was a cloudy day and I knew that rain was a definite possiblility. I sat in the doorway of a business that was closed for vacation. It was right across the canal from this scene. At first all was well, but then it started to drizzle. I was still dry. Then it started to rain harder and the rain was bouncing off the street. I was afraid the paper would get wet, so I stood up and scrunched as far back into the doorway as possible. Finally it was pouring so hard that I couldn't see across the canal. I packed up everything, put up my small umbrella, and ran to the nearest covered area to wait for the rain to let up. Of course that was everyone else's idea too, so there were a lot of people under the covered area. I stood there for about 10 minutes and the rain hadn't let up, so I put out my painting stool, and sat down and finished the painting while it was still fresh in my mind.

09-18-2010, 12:54 PM

I so agree about weathered , distressed surfaces being great to paint. It's one of the things I like about France compared to Germany - the French leaved old wooden doors to weather and rot - the Germans paint and maintain and keep things neat. I like the French way :>)

09-18-2010, 06:16 PM
More lovely paintings. Love the stories behind them too.

09-18-2010, 06:27 PM
Joan - wow! These are all absolutely outstanding, every single one of them! You are able to capture the atmosphere completely in all your paintings. Beautiful! Look forward to more :-)

09-18-2010, 06:52 PM
I love seeing these. I look at them and love the images. I also dream of the day I will attempt to document a trip in a similar fashion. Seeing yours definitely inspires to believe that I can attempt that and enjoy it! I love them, Joan.

Do you use a small block? or individual precut cards? I'm already planning what I'll pack one day whenever I am able to do anything like this. :)

09-18-2010, 09:04 PM
Joan, yes! Something about the trip, your need to observe unfamiliar scenes, has kicked both your accuracy and your color up another big notch. And that's when you were already that good when you left. I love that alley with the apartment buildings. There's so much depth. You seem to have a lot more confidence with buildings now late in the Venice paintings.

The scene you finished from memory is so gorgeous. Thank you for a great story too, that must have been crazy. I'm so glad your paintings didn't get soaked and ruined. Good warning to me to bring along a plastic bag or something when I go out, in case I wind up watercoloring in the rain.

Joan T
09-21-2010, 04:19 PM
Vivien - Thanks. You are right about Germany. Their buildings are too perfect.

Debby - Thank you. Glad you like the stories.

Rachel - More are coming. Thanks.

Leslie - Many thanks. I used 4 x 6 postcard sized blocks and then put them into a presentation book with plastic pages.

Robert - I appreciate your sweet comments. I had such fun doing these...even in the rain.

This is "Fondamente dei Preti dei Preti." I should look up what it means in Italian. I do know that a fondamente is a walkway along a canal.

09-21-2010, 04:25 PM
I am insanely jealous of your trip, LOVE Venice and NEED to go back there again! The paintings are lovely, what a wonderful way to spend a month!

Joan T
09-21-2010, 04:27 PM
This next painting also has a story. I took the vaporetto across the canal and walked a while looking for a spot to paint. I found this church, put out my painting stool, opened my backpack and looked for my supplies. I had my paper, and my field kit...but no micron pens and no brushes or waterbrush.:evil: I must have left some of the supplies out when I repacked my backback after doing grocery shopping in the morning. (I found that my backpack was the best way for me to carry purchases up and down the many bridges from the supermarket to our apartment.) There was no way I was going all the way back to the apartment. So I sketched the church in ball point pen and found a twig to use for a brush. To paint the building I used the twig and my fingers. I did the sky when I got back home later.

Joan T
09-21-2010, 04:33 PM
This next one is one of my favorites that I did. I sat right along the Grand Canal and painted the view across the water. I just loved the combination of colors and was happy with the way my gondolier came out. I call this "Gondolas Waiting."

The second painting is "Antica Tratoria Post Veccio" which I think means old tratoria with the very old posts. I took photos of this the first time I was in Venice, so I knew I had to paint it this time.

Joan T
09-21-2010, 04:38 PM
"Houses by the Canal" was done near the Giardini stop of the vaporetto, which was less congested and more residential than the heart of Venice.

"Canal Doorway" was one of the fun, crumbly buildings I got to paint. I loved painting the peeling plaster, exposed bricks, and old doors I found.

I will be back with more.

09-21-2010, 06:35 PM
With a stick and your finger? OMG!!! I'm impressed lol! Wonderful!

