Tag Archives: gondola

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.