How "Venice" Happened

In the past few weeks I decided to challenge myself to paint a sweeping image of Venice.

     Here’s why:

I had a large canvas (30x45 inches) that I had been working on for a while. At first I was experimenting with a colorful abstract. I spent several days on that until I finally admitted it wasn’t working.

So, I painted over it. The abstract then became a beach scene.

Again, I worked for days trying to make the beach scene work. Clouds, sea, sand, umbrellas, people… I thought it had great potential.

But again, it didn’t work.  It didn't feel "right".

And there I was, feeling epically frustrated.

So I did what I always do when I am annoyed at a painting (and when the canvas obviously has bad JuJu).

I ripped the canvas off the stretcher bars, threw it in the trash, and re-stretched brand new canvas.

It felt great.

There is nothing like a fresh start to get you motivated in studio.

After struggling for days and days, I wanted to challenge myself.  I wanted to commit to painting difficult subject matter, and painting it well.  I needed to remind myself that I could paint. 💪

I threw down the gauntlet (on myself 😂) and settled on a detailed panorama of Venice.

It’s been a while since I’ve painted any kind of cityscape. In fact I can’t remember painting one quite at this scale, but I didn’t let that stop me.

I took my time and enjoyed the process. I worked for days, slowly bringing the composition to life, section by section.

Things finally started to flow and the painting was working.  You can watch this video to see how the painting came together in stages:

Then, as I brought the painting across the finish line by adding the final pops of color, that hard-won feeling of accomplishment finally washed over me. 

After all that frustration and effort, I ended up with a painting I am proud of.

That’s how it goes sometimes in studio. Not everything an artist tries works out. It’s a very maddening part of the journey.

But if you push through until things come together, sometimes, a little bit of magic happens:

Venice 

Thanks for reading.

~ Claire


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