Ideal working conditions – not

Today was our second day in Venice, Italy, and words or photographs cannot do it justice.  It is just stunning here.

Annette and I hit the cobblestones early this morning, with our art gear and set ourselves up in front of the Scuola Grande Di San Rocco.  This building is massive, intricate and complex.  The man sitting at the front, helps in showing how big this building is.

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Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice, Italy
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Side view of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco.  The photo shows how much the eaves on top of the columns protrude from the building.
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Some of the incredible detail of this building, the Scuola Grande di San Rocco

One of the things that makes urban sketching so challenging is the working conditions are usually less than ideal. You are outdoors, contending with heat or wind and insects, you’re not sitting comfortably if you’re sitting, often you’re standing, you’re balancing a sketch pad, trying to draw straightish lines without having your arm on a surface and usually you have a short period of time to capture the scene on paper. But it is these difficulties which help to create loose and lively artwork.  The charm of an urban sketch is its wonkiness, looseness and liveliness.

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Sketched in plein air with blue watercolour pencil.
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At the hotel, I used an Artline 0.1 pen to add outlines and then applied watercolour. From the photo I couldn’t see what colours the square, circle and rectangular shapes were, nor could I remember. So, back I went wandering through the streets of Venice (such a hardship! -not!!!) and took note of the colours and also noticed the pattern in front of the door that I had not seen earlier.
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The left hand side of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice.

Tomorrow we’re jumping on a train to Vicenza, Italy to attend the Meet ‘n Greet start of Liz Steel’s Urban Sketching workshop. Woo-hoo!

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