Thursday, 26 July 2012


Waiting   acrylic on paper 16x26cm ©2012 Lisa Le Quelenec
This seems a very apt title for this painting. Let me explain.... I visited Venice for five days in 2008. I'd wanted to go for years and was so excited that I spent weeks putting together a sketching kit whittling it down to the essentials then adding more in to the pack then whittling it down again. I bought a new memory card for my camera just in case I ran out of room on the one I had. I had a new sketchbook, new paint, I was so excited counting down the days.

Once there it was everything and more than I expected. In fact it was so 'more' than I expected that I was completely overwhelmed and visually overloaded. I managed a few very poor sketches and took a few hundred photos and did very little else other than trying to absorb as much of what I was seeing as I could. As a holiday it was amazing and I would recommend to everyone to take the time to visit. I would love to visit again and am sure that one day I will. 

At home I tried and tried to paint the Venice that I had seen but in hindsight it was just too fresh in my memory. Whatever I tried came out too literal and didn't express any of the thoughts, feelings or experience. They didn't cut the muster as paintings for me and I felt very frustrated. With a subject that has been painted so many times by so many artists it is difficult sometimes to to paint without emulating someone elses vision resulting in a poor pastiche.

It has been just lately that I feel like I can paint the Venice that I felt and my over riding visual memory of the place; the evening walks, the hustle and bustle slowing down for the day and the softening of the colours and edges of the silhouettes of buildings, bridges and gondolas. The distance of time has filtered out the visual clutter and white noise distilling and refining the experience. It's the distillation that seems to become more and more important to my work.


Bruce Sherman said...

Bellissimo!Nicely done Lisa!... You have certainly captured one of those rare moments in Venice... where you can solitude from the hustle n' bustle of the day in the high season.

In 1989 I was fortunate to reside and study in Venice for eight weeks. I came away with the same sense of awe and wonder that you describe.

I spent most of my spare time wandering... getting lost... on purpose and discovering what most tourists miss in their scant moment with Venezia.

It was pivotal in my development as an artist... and my Self was never the same afterwards!

A gem!

Good Painting!
Warmest regards,

Zoe, ontheroad said...

Lovely work, Lisa, and a good story to go with it.

I often find although my intention is to draw, sketch or even photograph a place, it is overwhelming and I just take the place in with my poetic eye.

Will this one come up for a sale?

Jeanette said...

What a lovely painting. It really has a sense of the calm and feeling of Venice.

Sometimes its better to let the sensory experience soak in and revive it at a later time on paper.

I hope you'll do more.

RH Carpenter said...

I loved reading about your experience. It does seem we "disappoint" ourselves when we arrive with such high expectations - and painting something master painters have done would be daunting! You have stepped away and can feel what you want to say now - and it shows!

Lisa Le Quelenec said...

Good morning Bruce, eight weeks in Venice! I'm so jealous... what an experience. One day I will go back, I think I would be better prepared a second time for sketching. Thank you about the painting.

Hi Zoe, thank you. It's hard visiting a new location with limited time, I need a reminder to slow down sometimes.
As soon as the mount is cut (I need to get some board) I will put this one up for sale in my Etsy gallery. It may even have a partner by then ;o)

Hi Jeanette, thank you. Number 2 has been started and some thumbnails for some more. Hopefully the start of a mini series.

Hi Rhonda, the distance of time is definitely helping. I really set myself up for a fall on that trip anticipating all the work that I would get done. I wish I had remembered the lesson when I went to Morroco ;o)

Christiane Kingsley said...

Lisa, I fell in love with Venice about 6 years ago and have returned three times since. I felt that in another life I must have been a Venetian: I felt overwhelmed and at home at the same time. It is truly a magical place.

I love your painting " Waiting"...There are thousands of paintings of gondolas, but this one really stands out by its simplicity and beauty.

Lisa Le Quelenec said...

Hi Christine, welcome. Thank you so much for your comments about the painting, it means a lot.

You are so lucky to have been there three times. The place really is magical and has captured a piece of my heart. Have you painted Venice? I'm off to your blog to find out.