Sketching the Light and Landscape in Venice

by Will Kemp

in acrylic painting, drawing, painting

“I’m not getting on.”

“You have to get on.”

“I don’t, I’m not going.”

5 minutes earlier, you could have mistaken us for locals, idly chatting to a friendly looking Italian who had informed us we needed to take the Linea Arancio (Orange line) to San Marco.

The journey time? Well …it could take anywhere between 30 minutes and 1 hour. He seemed vague, but of course, why should he know details about the journey.

We’d caught a late night flight into Venice and were waiting for one of the last ‘Alliguna’ boats from the airport.

The energy started to change and people formed an orderly queue beside a man clinging precariously to the side of an extremely buoyant boat and then it dawned on us.

The small lurching vessel moored in the dock, that I had 100% assured Vanessa we wouldn’t have to go in, was indeed our transport.

And the vague Italian man … he was the Captain.

The rain lashed into the small space at the rear of the boat, tourists and suitcases packed in together and then I heard Vanessa say  “Scusami, Scusami, we’ve changed our minds, we’re getting off at the Rialto Bridge”

3 stops earlier than I’d planned.

Our Venetian adventure had begun…

Waking up to clearer skies, I eagerly packed my pads, pens and cameras into my backpack, put on a warm jacket and couldn’t wait to get out into the narrow streets to absorb the atmosphere and a few espressos. I had come to sketch and paint studies to take back to my studio, keen to capture the magical Venetian light.

It’s dangerous walking around Venice with a sketchbook because every view is just so…sketchable.

There are so many elements within the city that ‘help’ your drawings, it’s an absolutely fantastic place to observe and practice your compositions. What’s great about the small canals and the tall buildings, is they always create a shadow contrast in the water.

This is even apparent on overcast days because the sky is still much lighter in tone than the shadows cast by the buildings. You can see in the photo above how you have a lovely dark and light pattern in the water from the cast shadow underneath the gondola, also the reflected sky shape and the cast building shadow.

The canals give you a good sense of depth in front of you and then a focal point (through another building) at the end. And more often than not, these buildings have a great balance of dark and light patterns through the windows and shutters.

St Mark’s Square is a blissfully quiet space first thing in the morning. It quickly fills into a throng of human traffic, pigeons and seagulls. You get these great flashes of red throughout this scene, from the chairs, the pillars on the Basilica and the red coats. It’s such a great place to see dark silhouette shadows of figures against the light greys of the surrounding stonework.

The position for this sketch is based on a painting by one of my favourite artist’s Edward Seago.

Edward Seago, A Winter Morning, The Doge Palace, Venice, Oil on Board (1910 – 1974)

Not much at all had changed with the view and it was interesting quite how far back his position was for capturing the expanse of the monuments, with the Doge’s palace to the left and us looking out towards the silhouette of San Giorgio Maggiore in the distance.

I was working with a Muji 0.5mm marker and a couple of grey Faber Castell fibre tip pens.

The water is such an amazing Phthalo/greeny blue and when the sun shines you get an incredible brilliance of dappled light that adds movement to the water.

San Giorgio Maggiore has a lovely warmth of orange to the brickwork which works so well against the warm sky and then the greener sea.

Back at my studio a small acrylic study is in progress, I’m applying thicker paint with a palette knife for impasto marks.

Wandering over some of the many bridges in Venice can be a great way to change your viewing position for sketches and include some of the man made architectural elements.

The superb wall colours along the canals are framed by the dark accents on the waterline. Here I was drawn to the flash of vivid red in the top right of the image that is then repeated in the triangular shapes of the windows

The rich colours on the buildings give you a great palette to work with.

The contrast in colours you get in Venice are so stunning, the deep green of the water, the warm Venetian reds which have a salmon pink quality to them and then an odd flash of a strong Cadmium Red that helps to bring out the rest of the colours.

When faced with a view straight on, it can be hard to decide what to focus on. You don’t have the depth present in the canal views, so I opted for a quick watercolour sketch of the details of the shuttered windows.

