Venice Canal

by Dave Bradbury
(Weatherford Texas, US)


This is an Oil painting 24X30 on Centurion DX Oil Primed Linen Panel. This was painted from a photograph taken by my cousin on vacation. I have tried to use the seven steps described by Delmus Phelps Flemish Style of painting, although I think I cheated somewhat.


I wanted it to have a glossy finish,so I used Damar Varnish in the medium and finished with a layer of Damar to even all layers out. I also cut off about an inch of the painting on the bottom when phographing it and am sorry as that is an important part of the painting. Also had trouble photographing it because of being very glossy.

The photo needed to be changed for composition sake, so I enlarged the photo scene and added the door on the right to try and balance the scene. I also put cargo boxes in the boat instead of people since they were so small and I felt did not add to the painting. I am not sure if this was a mistake or not and hope that they also move cargo this way.

The medium used was a 1,1,5 mixture of Stand Oil, Damar Varnish and Turpentine for lean and increased the mixture to 1,1,4 in the middle and 1,1,3 for the fattest mixture to finish the top layers.

It is painted with many thin glazes to build and to change colors, to enhance the sunlight or make the shadows darker. This develops colors that can not be made by mixing paint on the pallet before applying as some of the lower colors show through and develop beautiful colors.

When you look at the painting you can notice that the lines of the windows follow a cameras vertical perspective that slant toward a bottom point and I know this is normal, but when thinking about perspective I usually only think about the lines fading into the horizontal distance to a distant point. So, I learned a practical point about perspective that I never had to deal with before. Notice that the slanted lines are more pronounced at the edges than at the middle.

The buildings caused a limited palette to be used and the only strong colors are then the water and reflections, this caused the water to stand out and command attention. The tree on the left also helped to offset and balance the buildings hopefully.

I don’t know how successful this painting will be to critics but it seems to stir an emotion in me so, will keep it and try to learn from it.

Thank you for listening
Dave Bradbury

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