09-21-2010, 07:29 PM
LOL, me too!! These are all lovely, Joan! Thanks for sharing your materials info, too.

09-21-2010, 07:30 PM
You are very resourceful using what you had on hand to paint with. And the painting is such that one would never guess. I'm looking at that last one with the door sill just under water. Bet they don't use that door anymore. Lovely, all of the paintings.

09-21-2010, 07:44 PM
I love the Pischina frezzeria best. I can feel the age of the street.

09-22-2010, 10:17 AM
WONDERFUL work Joan, and what a story about painting the boat yard :thumbsup:


09-22-2010, 10:25 AM
Oh wow! So many more good ones. Love your church painting done with a twig and your fingers - yep, you can improvise with the best. Anything that can get paint onto the paper will work. You don't have the little brush that goes inside the field kit any more? Or did that just get left out because you hadn't packed it back into it?

All five of these are so gorgeous. Gondolas Waiting is so colorful and the trattoria with the two barber pole posts outside is splendid. Love the crumbling old building, those are among your best. The way you do the brickwork is perfect, something about your line accents is wonderful and I'm studying them. Houses by the Canal is lovely too.

I get the impression you do the watercolor first and then pick out deep darks with the pen, rather than the way I've been doing it with pen drawing first and then painting.

Also, what exactly is the vaporetto? I didn't quite get that, even though you keep mentioning it and I know it's a form of transportation. I've never heard of it, though the gondolas are great.

Joan T
09-23-2010, 11:20 AM
Genevieve - Thank you so much.

Rachel - Thanks. I've learned to improvise. lol

Leslie - I was just too lazy to pack up and go back for what I forgot. Thanks.

Debby - Thanks. I was out one day when Venice was having "high water" due to the combination of high tides, a full moon, and the weather conditions. This doorway bottom would have been covered with about 1 1/2 feet of water. I think the water getting inside the first floors of the buildings causes the walls to crumble so much. At least that is my theory.

Bootz - Thanks.

Doug - Thanks. I know you are a plein air painter too and you know how the weather doesn't always cooperate. lol

Robert - I'm sorry for not explaining. Vaporettos are the boats that are used like buses in Venice. They ride up and down the Grand Canal and the Venetian lagoon. Along the Grand Canal they make one stop on the right side and then the left side, zigzagging so people can get on and off on either side since there are only 3 bridges that you can walk across to cross the canal on foot. The vaporetto boats are great. That was our entertainment many nights...a scenic moonlit ride along the canal.
I'm not sure I even thought about the little brush inside the field kit. (I'm so used to using the waterbrush now.) As it was, I had to use a bottle cap to hold a bit of water. When I do the watercolors and ink, I usually start with the watercolor and then add the ink with the sepia pen, then do a bit more watercolor and a bit more ink. The ink works well for the crumbling brick and if I touch it with water right away it bleeds into the painting a bit which adds to the look.

I will be back soon with the next installment of these.

09-23-2010, 03:20 PM
Joan, I can believe it. The little brush inside the kit is tiny, more of a detail brush than anything else. If I paint just with that, I might as well do it as an ATC because my strokes will be proportional to that brush size. I think that's why they include the tiny bit of sea sponge, so you can use it to get broad areas and washes, then detail with the little brush. You found a creative solution!

Letting the ink bleed into the watercolor is a cool thing to do. That always looks so gorgeous the way you do it.

Joan T
09-26-2010, 01:37 PM
Robert - LOL I lost that sea sponge a long time ago. I even lost the cover that is supposed to be used for water. I hold mine together with a rubber band now. I feel the same way about the brush inside the kit. I only use it for real detailed work in the pieces...everything else I pretty much use the waterbrush to paint.

Here are a few more before I run off for the day.

"Ristorante Ivo" was a charming spot along one of the smaller canals. I should have tasted the food while I was painting.

"Fondamenta e Ponte del Albero" was done after I started sketching in a different spot, and a very official looking officer came out of the building I was sitting in front of and told me that for security reasons I had to move. It turned out to be some government office. So I moved down and found this spot.

Joan T
09-26-2010, 01:41 PM
I like how "Fondamente Contarini" came out with the reflection of the bridge in the water.

The rooftop garden in "Rio Tera' S Toma" really attracted me. I could imagine sitting there with a glass of wine in my hand as I enjoyed watching the gondolas and people passing.

Joan T
09-26-2010, 01:44 PM
My husband suggested I paint "Along Ria Della Salute." I had painted a group of buildings there before, but he really liked the buildings covered with ivy.