I’d packed with me a home-made acrylic Pochade box from a 59p plastic organiser. (The term Pochade comes from the French verb Pocher – to sketch) I’d cut thin strips of stay-wet palette paper to fit into small sections to create a super lightweight acrylic Plein air kit. Hidden behind the canvas board are some tear-off palette pieces ‘cut to size’ that fit snug inside the lid.

Here’s a close up of the box which worked extremely well for something so compact, I’m always on the look out for a neat, light streamlined kit when hitting the streets.

Detail from a watercolour and ink sketch of a Venetian shuttered window using the Lamy water soluble ink with Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre and Cobalt Blue Winsor & Newton pans.

We couldn’t resist a Grom Gelato, although my personal favourite, the Cioccolato Extra Noir, (super dark chocolate sorbet) has had a slight tweak to the recipe with the new addition of dark chocolate chips. Personally, I preferred it smoother but I can’t show you any evidence that this version wasn’t well received.

Sketching at the top of one of the largest squares in Venice, San Giovanni e Paolo (also known as San Zanipolo in Venetian dialect) You can just see the edge of the impressive Basilica on the right. It was this view, where the light was creating a strong contrast for the shadows under the bridge, the texture from the foliage and smaller buildings receding into the distance that caught my eye.

This was another quick pen sketch with my viewing position further back so I could include the fab shape of the street lamp on the left. Most of the street lamp was sketched with a thicker fibre tip pen and then just a few thin lines with the Muji pen to add detail.

The wide stone bridges can be the perfect resting edge for sketching equipment.

I love how you always see crisp white linens against the darks of the arches and shutters. The sun just catches the edges of the poles in the water and the sides of the frames, and then you have those repeated colours of the different tones of the warm oranges and stronger reds from the crumbling paint on the brickwork to the terracotta pots on the balcony edges.

Where is my Pochade box now!

Piazza San Marco for the sun setting and you get these gorgeous pinky hues and the Basilica becomes a muted tonal silhouette. The dark shapes of the gondolas and street lamp help to frame this classic Venetian view.

Here’s a quick shot of the main painting I’ve been working on for a new Impressionistic Acrylic Course bringing pastel colours together onto a larger scale studio piece.

Early morning at the Rialto fish market, where the energy of traders and fresh produce available is fantastic to sketch.

It’s housed in such an elegant building, with the red canvas within the arches contrasting against the white details.

Even the letter boxes look exciting!

Carnival preparations were in progress during our stay and the mask shops are plentiful.

We meandered up over to the Ca’d’oro Museum. I’d gone to see a Van Dyck Portrait on display on the second floor but unfortunately, that area of the gallery was closed on our visit. But we had the treat of wandering through the Palace entrance which is usually closed to visitors, it was stunning and we were fortunate enough to have it all to ourselves that morning.

Loved the pattern of the mosaic floor to the diamond shapes in the wall behind, the craftsmanship and detail are fantastic.

This unfinished portrait on display is a great way to observe the under-painting and process of the piece.

You can see the warm Imprimatura ground that has stained the canvas and then the crisp line drawing on top. The lines look like they have been transferred using charcoal.

Well, it wouldn’t be a trip to Venice without a hot chocolate at the oldest coffeehouse in Europe, the most beautiful Caffè Florian in Piazza San Marco. Established in 1720, frequented by Casanova, Lord Byron, Proust and Dickens we were in good company. I opted for the extra cream option, let the good times roll!

Moonlight view on the Grand Canal next to the Ponte dell’Accademia.

We left feeling totally inspired and to put your mind at rest if you are thinking of visiting Venice, the return Alliguna boat journey was super, smooth sailing!

The New Venice – Light & the Landscape Course is now available.

You Might Also Like:
1. Landscape Sketching in the Highlands
2. Beginners Urban Sketching Course
3. Painting, Pasties & Padstow – A Cornish Painting trip

{ 306 comments… read them below or add one }

Liz Boait February 17, 2017

This is such an inspirational journey through the delights of Venice.
Thankyou for capturing the special characteristics of the place and sharing them.
Made my day

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Glad to hear it Liz.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Alison Fennell February 17, 2017

You are so right Will – what a total sensory treat Venice is! Thanks for sharing your inspirational photos and poetic sketches. I particularly loved that shot of the crisp linen sheets against the red wall colour. Such an opportunity for drama and interest. I will have to go to Venice! Alison

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

My pleasure Alison, pleased you liked the photos and sketches, yes those linens look so paintable don’t they.
Will

Reply

Bibi February 17, 2017

Gorgeous, you are inspirational, thank you.

