Sketching in Venice and Amsterdam

morning on the canal, by frank eberAt first glance both cities have  a lot in common. The canals, nice old buildings and beautiful bridges–that’s about it. Oh yeah, and maybe the funky smell and the claustrophobic feeling of being surrounded by water at all times.
The biggest difference to me is that you seriously run the risk of being run over by crazy cyclists when exploring Amsterdam. They are everywhere, all the time and for some reason, its *your* responsibility to watch out and get out of their way. Yep, ultra-annoying.
That won’t happen to you in Venice, the worst thing there are probably the crowds. If you plan on going there, spring or fall is a better choice than summer.
Having said that, both cities are awesome, even more so from an artists perspective. You could spend a year in both places and never run out of things to paint. I know one artist who wouldn’t even go to Venice because she thinks the place is so “over-painted”, meaning so many artists have painted there over the course of centuries…
I don’t care–I look for my own views of any place I go to, it doesn’t matter if there were a thousand people here before me.
The hardest thing for me to paint is the water. It’s a greenish blue, more blue than green with some turquoise in it, I think. (It doesn’t look right in the picture, btw.)  I am not sure I got it right just yet, it may take another few paintings. I plan on doing at least 15 or more, we’ll see what happens but there will be a series of both places.

I don’t know where my art is going at this point. It may not look that way but I am really struggling with things right now. I love working on location and my sketches usually come out nice, but then I try to do a studio piece from references and I just hate it! It seems I just can’t figure out how to work from photographs. I get tight, nothing flows and my brushstrokes look awkward. I just seem to do a lot better when I am in front of what I paint. Has anyone else ever experienced anything like this?

I’ll try to post more often once I have more internet access.

6 thoughts on “Sketching in Venice and Amsterdam

  1. lesliepaints

    I would be one of those tight painters, Frank. I try not to place too much judgement on what I create, but just keep trying. I enjoy painting regardless. BUT I like trying new techniques and opening myself for experiencing what others talk about. There is something wonderful about paintings painted on site.They always look different and more full of life and experience, I think. Plus, it is always interesting to see how an artist has chosen to render a scene. You seem, to me, to be a TRUE plein air painter. I love this. Regardless of wether you like how you render water, it reads as water.

    1. frankeber Post author

      Thank you for those encouraging words, Leslie! Maybe I shouldn’t place too much judgment on what I create either. I tend to be overly critical of my work. It’s good and bad at the same time – sometimes, it’s bad – when I end up not liking anything I do. Your words certainly ring true, thanks for leaving a meaningful comment!

  2. Carol King

    I’ve been looking through your paintings and they are all so beautiful. I laughed at how you said Venice was a bit claustrophobic. I’m with you there. Beautiful too, though. Just like your painting.

    1. frankeber Post author

      Thank you, Carol! I appreciate your visit – and your comment. It helps to be encouraged when you’re starting out. I’ll have more on Venice soon…

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