Monday, July 12, 2010

Canale Grande

I was recently asked if the painting on the Epperson invitation was mine. In fact it is.
It's a painting I did a few months ago based on a photo I took from a vaporetto while leaving Venice. We were heading to the train station very early one morning and the light was magical.
I haven't worked from a photo in many, many years. So this was an experiment to see if I could ignore a lot of the extraneous information and make a painting that isn't too stiff, a common problem with painting from photos. One thing I did was I used a black and white print. This allowed me to create my own color palette and it was fuzzy enough that I couldn't rely on it for much information aside from some values.
So working from the photo was okay this time. Otherwise this image would never have been painted: the viewpoint is essentially impossible, since it was from a moving vaporetto, and the quality of light only lasted about another 15 minutes.


  1. I can't thank you enough for posting this piece and describing your process. This painting is mesmerizing and hauntingly beautiful and your description of how you carefully filtered your photo reference and combined it with your memory of the experience is great. Dealing with photographic reference is something that isn't discussed by painters and I appreciate your honesty about how you deal with photos as a tool.

  2. Thanks for the comment. My first watercolor teacher had us paint from photos, and I found it an empty exercise after awhile. I hadn't used a photo in years, but with enough discretion, they can be a useful tool, especially when the subject and atmosphere are fleeting.