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Thanks Bibi

Reply

Greg Watkiss February 17, 2017

Hello Will,

Very interesting and informative. Just love the pictures!

Have you any new courses coming up soon?

Best regards,
Greg

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Thanks Greg, yes, a new impressionistic landscape painting course where I paint Venice on a larger scale.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Samantha McCloskey February 17, 2017

I can’t wait for this one!!

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Good one Samantha.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Louise Ryley February 17, 2017

Hey Will Thanks for this, Venice looks amazing, so glad you had a lovely time. I will have to organise a trip – its somewhere on the bucket list!! Cant wait for the next course? Your images are very inspirational… and the writing very enjoyable,, You have started me on a new career path too by the way!!! Painting full time now!

I look forward to the next course.
Louise

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

That’s great to hear Louise so pleased the paintings are going well.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Alan February 17, 2017

Hi Will, Happy New Year. In a damp and grey Cumbria it was lovely to meandre through Venice. When my wife was 40 I promised her a pizza and took her to Venice to eat it. I have been many times now but love the streets. Fortunately most people avoid walking nowadays and if you cross the Rialto and keep going they are all left behind.
I find that because of my poor sketching skills I paint copies of other art works and rarely my own so I would like to see your urban sketching plan. Ive just finished an acrylic/pastel course at our local art centre in the old brewery,Kendal.The idea is basic shapes etc in acrylic and highlighting with pastels. My tutor spoke highly of you too!

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Hi Alan, happy new year to you to, a pizza present is always a welcome one! You can read more details about the beginners urban sketching course here. Even just a few lines drawn from your own observation point can make a big difference to any more detailed paintings in the studio, hope you find it helpful.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Christine Weston February 17, 2017

Fab Will, thanks, all very inspiring!

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Hey Christine, nice to hear from you, hope you and Paul are well, pleased you enjoyed the pics.
Will

Reply

Myra Duffy February 17, 2017

Totally inspiring! I’m still attempting your other videos so this will be my next project – (painting views from your photos!). Many sincere thanks for this email. Myra

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

You’re more than welcome Myra, hope the course is going well.
Will

Reply

Tess Winn February 17, 2017

Can’t wait to see your new course. Your sketches are wonderful!

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Thanks Tess, pleased you enjoyed them.
Will

Reply

Kay February 17, 2017

Thanks Will.
We visited Venice in 2014. Would have loved to spend more time there but what we did see was amazing. My camera worked overtime. Photos of Doors, Windows, canals.
Your photos have inspired me to do some of my own paintings of Venice.
I agree the light is amazing.
Once again thanks bought back many memories.

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Great to hear you’re feeling inspired Kay and glad it brought back some fond memories of your trip.
Will

Reply

Dale Lysle February 17, 2017

I was in Venice in 2015 and although I haven’t painted or drawn any of my photo’s it was a joy to see your photo’s and remember the delights of Venice. Thanks, it might get me back looking at my pics for some references……..

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Hi Dale, yes, sometimes even the smallest detail of a reference image can be the starting point for a painting, enjoy looking through your shots for your next inspiration!
Will

Reply

Heather February 17, 2017

Love your article, amazing photos and love the sketches and artwork…love it all! I’m visiting Italy in April for the first time and this article has made me even more excited about my trip! Thank-you!

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Thanks Heather, so pleased you’re feeling excited about your trip.
Will

Reply

Gloria Bardell February 17, 2017

Thank you so much for sharing these stunning photos !

