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May 7, 2012

Venice Preview Sketches #14, 15, and 16

I made an accordion-folded watercolor "sketchbook" for me to practice sketching scenes in Venice before our trip and these 3 pages complete my Venice Previews.  All of the sketches were done from photos that I took in 2002, before I started to keep sketchbooks or travel journals. 

A blog reader said that they would like to know what my experience is like - after arriving in Venice - based on my preliminary sketchbook painting.  Even before I leave, I feel as if I have more confidence in my ability to paint water and the crumbling texture of the plaster over brick walls of the buildings.  I also know how difficult it is to make accurate drawings of the ornate columns on the most famous buildings.  But most importantly, I have a wonderful sense of freedom because I will always have these 16 journal paintings that will be part of my Venice experience - and I will now be more spontaneous and sketch my daily sights and experiences, "in the moment."

San Maggiore from Piazza San Marco:

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Details - Ca' D'Oro

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A Random Canal, Tower Photo I took:  Maybe I'll recognize the Tower when we arrive in Venice

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April 10, 2012

Venice Sketches #12 and 13

I'm still sketching Venice scenes from my old photos in anticipation of our upcoming trip to Venice.  Painting canal water and showing the texture/decay of building surfaces are scarey to me, so I worked on both of those watercolor painting skills in these two paintings. 

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I started this project with two 30 inch strips of watercolor paper that I folded into accordion booklets.  Since I didn't carry any image over the folds, I'm now planning to cut each strip into two folios and bind these sketches into a small book with 4 folios and 16 pages.  This will be the first time that I sketch/paint first and bind into a book later.  I may decide that it is the perfect method for travel sketching.

The first 4 sketches and the accordion booklet can be seen here.

March 26, 2012

Venice Sketches - 5

I am still painting from photos I took in Venice in 2002, trying to anticipate some of the travel sketches I will make on our Spring visit.

This building had a very stained wall, and beautiful flowers in a windowbox under the window.

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I did this canal sketch in pencil and then used a dip pen, Winsor-Newton watersoluble brown ink, and my waterbrush.  My fear was that I could get lost trying to use traditional watercolors on all of the houses - and I was pleased that I could add color to a drawing very quickly.   

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March 16, 2012

Venice Painting Practice

I resumed my drawing/painting practice this week for our Spring trip to Venice.  The Print Studio at MoMA consumed all of my attention during much of February and the first week in March, pushing Venice down my priority list. 

I was concerned that I had no idea how to capture the wonderful patina and aging of the buildings, with exposed bricks and so many age spots.  Last week, Kate Johnson, in the videos from the second week of her Strathmore Workshop, demonstrated watercolor techniques that were perfect for me to try and yesterday I did my first painting of a very aged building from one of my 2002 photos. 

Cathy (Kate) Johnson is a master of watercolor and author of many books.  She is extremely generous with her knowledge and shares so much with those of us who follow her website and blog, buy her books, and take her online classes.  I LOVE her free online Strathmore workshop and hope that everyone knows that she is the teacher for March.  You can register and access the 4 weekly classes until August.

In this small painting, I used wax paper, dripping, and spatter - with some blotting to try to get the changes in surface texture that I wanted. 

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February 10, 2012

Venice Sketches - 3

I continue to do some Venice sketches in preparation for our Spring trip.  I went through my photos from previous visits, 10 and 20 years ago, and made a computer folder of some to sketch.  And now I'm working my way through them at least 1-2X/week.  Here are my latest 3.

I'm really enjoying getting to know a little bit more about the architecture of the most iconic buildings.  The big question - how much will I sketch while there?  I'm pretty good about making myself fill one page per day - quickly.  But I want to be looser, and sketch little bits and pieces whenever we sit down for a little while - and fill more than one page daily. 

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