Deep in Castello
“Deep in Castello”
Coloured pencils, 31 x 26 cm. Drawn in August 2019.
As I walk through the narrow maze, I notice a lone figure up ahead. She is momentarily framed by lamp light before she turns right and vanishes into an archway.
In the dim drizzle there is a feeling of being submerged here, as if the sea had already swallowed Venice whole.
Deep in wintry Castello how do I draw the mental line between inspiration and unease, intimate space and claustrophobia?
“Sunrise Reflected” Coloured pencils, 35 x 35 cm. June 2019
As I walked home with Matthew late on Saturday night I said to him that I would definitely NOT get up at the crack of dawn on Sunday (as I had been doing every day so far in Venice) but I would sleep in. I didn’t want to burn the candle at both ends; I mean, I’m no spring chicken!
“Silent Night” – a drawing from Saturday night when we stayed out late.
However, despite sensible intentions to rest, I flung myself out of bed and out of the apartment before sunrise. I dashed across the ponte dell’ Accademia and straight onto a southbound vaporetto (water bus). Just as the boat glided away from the stop and into the Grand Canal the sun was rising. There before my eyes were the palazzos (and the vaporetto stop) madly reflecting back the sunlight. It was a dawn chorus of light, a visual symphony on that Sunday morning.
After I took a whirlwind of photos an inspector came to check that I had a valid ticket. I did. We exchanged big smiles. And all was brilliant with the world.
coloured pencils, 32.5 x 29 cm. May 2019
Late on Saturday night there are people partying in Venice. We walk past a hot-spot where there is a silent disco on the campo. (Silent? Yes, the dancers are all wearing headphones – a surreal sight.)
We continue on our journey, navigating ourselves deep into the peace of Dorsoduro.
No cars, not even the hum of far-away traffic. It is a profound silence, broken only by the soft thuds of shoes on stone and perhaps a voice carried on the breeze.
And shortly after this, we find ourselves lost once again. But we don’t mind.
35 x 25 cm. coloured pencils. May 2019
Within the web of Venice one wanders, and wonders, “Shall I turn right (or left)? What is beyond that bridge? I’ll go straight“, [side-tracked] “But oh – THAT way looks intriguing. Which way, which way?” And after a few more moments, glancing back, “Now, where the heck did I come from?” And so one twists and turns until one is deep within the labyrinth, hoping one has memorized the way back.
There are infinite pathways. Each one offers another view point, another framed composition which must be stopped at and dreamily sighed over. Accompanying the wondering wanderer is the sound of lapping water and (in spring) blackbird song amplified and bouncing off stone walls (those skew-whiff walls which frame compositions).
Of course it is early, for later on Calle del Caffettier (as indeed every other calle) will be choked with tourists. But right now on this March Sunday morning I am almost alone.
Afterword: I had trouble getting back into drawing after my recent Italian trip. As I walked in a fallow state of mind along my local beach it dawned on me that our West Australian shells contain the same colours as the marble and stone buildings of Venice. (Well, after all, both shells and Venice are immersed in sea water periodically depending on moon, weather, season and tides.) I carried a few shells home and somehow this collection of colourful calcium carbonate gave me the impetus to get back to work.
Pretty in Pink
Revisiting Venice in March I am overwhelmed and enchanted by the colour pink. In sky, water, buildings, lamps, mosaics, paintings, furniture, fabrics, outdoors and indoors – pink is everywhere! So I give you a pink post. The photos (taken over seven days) begin in the early morning, move through the day and finish at night.
Sometimes bright, sometimes subtle – “Pretty in pink, isn’t she?” – “The Psychedelic Furs” ( and by the way, who remembers that song?)
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”
A Room with a View
“A Room with a View” – coloured pencils, 31.5 x 28 cm. January 2019
We have a room with a view!
On our first night in Venice I sit at the open window – looking, listening, still. And then I reach for my camera. Perhaps this view (this sentiment) can be captured in a drawing. Shutter clicks follow.
Sounds of lapping water drift upward. Distant voices from figures on the bridge float on the air, echoing between stone. It has been raining; maybe it still is – [I can’t remember]. The buildings are lace silhouettes, their white lights reflect on black water.
(“E.M Forster, I’m borrowing your novel title for my drawing. Is that OK with you?”)
The following three nights I hardly glance outwards as I flit about the room. I am already used to the view – desensitized. Isn’t that a peculiar thing about human nature…