Let the games begin!
I’ve been taking images of Venice night scenes for a long time. Creating successful nocturnal scenes with photography is its own gnarly ball of wax. It’s not easy. My successes are spotty. But, when taking images that I intend to use as a visual reference for a painting, I’m a lot looser with my trigger finger. I’m not trying to achieve a photographic masterpiece. I just want enough detail to help guide my efforts as I paint night for the very first time. In fact, I’m glad that the rather muddied photo reference that I took for this piece forced me to reach into my understanding of light, color, and contrast. It wouldn’t let me use the photo as a crutch. Instead, it prompted me to use my imagination while reminding me, “This is your story to tell in the way you want to tell it.” In other words, trust my unique artistic voice to find its way through my hands, paints, and canvas.
I started painting. After a couple of days, I muttered, “Oh crap, what have you gotten yourself into?” Yep, this painting would demand more patience and care than ever before. But I had plenty of time on my hands to let this work evolve.
Plenty of pausing to close my eyes and remember “being there.”
I don’t want to be one of those artists who go on ad nauseam about his or her work. Instead, let it speak for itself. You know, don’t pollute the viewer’s mind with too much backstory. But I will tell you this. It was important for me to remember this summer evening on The Grand Canal with the heavy midnight boat traffic of a festival night. I remember the soft purr of boat motors as water taxis dodged each other. I can still hear the water lapping up again boat hulls and the foundations of ancient palazzos. I remember the eerie glow of softly-lit faces of passengers in other boats. I see the beckoning interior lights of exquisite residences.
I’m ready for the next in this series…
In fact, I’ve already sketched it out. This time a slightly smaller canvas. If this one goes well, I’ll tackle a few more ideas, and I’ll head out to Venice (now that restrictions are being lifted) for some additional inspiration.
But first, a palate cleanser. I need to give my creative brain a slight rest before I tackle another nighttime scene. So, I’ll do that with an abstract—something completely intuitive and non-literal. Good to shake things up a bit?