Travels With My Art

A compilation of Chris's humorous and entertaining travelogues, revealing some of the pitfalls and frustrations, as well as the joy of being a professional artist. Hoping that his efforts abroad will continue to bring in a daily crust to continue supporting his family at home!

26 Jun 2012

"After the Rain, St. Mark's Square Venice"

I promised myself this year that I would submit some paintings into public exhibitions, not just my own. This was partly to make myself try to paint to a higher standard, or at least try harder! So I painted this view of St.Mark's Square and entered it for the RBSA (Royal Birmingham Society of Artists) Open Summer Exhibition. To my surprise and delight it was accepted!
But why this view? It is one I have tackled before on several occasions, but this interpretation is to capture a flash of sunlight after rain, hence some reflections and a rather abstract feeling of wetness. The figures are shadowy and vague, all is suggested but I am trying to be less literal than usual and concentrate on atmosphere through half-closed eyes. I was quite pleased with the painting. My test before submitting to open exhibitions is "Does it excite me? Have I succeeded technically? Does it tell a story?" If these answers are positive then I have fulfilled my brief. So even if it is not accepted I have pushed myself forwards which is worthwhile. The RBSA exhibition is now over, but I will try others this year.

15 Jun 2012

Painting of the Week! Campo San Barnaba, Venice

I wanted to paint something really bright and sunny again this week as our summer is a long time coming. So I've revisited an old favourite haunt in Venice, the square dominated by the Church of Saint Barnabas,  which has found fame in popular culture by being used in the film Indiana Jones and the SomethingorOther, you know, the one with Sean Connery as his Dad. Anyway I found enough photos and drawings from old sketchbooks to put this picture together. But before I start I always do a 'compositional' pencil sketch to think a few things out in advance.

In this case it helped me sort out the sunshine and shadows and where to perhaps put figures and maybe a gondola on the canal. After finishing the sketch I liked the rythm of the composition, even though the gondolier is too big. (The pencil sketch is only about 4" wide).

Unusually I have used masking fluid, a sort of rubber solution, to keep the paint off the white facade of the church whilst doing a nice loose wash of blue across the sky.

Masking tends to give a crisp edge which in this case  helps the atmosphere in the painting which is clear and bright.

I started by painting the (slightly leaning) campanile to give me a benchmark of tone which which to compare the strength of tones and shadows to come. Then I continued area by area ensuring the shadows were related in colour and strength, all the time bearing in mind the feeling I was after of midday light in Venice at this time of year which is SUNGLASSES BRIGHT but don't we love it!

And here I am having just cut a rather indulgent mount with a small gold fillet inserted within. But Venice is indulgent and this painting is one that may make you hum 'Just one Cornetto' afterwards.

Am I pleased with it? Well perhaps the drawing and some of the figures are rather 'static', but then the atmosphere is supposed to be that time of day where you just feel like wandering slowly and maybe stopping for a cold beer under a cafe umbrella and watching the world go by. So it gives me back the feeling I wanted and that's the most important thing for me.

1 Jun 2012

Painting Workshop Days at Chedworth Roman Villa

Sat 14th July  & Sat 18th August 2012 10.00am – 5.00pm

Would you like a relaxing day in the  countryside brushing up your painting and drawing skills? Then why not come along to our  painting workshop days at the newly  refurbished National Trust  CHEDWORTH ROMAN VILLA ……in the heart of the Cotswolds!

£60 per Day or £110 for Both! Price includes entrance to the museum and grounds, individual help from  tutors Chris & David, morning coffee and a light lunch.

For more information call 01608 730666 or follow this link: Painting Workshop Days

Find out more about Chedworth Roman Villa


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