"Venetian Peaches" was one of my still life setups that I painted at night after I ran out of things to read and couldn't watch any more tv in Italian. These were as delicious as they look!

09-26-2010, 01:47 PM
Super scenes Joan, you really captured the essence of Venice.


09-26-2010, 02:59 PM
These last are gorgeous. Joan, you've got the feel of Venice and the light of Venice as well as the colors and perspective. The water looks so natural is all the canal scenes. Great story about getting run off for security reasons from painting the government building - sounds like something out of a thriller.

Beautiful Venetian peaches too. I bet they were tasty. The city is so full of ancient buildings and rich little gardens and roof gardens and vegetation that it calls to me. I would love to go somewhere like that with so much beauty.

09-26-2010, 06:34 PM
I am in awe. These are marvelous.

09-26-2010, 06:44 PM
Wonderful peaches :)

09-26-2010, 07:43 PM
Your sketching ability for architecture is just outstanding, and coupled with the great subject matter here, this journal just hits a home run!

09-27-2010, 08:06 AM
Joan, welcome home!!!!!!

I LOVE these paintings, everyone, tells a SPECIAL story, not just in the words that you write, but the paintings themseleves convay SO MUCH. They are each a story in themselves and are SOOOOO BEAUTIFUL.

Your ability at capturing the light and colour, the water and shadows, the changes through age and time, everything has developed so much from the first painting to now.

YOU SHOULD BE PROUD OF YOURSELF for such awe inspiring paintings that make me feel as if I was there with you.... and I wish I could be too!!!!!

THANKYOU for sharing and looking forward to the rest to come.

Joan T
09-28-2010, 02:24 PM
Doug - Thanks. I felt like a local by the time I was leaving Venice...too bad I didn't learn the language.

Robert - Thanks . I didn't think I looked like a security risk.

Debby - Thank you.

EP - Those peaches were mighty tasty. Thanks.

John - Thanks so much!

Stacey - Many thanks for your kind comment. I'm glad you've enjoyed seeing them.

Joan T
09-28-2010, 02:27 PM
I passed the spot with the arched entrance almost every day, and I knew I had to paint it. This is "Sotoportego Delcolone." There was a similar building attached on the right, but it wasn't as colorful as this side.

"Canalside Near Accademia" was painted from across the Grand Canal. There were so many lovely views.

09-28-2010, 02:28 PM
I especially like that archway :)

Joan T
09-28-2010, 02:34 PM
"Along the San Trovaso" was painted just down the canal from where the gondola workshop was located. This was one of the few grassy areas in the center of Venice.

I had a pass for the boats and ferries in the Venetian lagoon, so one day I took a trip to Pellestrina. I took the vaporetto over to Lido, and then boarded the bus. The bus went through the whole length of Lido and then drove directly onto a ferry, passengers and all. The ride took about 10 minutes across the water and we were on the island of Pellestrina. There was a long high seawall on one side and the town along the other side. I didn't know where to get off the bus, so I rode all the way to the end of the island. By that time most of the businesses were closed for the afternoon siesta, so I went over to the beach. The water was crystal clear so I took a swim and then sat on a boulder to paint "Pellestrina View."

Joan T
09-28-2010, 02:36 PM
The color of this door really caught my eye. It looked so lovely against the crumbling walls. This is "Canal Entry."

I will be back soon with a few more.

09-28-2010, 04:48 PM
Lovely, Joan! What a wonderful experience you've had!!

09-28-2010, 05:24 PM
This is better than a tour guide. Thanks so much.

09-28-2010, 06:33 PM
These are so perfect. I love Canal Entry. It's subtle and beautiful, the color of the door is a great counterpart to all the warm bricks. The archway is magnificent, that scene has wonderful depth. Pellestrina View is lovely, that sense of looking way up at the top of high rocks is great. That grassy area with the buildings surrounding is gorgeous too. They're all wonderful. Thank you for sharing so many incredible landscapes from your trip.

rue d'oak
09-29-2010, 01:46 PM
A remarkable series, Joan!

Joan T
10-01-2010, 12:28 PM
Leslie - I treasure every moment I spent there. Thanks.

Debby - Thank you. Sometimes I feel like a tour guide...now where is my microphone?

Robert - Thanks. I'm really enjoying sharing them and thinking back to each spot.

Jen - Thanks so much for coming over to look and comment.

