If I was stranded on an island and had to paint only scenery from that island for the rest of my life, what island would that be? Many years ago, back in the early 1980’s my wife and I went to the Hawaiian islands of Kauai and Maui. One day we went to view a scenic waterfall on Kauai and there was an artist painting plein air and selling his watercolors out of the back of his old Mercedes. I thought to myself what a cool lifestyle that would be, living on a Hawaiian island, painting for a living and living a relaxed lifestyle. As nice as all that sounds I might have to rate that as my second or alternative choice. Another choice might be one of the many beautiful islands off the coast of Maine. But as an artist looking for endless material to paint in one single location, Venice I believe would have to be my number one choice!
Venice has the perfect confluence of endless imagery for me as a painter. The maze of canal waterways reflecting light and cast shadows combined with colorful buildings erected from below the water’s surface fulfill both my interest in the maritime genre and my interest in architecture. Mix in no cars to clutter up the scenery and the time honored tradition of gondoliers chauffeuring people hither and yon and it becomes otherworldly.
The colorful and often ornate palazzos all have a history to them, most going back hundreds of years. Various empires have ruled the city and have heavily influenced the architecture and the way of life. Venice also has a romantic quality that captivates me.
I love the three dimensional aspect of the buildings when canals intersect and the way the light filters between the buildings. I love the arched foot bridges that connect the adjacent neighborhoods. The skyline of rooftops, domes and towers alone could keep an artist busy for years or a lifetime. The potted plants of blooming flowers dress up the many balconies and decks creating another series of paintings to focus in on. Windows, doorways, and other architectural elements like railings, awnings, flags, posts with barbershop patterns painted on them all provide artistic inspiration!
I could go on mentioning the hotels, restaurants and markets overlooking the canals that create a buzz of activity. Not to mention the wonderful Italian food that I could easily live on without sacrifice!
I’ve included below some of my recent paintings of Venice. I plan to paint it many more times. Last year one of my favorites, Along the Grand Canal, sold to a family that was just back from a trip to Venice. I so appreciated that the buyer got up close and studied every detail I had painted. I had so much fun painting it while listening to the likes of Dean Martin and Andrea Bocelli and sipping on some Italian red wine.
Yes, I’d have to say artistically speaking Venice would have to be the island I’d like to be stranded on. Bermuda might be nice though. Certainly Hawaii would do. Never been to Tahiti but I hear that Gauguin loved it…..