Sunday, April 27, 2014

Venetian Nocturnes and a Surprise Encounter

"Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, Italy," oil, 8"h x 6"w, copyright Jill Banks 2014
Nocturnes have been making some waves in the art world, particularly in the plein air movement.

Now I've figured out why. Instead of chasing the sun with the inevitably constant changes in your subject, all you have to do is stay ahead of whoever is in charge of turning off the lights.

Venice Day/Night #3: Two Nocturnes
I mentioned being not completely pleased with my painting of San Giorgio Maggiore. Given this stage in my career, there are an awful lot of solutions to painting problems at the ready. Problem painting the Grand Canal? Go to Ca' Rezzonico and view how brilliant painters have dealt with the scene. My favorite ... Emma Ciardi who shares a room there on the third floor with her brother, father and a self portrait of Antonio Mancini. Her pieces shine. I've never found a book about her work ... but she deserves one. May have to author that one myself.

Troubles painting in general? Simplify. Painting just values (one or limited colors) gets rid of part of the challenges. Painting at night?  Mainly values. Great contrast. Powerful paintings. So here are mine from an inspired evening.

"Giglio Cafe, Venice Italy," oil, 6"h x 8"w, copyright Jill Banks 2014
The first was so much great to paint ... I had to set up to create another. Both are done just a few steps from our hotel. Comfort, easy commute.

Surprise Encounter
One of the few necessities for a nocturne is decent light on your palette and canvas. In picking spot number two ... I tried one, didn't like the light and moved to another.

The second subject was a cafe/restaurant right outside the hotel in the square. Randy helped me get going and then went back to our room for a minute. Came back and I heard him meeting/greeting people in the scene. Turned out to be Vic and Wendy Sellier, collectors, there with friends -- who had just arrived the day before. What an exciting coincidence!!!!

More to come ... tomorrow on day #4 in Venice. (Hint: Burano)

In the Area?
Come see me at the Fairfax Fine Arts Festival in Fairfax Corners, Fairfax, VA on May 3 & May 4. I'd love to see you!

Plus, I've been accepted into the 52nd Annual Wickford Fine Art Festival being held this July in Wickford, RI. I'm excited about going ... with my first trip to Rhode Island, a well-respected show ... all that!j


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May 3 & 4: Fairfax Fine Art Festival  I'll be under a tent in Fairfax Corners ... surrounded by artwork. Come visit/shop for original art. More details to come on my web site's Events page.

May 27-May 31: Mountain Maryland Plein Air I join 29 other artists juried from around the country to capture Cumberland MD and surrounding areas in this plein air competition and exhibition. Second time around.

May 31 & June 1: Great Falls Studios Spring Outdoor Art Festival  Two days with my work under a tent in the Great Falls Village Centre, corner of Georgetown Pike and Walker Road,  Great Falls, VA. Husband Randy will hold down “the Fort” on Saturday while I finish up at Mountain Maryland and then I hope to see you on Sunday, June 1!
March 5 - December: Richeson75 Still Life and Floral 2014  Two of my paintings: "Honey Bunny" and "Garden Girl" were chosen as finalists in this online competition and exhibition. 75 total works were selected for this exhibition from entries/artists worldwide. See the exhibit at

Paint with Me in Italy: August 3 to 10, 2014. For more info, itinerary and links to register, see the classes page on my web site. Great folks are signing up to join me on this wonderful adventure. I hope you can, too!

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