Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Quartet Inspired by Venice

Last year I made a series of paintings inspired by pictures of Venice. We went there some years ago now and I took beautiful photographs and have wanted to make something of them ever since. However, at the time I wasn't painting much and the moment passed. Since completing my Diploma it has given me the confidence to paint and has set me on the path of self discovery.

I started by looking at travel photos in magazines and my own pictures and found images that I wanted to translate into a figurative abstract painting. I decided on a small square format. The painting was inspired by gondolas and arches from the Doge's Palace. I didn't want nor could I paint like Canaletto or Turner, but I wanted to find my own style. I made some preliminary drawings in my sketchbook and used elements of these on the first canvas, seen here.

I started to block in areas of colour loosely in thin paint and, whilst painting, decided to lose the foreground image of the lamp as it was superfluous and cluttering up the foreground space, blocking the visual "way in" to the painting. I also took out the architectural horizontal line from the top of the painting as it "cut off" the visual flow through and the lamp post as the small size of the painting did not lend itself to fussy details.

The completed painting introduced water and more vibrant colours as well as extended curves introducing a dynamic quality and movement to the painting.  I subsequently used this technique in all four of the paintings in this quartet too giving a certain amount of unity. 

I completed three other paintings using the same pallet as in the first keeping the arch theme throughout.  One picture in a magazine had a banner saying Save Venice  "Salviamo Venezia".   Which I transformed to mirror writing in two of the images.  I reintroduced the lamp form, typical to Venice, in one image as I was really taken by it and wanted to use it somehow. 

This set of paintings can be viewed separately or together, either in pairs, triptychs or as the whole quartet.  It also inspired a second quartet of slightly more abstract images that I will introduce in my next blog.

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