Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Sketches from Venice, Italy

Doge's Palace–standing in the river of tourists

Last August I traveled to Venice to visit a close friend of mine. Plans changed and she could no longer come to the city. The trip suddenly turned into a unique chance to spend one week alone with my sketchbook undistracted, with no other obligations but to draw. I was in heaven!

To celebrate I headed to a quaint trattoria in Sant' Elena and set out to sketch the local clientele over a glass of house wine and an appetizing plate of Spaghetti alle vongole.

First dinner in Sant' Elena–a quiet neighborhood bordered by a pleasant park and away from the flood of tourists

Sketching the clientele on the outdoor terrace

As with many Italian dishes I am not sure what I enjoy more–the food or its name. In this case the name "vongole" is onomatopoeic with the sound small clam shells make against your fork as you try to twist the fork in the heap of spaghetti. The chef was watching me impatiently as I drew, desperately signaling that the dish is going to get cold if I don't put down my pen and pick up my fork.

Spaghetti alle vongole

I spent the next few days roaming the city with my sketchbook, dodging aggressive pigeons and selfie sticks. Even in August there are plenty of peaceful corners like this one on Rielo dei Furlani.

Rielo dei Furlani

My small but lovely room in the Venice neighborhood of Dorsoduro

An obligatory sketch of the Piazza San Marco. Found a quiet spot with a great vantage point from the Museo Correr second floor café

Basilica San Marco
St. Mark's Clocktower with its winged lion 
Going out to dance tango in Venice I get distracted by the amazing setting—the decadent architecture of the Hotel Hungaria on Lido island. It is hot and humid. Dancers fan themselves on the gorgeous outdoor terrace.

Tango Dancing at Hotel Hungaria

San Marco neighborhood
Cute café called Osteria de Baba café. The lady in pink sat there and ranted into space over her espresso for over 30 minutes

On my last day in Venice I decided to challenge myself  to create a continuous unfolding spread of Grand Canal only giving myself 30 minutes per two panels. I used the spiffy Navigator sketchbook that was one of the give-aways at the Manchester Urban Sketchers Symposium. See the final result.

Here is the beginning starting with the east side

Better hurry—only 7.5 hours of day light left to go. Stopping for a quick espresso
 I ended up sketching continuously for 12 hours and completed the stretch of the canal between Ponte di Rialto and Ca' Rezzonico in the course of one very long day.

See the final result.

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