Sunday, 18 December 2011


I had a very enjoyable Thursday painting at the Mall Galleries during the ROI 'art event' evening.  I was still catching up on sleep from the Venice trip but thought I would give it a go anyway.  One of the 3 models was Olivia Wileman, Peter's daughter.  Her father was also a model that evening - as well as running the event - but I chose to sandwich myself between Lucy McKie and David Curtis in front of Olivia, so I could see how it should be done whilst painting my version.  I made her narrowish shoulders a little too narrow and had my usual problem with over-stated shadows (as noticed by David, inevitably) but at the end of the session felt that I had made a reasonable stab at it.  Actually one of the best things about the evening is the chance to meet up with members and non-member friends over wine and mincepies before we all become buried in the Christmas extravaganzas.

Friday, 16 December 2011


We had a fantastic time.  Eleven of us went and most of us stayed 5 nights, so we had 4 full days and one morning before the journey home.  As we had nothing to do but eat, drink, sleep and paint each of us seemed to get through quite a few painting panels!  I did 17 small plein air paintings, which was probably just above average.  Fanatics like Roy Connelly and Karl Terry did many more.  Others such as David Pilgrim hit the happy mean of about 14 and probably benefited from the less frantic pace.  The trouble is there are things to paint everywhere you look so you just keep going!

I was quite pleased with some of my efforts and there were no complete duds, so I went home happy.  The others all seemed to produce lovely work, which was displayed temporarily on racks in Ken Howard's studio where 4 of them were staying.  They were a great gang and it was a privilege to be with them.  The abiding memory for David and me is of Roger Dellar painting on the Accademia Bridge with Lynn (the world's only plein air knitter?) sitting beneath him making a jumper.  We also caught a 'brain worm' (a tune you can't get out of your head) from some old guy playing an accordion in Campo SS Giovanni e Paolo.  He played it for most of the 4 hours we were there, each having two gos at the Colleoni Monument.

I want to leave most of the sketches completely alone to retain their freshness.  I might risk adjusting some of the remainder but one often loses more than one gains.  Here are a few of them:

My first effort:

Later that day:

More Accademia-Salute the next day!

Into St Mark's the same day:

Finally we reached the Riva, looking at the San Giorgio Maggiore:

Two more in Dorsoduro that day and then it started to rain, so on the third day I tried Campo Santo Stefano:

Even heavier rain in the Piazetta:

The traghetto stop at San Samuele allowed me to get in the obligatory palazzo across the Grand Canal:

Finally that day (still on my own), the Redentore from the Zatterre:

On the fourth day we did the Colleoni but I became rather tired of it!

Then down to the Molo for this view of the Dogana with Redentore behind:

A final go at the Salute from the Molo finished off the last full day and on the morning we left I had another wet 6x8 session in the Piazetta:

By this time I was 'painted out' and David and I spent the rest of the day Christmas shopping.