Monday, 7 November 2016

Days Out with Michael

In the late summer and early autumn Michael Worthington and I snatched some days out from our busy schedules.  I think I was on my own for this one in the Oxford Botanic Garden.

Michael wanted to try it so we started before it opened one morning, at the edge of Christchurch meadow.

Magdalen Tower from the meadows 12x8

We then moved into the garden and had two goes at this scene before hunger
forced us to seek sustenance and broke the spell..

Botanic Garden Archway 1 12x8

Botanic Garden Archway 2 12x8

We also went further afield - to Wooton-by-Woodstock and Stonesfield.

Above Fawler 8x12

Ford and Bridge Stonesfield 12x9
Then there was the Abingdon day - a lot of walking and not much painting but at least the weather was good. 

The Old Anchor, Abingdon 9x12

Boy Fishing, Abingdon 12x8
On all these occasions we felt rusty and could have done with 3 or 4 consecutive days to start painting well again but it was not to be.  Maybe the Winter will be more productive and successful.


Just a little note on our trip to see the Italian relations in Puglia - the paternal family of our daughter-in-law Georgie.  I took painting kit so that I could  paint one picture of Torre Giulia, a large wedding venue in the countryside near San Ferdinando and Cerignola.  I gave it framed to Tonino Caputo the head of the family into which Georgi's father married when he returned to Italy.  I used alkyd oils, which were dry within 2 days

The old villa at Torre Giulia
The web site of Torre Giulia is at  Not cheap!

Venice 2016

As usual I am well behind.  Another great trip thanks to David Bachmann - him, me, David Pilgrim, Herme Bachmann and Wyllis Heaton all staying in Ken and Dora Howard's apartment in Venice.

Four nights for me and 5 for the others.  Weather good apart from the last day.  We started on Monday 26 September after settling in at Ken's and having lunch.  Too hot in the SS Giovanni e Paolo and Santa Maria Formosa squares so retreated to Palazzo Soranzo and managed an 8x6 of the door there.

Palazzo Soranzo 8x6

Then started a 10x6 of John Cabot's house on the Riva but switched to catch the sun setting behind the Salute.

Sunset and Salute 9x12
On Tuesday we started rather late and hit crowds at the Rialto.  We ended up in the Campo  Santa Margherita but gave that up and started the day with a view of the Carmini church and Ponte dei Pugni from the San Barnaba square.
Carmini from San Barnaba 12x8
David and I then walked round half of Dorsoduro looking for spots that were new to us, going far up the Zatterre to the West end and in again, ending up on the Fondamente Soccorso with a view of the Yellow House.
Yellow House, Dorsoduro 12x9
We then wasted some time by having a lazy lunch and walking all the way back to the Fondamente Nove where we caught a boat to Murano with David and Herme.  The idea was to paint the church on the Isola di San Michele from the Murano quay but when we got there the light was not quite right, so we legged it back to the Colleoni square for a desperate hour working on sketches of the Ospedale facade before heading home in the dark.
Evening Sun, Ospedale Civile 12x9
By Wednesday (28th) we were beginning to get into our stride.  I skipped breakfast and set off at 6 am on a 5.1 boat to San Zaccharia then back on a 2 to Redentore.  Managed two small panels from here:

Before Sunrise From The Redentore 6x13

Gesuati from the Redentore 6x8
Back to San Zaccharia on a 2 and then took a 1 to San Toma, walking through the area to find DB and DP painting the front side of the Scuola di San Rocco.  I joined them and then they left while I finished off my sketch:
Scuola di San Rocco 12x9
Back to Bar Niki for refreshment and out again to the other side of the Scuola to paint a view that Paul Rafferty painted so brilliantly on our last Venice trip.

Scuola di San Rocco Portico 12x9
David Pilgrim and I then headed back to Ken's at high speed while DB painted the Ca Rezzonico turn from the San Toma stop just as the light was coming onto the water.  We had a very leisurely lunch then walked out to the F. Nove and caught a 4.1 to Madonna del Orto - an area we had not explored before.  We ended up standing on the Punta di Calle dei Mori, painting the lit side of the Fondamemte Gasparo Contarini.  David made a particularly fine job of this.
Evening on the F G Contarini 9x13
Out again on my own the next day (29th) at 6am to the Zatterre, via a 5.1 waterbus,  then walked to the Punta Dogana in time to catch the sunrise over the San Giorgio Maggiore.  10 minutes after this the whole scene was just a silhouette and the water too bright to look at.

Sunrise From Punta Dogana 8x12
Left at 8.20 and took a '2' to San Tomá for a coffee and brioche in Niki Bar, now my fave watering hole in Venice.  Saw Wyllis painting near the Sant Angelo stop so hopped off to ask where the others were.  He did not know!  After a fruitless search around the Rialto area and Ca D'Oro I went back to the Rialto Mercato stop, settled in at the fish market and painted from a pitch I used for a pastel last year.
By The Fish Market 12x8
Back to Niki Bar for lunch then stood at the San Tomá stop and painted up the canal: on a small, wide panel:
Grand Canal from San Tomá 6x13
Walked through the city to the SS Geovanni e Paolo square and painted the door of the church from beneath the Colleoni statue.
San Zanipolo West Door 12x9
Went home for some more solvent and found DB and Herme in but then forgot to take the solvent with me!  After catching a lucky 4.1 to the Madonna del Orto stop I was able to finish the day looking along the Fondamenta Contarini as the sun went down. The lack of solvent was a pain but I managed this view looking the other way from the previous evening's effort.

Wyllis had done an absolute cracker of the fish market from the Ca D'Oro vaporetto stop and I was determined to try it so we set off  together very early the next morning.  W got a bit lost trying to go directly to Ca D'Oro but found some potentially good spots to paint as a result.  He left me at the Ca D'Oro pitch - just enough room for one painter at a time - and I did what I could before the moment when the sun hits the red awnings, working at high speed once it had arrived.  Hendrik Kralle, conducting maestro and oboist was getting onto a vaporetto, saw the painting and offered to buy it on the spot.  It is now on its way to Germany.

Fish Market from Ca D'Oro 9x12
Stupidly decided to brave the Rialto crowds and it was some time before I had wandered all the way down to the Accademia.  I was looking for Herme who needed more kitchen towel (we use tons of the stuff) and knew that the others were heading for San Rocco again so hopped on a 2 to San Toma and found DP painting the Scuola front door again.  Decided to try for the church front door instead:
Chiesa di San Rocco 12x9
Time was now running out, so I took a 1 to San Marco and painted a little sketch of the P Dogana.

Punta Dogana 8x6
Waited ages for a 4.1 to take me home round the East side of Venice and jumped off at Ospedale, almost ran to the famous pitch from where you can paint the Ospedale facade and did my last painting of the trip.
Ospedale (Scuola di San Marco) 12x8