The Remains of the Day

“The Remains of the Day”
Coloured pencils on Arches Aquarelle smooth. 36.5 x 30.8 cm. February 2019.

Venice: November 2018.  It is nearly 4 pm and the sun is already inclining westwards.  I am going west as well, back towards my apartment, plodding along happily worn out.  But then…a light bulb moment…

‘I know – what if I point my lens into the sun?’  It is poised above Punta della Dogana and Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, shining directly into my eyes.  (I raise the camera, quickly compose and then close my eyes as I click, click, click.)  Voilà!

The air is all haze and halo, evaporating some objects while solidifying others (including people) into dark abstractions.  Sea mirrors sky; blazing here, sparkling there.  A seagull has swooped into my view.  Perfect.

There are probably only 90 minutes of daylight left.  I will be back sitting on my bed by 5 pm scrolling through photographic images.  ‘Here’s a good one.’

The two drawings from this day are bookends – starting with “Early One Morning” (07:50)  and finishing with “The Remains of the Day” (15:50).  Matthew (husband) came up with the titles – the first being a Celtic folk song and the second, a novel by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Early One Morning

“The Remains of the Day”








20 thoughts on “The Remains of the Day

  1. xanderest

    Julie , what a truly gorgeous picture . The way you have captured the light is masterful ! (or mistressful if you are gender sensitive . ) One of your best .

    Love , Judy R.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Oh dear, Judy, several people who know me and my art very well have said that this is my best piece ever. It is a bit intimidating to hear that. This is going to be a hard act to follow…

  2. anna warren portfolio

    Finally looking at this one Julie, but still on the small screen of my phone – I want to see it in detail! I especially love the sky on this one, the multitude of colour, as it is at this time of day. The reflecting lights in the water are a perfect counterpoint. The lamp stretching up into the sky takes us up there, into the lovely evening light. Beautiful.

  3. Ella

    Hi Julie, I love your art so much. Just can’t stop looking at them. I find it so challenging to achieve soft focus background with coloured pencils. I bought some oil pastels (Neopastel and Sennelier) but don’t know how to apply them smoothly. For large areas do you use your fingers for blending? The colour gets muddy quite easily. I wish you could show us how to do it in a video. I really really admire your work Julie! So beautiful!

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hi Ella, thanks for your comments. I apply oil pastels using a bristle brush. But it is just as easy to do soft focus with coloured pencils only. It is all a matter of the pressure you apply with the pencils. Lots of soft light pressure for loose blurry areas. I use a dry bristle brush to blend large areas of colour – and then put more coloured pencil over the top. While many artists show videos of their methods, it isn’t something I do. Cheers, Julie


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