For some reason I can't find the cd with the images to upload more of them today. I know it is somewhere around...

10-01-2010, 03:02 PM
Can't praise you enough Joan- wonderful work!

10-01-2010, 05:01 PM
THESE new additions are getting more and more special as we go, and even more well painted/composed/balanced... well basically EVERYTHING is getting better and better.... almost close to perfection each time!!!!!!

10-01-2010, 06:20 PM
Wonderfully refreshing and sooooooooooo Venice! :)

10-02-2010, 12:30 AM
Joan, I am so in awe of your sketches. I've been away from W/C! for quite a while and am just now discovering your Venice Sketchbook. Seeing it all at once is just overwhelming.

First of all, how fantastic to be able to visit and sketch in such a beautiful place for such a long time. And Robert is right that your sketches have gone up yet another notch - they are unbelievably good. I have always loved your pen and wash sketches and these bring back the great trip to Italy that I had a few years ago. I did not get to Venice, but did get to visit many of the towns and villiages in Tuscany, including Firenze. Your journal brings to life the landscape and the architecture and the colors - just wonderful.


Joan T
10-04-2010, 01:53 PM
Cairo - Thanks so much.

Stacey - Thanks. I think after a while the paintings just flowed easier. I really felt like part of Venice.

Dorice - Thanks so much.

Jean - Thanks! I enjoyed this trip so much. Being able to be there for so long was a big plus. Otherwise I would be rushing around like a crazy person trying to cram everything in at once.

"Buildings by the Park" was done near the Giardini vaporetto stop. It was a park right near the building with the arch and the laundry hanging that I already posted. I assumed the park was for the tenants, but imagine my surprise that anyone could enter it. These buildings were just at the back edge of the park.

"San Giorgio Maggiore Sunrise" was started when it was still very dark outside. I found a bench to sit at by one of the gondola stations. I was also trying to take photos of the sunrise while I was there, so I would paint for a few minutes, then go take a few photos, paint, take photos. I guess it worked.

Joan T
10-04-2010, 01:59 PM
There are lots of doorways along the canals and each one is a bit different. "Brown Door on the Canal" called to me. I think it was the design of the metal. I had to think a bit on how to paint it. I did the metal color first and then painted the darker negative areas.

"View to the Empty Fishmarket" I just had to do. Behind the red and blue shades the Realto Fish Market sets up. We stopped there most mornings to buy dinner for the day. The array of fish was wonderful. I kept meaning to paint it, but it was too messy and wet inside to stand there and paint. I went back later one day and was able to paint this version. A lot of people sit and picnic or relax along the canal so I included a few of them.

10-04-2010, 02:05 PM
Superb work Joan, hat door grille is wonderful.


Joan T
10-04-2010, 02:06 PM
"Morning Light on the Canal" is one of my favorite doorway paintings that I did. I liked the soft color of the door and the gentle morning sun making shadows on it.

"Over the Wall" was another rainy day painting. I started it sitting down but then it started to shower. I tried hiding in a doorway which worked for a few minutes, but then it started to really pour hard. I put up my umbrella and tried to paint holding it against the side of the doorway with my head and balancing my wc block and travel paints at the same time. I worked that way for a short time but had to stop because the umbrella kept slipping Luckily the rain stopped so I could finish painting like a normal person. lol

The next installment will be up soon. Ciao!

10-04-2010, 05:55 PM
The adventures you went through to get some of your paintings is amazing.

Speaking of amazing, the paintings themselves are amazing. All the different doors are marvelous.

10-04-2010, 09:23 PM
I love the "Over the Wall" story!! I also LOVE the door painting. :)

Joan T
10-06-2010, 11:26 AM
Debby & Leslie - Thanks so much. I find that plein air painting often has some challenges and stories no matter where you paint.

I usually started out to paint early before all the crowds were around. Sometimes I was lucky to find gondolas that were in one spot, like these in "Morning Lineup." I had just finished painting these when the gondoliers started getting their boats ready for the day.

"Fondamentine de l'Osmarin" was painted shortly after the one of the gondolas. This was in a rather non-touristy spot of Venice with a nice walkway along the canal. I was very impressed because when I was trying to decide where to paint next, I saw this young boy who must have been about 7 or 8 years old. He was sitting on an overturned plastic bucket, and had his cup of water and small watercolor paint set on the ground. He had a big pad of paper on his lap and he was painting one of the gondolas. I peeked over his shoulder to watch him for a few minutes. When he finished his first painting, he got up and moved to another spot to paint another gondola. He did three that I know of. The next thing I knew he was standing next to me watching me paint. I tried to get him to open his pad to show me the other paintings, but either he didn't understand me or was too shy to show me. I've never seen a child out plein air painting by himself.

