Venice is one of the most admired cities in the world and for a good reason. A timeless city of water and amazing architecture, extremely well known and visited by millions, it’s no wonder that it will always be a popular subject for painting. It’s been painted by artists like Canaletto, Turner and Monet, in all sorts of different ways, and that makes it a very difficult subject to tackle, apart from the technical difficulties regarding the architecture and the perspective.
Any painting of Venice will draw inevitable comparisons with art heavyweights like Monet, but also with the sweatshop artists who repeatedly churn out the more or less similar picture variations to sell to tourists and with hobby painters who will always find Venice a great subject.
Any painting of Venice will draw inevitable comparisons with art heavyweights like Monet, but also with the thousands of sweatshop artists who repeatedly paint the subject to sell to tourists and with Sunday painters who will always find Venice a great subject. It is also a very popular subject for both amateur and professional photographers, so the sense of déjà vu that evokes is almost overwhelming. It is best left alone as it is a postcard kind of subject and has been painted ad nauseam, most of the time unsuccessfully and mundanely.
In my case, being a glutton for punishment, I couldn't resist tackling the subject. Luckily for me, it was the middle of the winter when I was there, the hordes of the tourists (like me) were gone and the atmosphere was very cold but suitably romantic. But on that particular cold day the sky was exceptionally blue and the colours of the houses of Burano are really extremely bright primary red, yellows, yellow greens and blues, so I thought the painting would still be of Venice, just not of the main city. Burano is a small island off Venice, like Murano, each equally popular for different reasons. The subject was a small, closed at the time, restaurant standing a blindingly bright red against the blue sea and sky with some sailing ships and the city of Venice faintly visible in the distance. I was particularly attracted to the brightly coloured signs, one advertising the fish and chips and the other the ice cream as you can guess by the shapes. This is the kind of simple, everyday but inspired craftsmanship that I love, as opposed to the “plastic fantastic” utilitarian “form follows function” machine-made designs we are surrounded by in our modern environments.
This is an acrylic painting and it was the first one I painted when I started my new life as a painter, so it’s very dear to me. I tackled Burano and Venice again after that and some of the results are on the galleries sections website as well.