Venice in Acrylics with Wendy Jelbe
Venice in Acrylics with Wendy Jelbert
Venice is the most glorious city for the artist, offering up a masterpiece around every corner. It is the most painted place in the world. Its opulent palaces, exquisite facades and magnificent domes are endless subjects for the painter. Many canals and buildings are crumbling, creating fascinating textures and colours, whilst the zig-zag reflections, although beautiful, are quite challenging. The bridges, and there are 400 of them in assorted sizes and shapes, supply enough reference material to last a lifetime.
My students and I have visited Venice several times, and many have returned to its magnetic beauty for another surge of creativity and excitement.
Acrylics are a very versatile media for capturing the moods and magic of Venice – from atmospheric wet-into-wet watercolour style washes in diluted acrylics to the thicker type of expressive paint applied with a hog brush or palette knife.
Here I thought you would perhaps like to experiment with a typical night scene, capturing the glowing lanterns, bobbing gondolas, and the evening lights from San Giorio Naggione in the background.
Hog flat – 5 and 2
Rigger size 1
Soft round – 8 and 4
Apply Cadmium Yellow to the gondolas. Wet the areas around the lights in the sky and water areas and then apply Cadmium Yellow with a soft size 4 brush, and diffuse the edges. Allow to dry thoroughly. Paint in the gondolas with Purple and Burnt Sienna. Start the night sky with a mixture of Ultramarine Blue (near the top) gradually adding Cobalt Blue and White, with a little Burnt Sienna in the distance.
Continue to complete the sky, adding more white and light blue to the ‘glow edges’. Use the same colours in the water – with darker additions to the foreground. Yellow Ochre, Purple and a little Burnt Sienna were used for the distant church, with dots of light (Cadmium Orange and Yellow) being dragged into the water as reflections.
The lanterns and foreground water were finished off using Burnt Sienna and Violet overlaid with a little Ochre… Although this painting is using a limited palette, it remains colourful and harmonious, simply because of this fact.
The example of Venice canal reflections illustrates how acrylics can create beautiful limpid images, whilst capturing rich textures – using watery and thickened acrylic paints in the same painting. The addition of gels and pastes can also help to build up weathered and crumbling surfaces.
Wendy’s book from Search Press in the Ready to Paint series, with accompanying DVDs from Teaching Art, ‘Venice in Acrylics’ may whet your appetite to paint more of Venice, with five step-by-step projects and six re-useable pull-out tracings. For details click here or see your latest SAA Home Shop Catalogue
For Wendy’s courses abroad and at home, exhibitions etc visit www.wendyjelbert.co.uk
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