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Thanks Gloria, glad you enjoyed them
Will

Reply

Jenni February 17, 2017

Fabulous photo’s Will and so inspiring. Thanks

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Cheers Jenni

Reply

Val February 17, 2017

Thank you Will, what fantastic views and sketches of Venice. I have lapsed over the past year and haven’t picked up a pencil/paint brush. This has given me some inspiration to start again!
Best wishes

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Good one Val, pleased you’re feeling inspired to get sketching.
Will

Reply

Maritza Burgos February 17, 2017

Thanks Will , a wonderful and inspiring post. I am now eager to get my sketch book and pen and hit the streets of my own little corner of the world , here in down under Melbourne, while I dream of going to Venice in a year or so. Thank you and cheers.

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Thanks Maritza, hope the sketches go well!
Will

Reply

Edith young February 17, 2017

Very impressive Will, having been to Venice I can understand the love and connection you experienced which shows in your sketches. Virgin.net server stopped working without informing any user which has affected my contact. Fortunately some email arrived in my phone. Edith

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Thanks Edith, pleased it brought back some good memories of your experiences in Venice.
Will

Reply

Linda Thornton February 17, 2017

Venice is my favourite city. I’ve been back at least 4 times and would return in a heartbeat. You have brought real insight to the beauty I have always loved and explained what I’ve always taken for granted. Thank you.

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

That’s lovely to hear Linda.
Will

Reply

Marie-Claude February 17, 2017

Sooo inspiring! But it also shows that sketching or rather composing the scene is an art in itself.
Thank you for sharing.

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Thanks Marie-Claude, yes, you’re so right, changing your viewing position and making choices of what will work in the scene before you begin can play such a big part in if the final sketch is going to work.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Alison Stafford February 17, 2017

Haha! I can just imagine the horror on your face when that boat turned up!
Venice is the one place every artist should visit to experience the light, colour, shadows and of course Gelato!
Looks like you had a blast – right time of year to go too…without the nasty smells of August – looking forward to seeing the fruits of your labour.
I’m going to book a trip back there after reading this!
Hope you are both well
Ali
xx

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Hey Ali, nice to hear from you, yes it was a little sketchy on the way over! pleased you’re feeling inspired for a trip, hope the family are well.
Will

Reply

Alida Little February 17, 2017

A couple of years ago I found you (lol) and did some of the beginner courses and loved it all. Well, after a busy period and now looking at other tutorials etc., I’ve come back to settle on digging in, learning and applying your lessons with the goal of truly becoming an ‘artist’. Love all you do and your style of teaching is superb!

Thank you for sharing your skill so … skillfully :-)!
Alida

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Thanks very much Alida, glad you enjoyed the photos and are finding the courses helpful in your painting journey.
Will

Reply

Fatima February 17, 2017

Very inspiring & beautiful !

Thanks Will !

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Thanks Fatima.
Will

Reply

Judy Birt February 17, 2017

As usual, Will, a beautifully written article, which transported me to Venice in my mind and has made me determined to find the time to paint today. I’m really looking forward to your new Impressionistic Acrylic course.

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Good one Judy, pleased you’re looking forward to the course.
Will

Reply

suzana mara sacchi padovano February 17, 2017

Venice is always an inspiration. I have Italian and Brazilian citizenship and visit Venice always I can. you travel, photos, drawings and paintings are beautiful. Thank you!

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

What a great combination Suzana! what inspiration trips.
Will

Reply

Dorothy Jones February 17, 2017

What an impressive piece about Venice – the pictures, sketches and writing make me want to be there – NOW. With my luck with weather it would probably be raining, but I don’t think that would matter – it would still look wonderful. Thank you for inspiring me.
Can’t wait for the impressionist landscape course.

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

You’re too kind Dorothy, so pleased you enjoyed it.
Will

Reply

Anne Wilkinson February 17, 2017

Hello Will, what a brilliant email to receive from you on a dull grey morning. As everyone above acknowledges, your Venetian sketches and photos are hugely inspiring. I’m currently working through your urban sketching course and enjoying it immensely, the plan is to feel confident and ready to go out sketching during summer hols. By coincidence, a trip to Venice is being planned and your helpful advice which I can refer to will be a great bonus for this trip and for other urban scenes. Really looking forward to your next course. A big thank you! Anne

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Hi Anne, really pleased you’re enjoying the course and that’s a great aim with the sketches. It can sometimes be helpful even to practice standing sketching in the garden, you can soon start to learn how things are balancing and which pens and equipment you need to hand.
Say hi to Paddy!
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Daryl West February 17, 2017

Thanks Will – very inspirational. I love the portable acrylic palette- what a great idea.
Since picking up a paintbrush to paint a cherry about 2 years ago (one of your free tutorials) I have painted in acrylics and even sold a few paintings. I am now feeling confident enough to try oils and hope to master them to paint portraits,
Thanks again for all your invaluable videos, tips and advice,
Daryl.

