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Venice : A Sinking Feeling

July 26, 2015

MHolmes_Venice (3)
[Santa Maria Della Salute, sketched from a secret garbage handler’s dock]

Venice. Is there any more romantic city? The maze of narrow streets, the glittering mystery of the carnival, the doomed (?) feeling of rising sea level. I have always wanted to travel here.

Sadly – there’s something wrong with my brain. This trip, for whatever reason, I wasn’t charmed by the place. I have to think that’s on me, not Venice itself. I came unprepared to find the real city.

We did meet our friends Stephanie Bower and Sean Andrew Murray – both in Italy by coincidence at the same time as ourselves. So that was the highlight. To be able to sketch next to other talented artists is something I don’t want to take for granted. I’m spoiled that way :) We go out of our way to have those experiences.

Seeing Stephanie’s masterpieces of perspective appear so easily for her – that’s always a pleasure – and a stern lesson. Her skills are frankly intimidating. Though she’s a patient teacher, I’m a lazy student when it comes to the discipline of architectural views. Mine are the painter’s cheats. Style over structure.

MHolmes_Venice (1)
[The Grand Canal from the Academia bridge, early AM before the relentless heat and crowds]

We may not have given it enough time. Only a week. We might have not budgeted enough cash. A struggling artists resources don’t go very far. A great deal of what there is to see in Venice is barricaded behind a living wall of tourists. Being willing to buy some special access passes to things, stay in some historic hotels, and hire a few water taxis probably would have helped.

MHolmes_Venice (2)
[Bridge of Sighs – from directly below the usual vantage point – lucky low tide opportunity]

Even though I enjoy the sketches we got – this faux Sargent Bridge of Sighs being a favorite – I hope to return with a better frame of mind some day. I’m kicking myself for not making friends with locals, and not doing better research in advance. I could see there is an extensive artistic community here. This is going to take a more serious attempt another time.

MHolmes_Venice (4)
[St. Marks – only the good parts – minus a few thousand people in the square]

8 Comments leave one →
  1. s. m. permalink
    July 26, 2015 8:02 PM

    Marc! Marc!… please erase all of this trips disappointments and go back in late Sept or early Oct…its a beautiful city, full of surprises and lovely people…you are so talented and deserves to be painted and drawn by you…just a thought….an admirer 

  2. July 26, 2015 8:23 PM

    You should go in the Spring, Marc. I take my students annually to paint at the end of April and we’re never disappointed. Stay out of the tourist areas during the day time (so many locations are not tourist destinations)…by 4pm the tourists are heading to the ship(s) and you have Piazza San Marco to yourself!

  3. valgermedia permalink
    July 26, 2015 8:24 PM

    I think you will be back…the beauty of Italy will shine through during a less busy time of year. Your sketches did not show your disappointment. They are lovely!

  4. katzp2014 permalink
    July 26, 2015 10:10 PM

    Love your color choices on the San Marco domes, Marc. As for connecting to a place. Sometimes it clicks. Sometimes it doesn¹t. I had an awesome connection to Firenze on one trip ­ and really found it unfriendly on the next. Note the feelings and carry onŠ Patricia

  5. ink2art permalink
    July 27, 2015 12:05 AM

    Yes — my advice would be the same. In October it is wonderful. Went during tourist season once and couldn’t believe it was the same place. True of anywhere tourists love to go of course. Please do go back and meanwhile thank you for the wonderful wc sketches. They do not look like the work of someone who was not utterly charmed by the city!

  6. Beth Pickett permalink
    July 27, 2015 12:26 AM

    Beautiful sketches just the same, Marc. I’ve been in Venice in all seasons, tides, and weather, and none is finer for me than the dead cold of mid-January before Carnevale stirs, when the centuries of the city’s torrid history seem to rise closer to the surface and ripple quietly through the atmosphere. Likely my favorite city on the planet, if I had to choose one, but it can be difficult to manage a corner of presence there in high tourist tide.

  7. Larry Goldfarb permalink
    August 1, 2015 4:15 PM

    glad you published them anyway. I always learn something from your sketches.


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