Joan T
10-06-2010, 11:31 AM
"Corner by the Bridge" was done in a spot I returned to several times. There was a good view no matter when I sat.

"Lace and Linen Entry" was done in a spot right near Saint Mark's Square. It is the entrance of a shop that sells Burano lace and linens. The only place to sit was on a bridge just opposite it, which normally gets very crowded with tour groups. So I did this early in the morning, hoping to be finished before all the tour groups came through. I was almost successful, but there were a lot of people blocking my view, and nearly stepping on me as I finished. lol

10-06-2010, 12:32 PM
I'm enjoying watching these. I've always wanted to go to Venice and never made it

10-06-2010, 11:10 PM
Gosh, Joan, what an interesting story about the plein air painting boy! How cool that he was out early painting the gondolas. :)

10-06-2010, 11:14 PM
More wonderful adventures. How cool to find a fellow painter, even if he was just a little guy.

You found such interesting architecture to paint. It must have been wonderful that everywhere you looked there was a painting waiting to happen.

10-07-2010, 12:26 AM
I was very impressed because when I was trying to decide where to paint next, I saw this young boy who must have been about 7 or 8 years old. He was sitting on an overturned plastic bucket, and had his cup of water and small watercolor paint set on the ground. He had a big pad of paper on his lap and he was painting one of the gondolas. I peeked over his shoulder to watch him for a few minutes. When he finished his first painting, he got up and moved to another spot to paint another gondola. He did three that I know of. The next thing I knew he was standing next to me watching me paint. I tried to get him to open his pad to show me the other paintings, but either he didn't understand me or was too shy to show me. I've never seen a child out plein air painting by himself.

Cool!!! How old was he, do you think?

10-07-2010, 04:16 PM
I forgot to say - it was a lovely story about the little boy

Joan T
10-21-2010, 04:31 PM
Vivien - Glad you are still enjoying these.

Leslie - I'll have to attach the photo I took of him. I finally downloaded all of my photos from the trip onto cds.

Debby - Thanks. There were possible paintings everywhere.

EP - I think the boy was about 8 or 9 years old.

These were pencil/ink sketches that I did in a separate notebook. The figures were done at the beach and the sketch of San Georgio Maggiore was done while waiting for the vaporetto, with no pencil lines first.

Joan T
10-21-2010, 04:37 PM
This was done of the clocktower in Saint Mark's Square. I wanted to go into Saint Mark's Cathedral so I got on line early one morning before it opened. I brought my little sketchbook, pencil, and pen which all fit into a fanny pack. They make you check backpacks, so I wanted to be ready with something they wouldn't make me check. I was on line for about 45 minutes and was able to get this sketch done before going inside the church.

10-21-2010, 09:14 PM
Great people sketches. The clock tower is amazing.

10-21-2010, 10:23 PM
I love that landscape sketch and the clock tower!!

Joan T
10-23-2010, 11:34 AM
Debby - Thank you.

Leslie - Thanks.

Here are a few photos from the trip. The first is the little boy that I saw painting. I just can't get over the fact that he was out on his own painting. My husband took a few photos of me one day when I was painting in Burano, so I am including those too. You can see I travel light...just my tripod chair and my backpack.

10-23-2010, 11:41 AM
Wonderful shots Joan, amazing little boy.


10-23-2010, 12:25 PM
Wonderful shots Joan, amazing little boy.



10-23-2010, 03:34 PM
Wow. What a colorful scene!!! What a precious boy- that is amazing. Thanks for sharing the photos!

10-24-2010, 05:20 AM
great to see the photos as it gives context :) and the little boy is so focussed

10-31-2010, 07:05 AM
WOW Joan, what an amazing time you must have had in Venice! I love all the sketches and paintings you did.


10-31-2010, 07:22 PM
Great photos - gee those buildings are brightly coloured aren't they?!

What a nice feeling seeing the little boy painting like that - he might become one of fine art painters of the future.... So many kids today like computer games and tv too much to want to draw and paint - it makes me sad to think they are not using their wonderfully creative minds :(

11-01-2010, 02:05 AM
very kewl photo's.... the little guy is starting out right...