Venice in Pastels 2011

On December 17

In October 2011 I was lucky enough to have accompanied other artists and students on a trip to Venice in order to paint Venice in pastels. This was a tuition holiday where two students made up part of my group.

Sketches from Venice Trip 2011

Sketches from Venice Trip 2011

We stayed on Murano and travelled to Venice, Burano and Torcello during our four night stay. This is my account of the trip …

Arriving in Murano

We arrived in Venice Marco Polo and travelled by waterbus to Murano Museo. It was a glorious evening with a sunset and moody skies in the distance. We were all filled with excitement and anticipation as many of us had not been to Venice before.

As we alighted from the waterbus the light was just perfect to capture some lovely photos on the walk to the B&B where we were to stay during our trip. After settling in at the B&B and a quick freshen up we went for a lovely meal at Osteria al Duomo Pizzeria just a short walk from the B&B.  On entering it seemed small but we soon discovered it was like an Aladin’s cave which provided good food and a pleasant and lively environment.

After the meal we chatted for a while over some wine before returning to the B&B to settle down for the night.

Day #1

Today we decided to all go to Venice to do a spot of sightseeing. We had hoped to just pick certain locations and spend some time in each before setting up and sketching. However sometimes things don’t always go to plan and many wanted to go explore the sights and take photos.


Venice Gondolas

Venice Gondolas

We reached St Mark’s Square and it soon became obvious it was going to be hard to stay together as a group with the crowds. So after finding our way to an art shop behind St Mark’s Square we split up into two smaller groups and went exploring.


View from Rialto Bridge

View from Rialto Bridge

My group of three made  our way along the canals and through the back streets to Rialto Bridge and markets where we took the opportunity to take as many photos as we can for future reference material. Along the way we stopped for a bite to eat in one of the back street cafe’s where prices were reasonable. We then decided to head back to St Mark’s to meet up with the rest of the group. We soon discovered that mobile coverage was quite poor and after many attempts to contact the others we gave up and decided to find a spot to settle down to do some sketching.


Wendy Sketching on Day 1

Wendy Sketching on Day 1

We made our way to San Marco where various artists displayed and sold their work and after some ice cream we finally found a quiet spot on the waterfront to sit and sketch.


Artist Market SanMarco

Artist Market SanMarco

As we worked many people stopped to see what we were doing and as time progressed we got more comfortable with working with a crowd watching.

At about 4pm we finally managed to establish contact with the rest of the group and packed up for the day and headed back to Murano for an evening meal in the local Pizzeria before settling down for the night.


Day #2

I decided to get up early in the morning at around 6.30 am with the hope to go out and catch the sunrise on Murano with one of the other artists. We took photos and I found a spot to sit and sketch the sunrise just as it broke the horizon.  It was an amazing sight as it lit the sky up in oranges and pinks against a pale sky with dark clouds.


Murano Sunrise

Murano Sunrise

After some more photos we headed back for breakfast before setting off to Burano for the day by waterbus. Burano is an island with colourful houses, each painted a different colour as allocated by the local authorities. We made our way round by the main canal visiting shops and cafes on the way before finding a quite spot to settle down to do some sketching just after midday.

Again we split into two smaller groups as we explored the sights.  It was a lovely sunny day and two of the group found a shady spot under a tree. The rest of the group stayed in the main street to sketch.  I set up my easel a bit further in the shade of another tree.  I had taken a liking to a tree by the waters edge by some brightly coloured houses. As we sketched we felt it was a race against time to keep up with the every changing light and shadows and I found I had to adjust the picture every so often. We stopped for a short while to have our packed lunch and take a break to see how each of us were progressing before resuming our paintings. Once again we had many onlookers that stopped to watch us work and many commented or took photos as we worked.

Finally the rest of the group met up with us and we packed up for the day. After reviewing our work for the day we continued to explore and take more photos.  Some of us decided to take a trip out to Torcello before sunset so we headed for the waterbus stopping to take photos along the way. It was a lovely evening and the journey to Torcello was quite pleasant with the sun just beginning to set.

When we arrived at Torcello we made our way along the canal to see the medieval buildings again taking more photos along the way. There were two weddings, one having a reception and the other in the local church.  We then decided to head back for the waterbus back to Burano before sunset.


Torcello Sunset

Torcello Sunset

We had 20 mins at the waterbus stop before our ferry arrived which gave me just enough time to sit on one of the benches nearby and get in a short sketch of the sunset. The waterbus arrived just as it started to get dark. On arriving at Burano nightfall was fully upon us as we made our way back to Murano. We ended the night with a meal in the local pizzeria before settling down for the night.


Day #3

We awoke early as Maggie & Wendy & I decided to go see the Biennielle & Art Museums & Galleries before settling down to some sketching today. Both Wendy and I had been affected by Mosquito’s with Wendy having a severe reaction giving her a swollen face! We caught the waterbus to Venice and discovered as it was a Monday all the galleries etc were closed! Hence we decided to make the most of it seeing as we were there and walked from the Biennielle to St. Marks. Maggie & Wendy went to see the Doge Palace whilst I setup near San Marco and did a few charcoal sketches.

We met up and had lunch in the park by San Marco where we discussed what we would do for the rest of the day. We decided upon a trip up the Grande Canal on the waterbus and stop at the Museum Moderne making our way back to Fte. Nove.  As the Museum Moderne was closed we wondered about down some of the back streets taking photos and stopped to have a coffee in a backstreet cafe.  We continued exploring and eventually found a restaurant to have some tea just before sunset. At the end of the meal we all felt really tired and decided to head back to Murano. Making our way back to the Grande Canal we managed to get a glimpse of the remains of the sunset. By the time we made our way back to San Marco it was dark and made our way back to Murano enjoying the lights along the waterfront.

We enjoyed a late evening snack at the local Pizzeria before settling down for the night.

Day #4

We had planned to return to Venice to visit some of the museum. However I was feeling a bit unwell and decided to stay at the B&B whilst Maggie & Wendy took another trip to Venice for the morning. As I started to feel better I spent sometime in the courtyard garden sketching. They both returned just after midday and we headed out with one of the other group (who was also not too well) to visit some of the glass museums and factories on Murano. Some of the glass was spectacularly unique. We finished the day watching and sketching the sunset on Murano.


Murano Sunset

Murano Sunset



Day #5

On the final day I woke early and went for an early morning stroll intent on capturing another early morning sketch of a Murano sunrise.  It was then back to the B&B to pack up for the journey home.


Back home …

After going through all the photo’s on my return home a photo of a field from our visit to Torcello I painted this picture which has now been sold at the Castle Park Annual Open Exhibition 2011 in Frodsham, Cheshire.


Torcello Meadow (Sunset #2)

Torcello Meadow (Sunset #2)


The sketches gallery also contains some sketches inspired by the trip …

Venetian Canal Sketch

Pen Sketch


Burano Town Centre

Pen sketch


Now that I have a collection of photos and sketches I hope to have plenty material to inspire me for 2012 and beyond. It was trip that I would recommend and most definitely would go again!


Contact me to find out more about art holidays, trips and days out being organised for 2012!

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