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

That’s great to hear Daryl, congratulations on the painting sales!
Will

Reply

Maria February 17, 2017

Wow lovely o be Venice and all the information very inspiring thank you for sharing and knowledge on art

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Thanks Maria.
Will

Reply

tom-paul February 17, 2017

Will… Living the dream, painting the world and happy as Larry
great works mate… GREAT!!! tp

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Ha, ha, cheers Tom-paul pleased you enjoyed it.
Will

Reply

Cate Gibson February 17, 2017

Thank you Will, love the photos, love Venice, been twice and no doubt go again.
From Australia

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Cheers Cate, glad you liked the photos.
Will

Reply

Glenn Guillory February 17, 2017

Truly a fine presentation of a super trip. My mentor for 51 years, and my spiritual director, studied in Rome and loved his time in Venice, and you brought his presence back to me with your descriptions, and sketches. I’m self taught. My mom kept me at her side for years as she mixed oils and painted, mostly landscapes and mainly floral arrangements. I got a sort of “perfect pitch” for mixing color out of it, but I never took any courses, just studied out of books, or videos, but I saw you teach and loved your attitude and persona, so warm and upbeat, I plan to enter all the courses you offer, one at a time. I am doing this after discounting many teachers before I found you, with your combination of world savvy, and art excellence. I will eventually ask you which course to take first but I wanted to thank you, and introduce myself first. My website isn’t much now but I’ll update it soon, and even link to your school too. YOU ARE AMAZING. I’m 71 and ready to go!

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Thanks very much Glenn, and lovely to have you along! so pleased the article brought back some fond memories of your mentor and sounds like you’d be up t painting speed in no time. You might find this guide helpful as a suggested route through the paid courses, and have a peruse through the free lessons. The cherry painting gets some fab results.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Nicole February 17, 2017

This is a great diary of your visit and can’t wait to see the acrylic demo and more of the paintings that you will have done having had this amazing opportunity to get under/into the skin of Venice. Fab. It encourages me to seek out the photos I took when in Venice several years ago – at a time when I wasn’t so much into my art and painting. The difference now is that whenever I look around I seem to consider how it could be captured as a painting. You have inspired me to have a go. Thank you for sharing.

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

That’s brilliant news Nicole, hope you enjoy seeking out some of your previous photos for inspiration.
Will

Reply

Virginia February 17, 2017

Enjoyed this segment Will. Thank you for sharing.

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Thanks Virginia.
Will

Reply

willie lee February 17, 2017

Hi Will,
Amazing photo’s and sketches, very inspiring! Can’t wait for your next course.
Thank you for sharing.
Willie

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Cheers Willie, really pleased you enjoyed the photos and sketches
Will

Reply

Elizabeth February 17, 2017

Wow. Fabulous post. Look forward to the tutorial!!

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Cheers Elizabeth, pleased you’re looking forward to it.
Will

Reply

Coby February 17, 2017

Thanks a lot Will for this nice trip “via your eyes”.

Best greetings,
Coby

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

My pleasure Coby, really pleased you enjoyed the virtual tour!
Will

Reply

Claire Johnson February 17, 2017

Bravo! What a trip! I love your photos and the details of treats and goodies too. Thank you so much.

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Cheers Claire, really pleased you liked them.
Will

Reply

enjoyed love the beautiful paintings you did . looking forward to some courses February 17, 2017

love you work and the info you give on how to paint is very clear thanks

Reply

Maria K. Motz February 17, 2017

Hi Will, Thank you for your beautiful photos. Your additional comments regarding the color, light and shadow,etc.. makes the images interesting and carry on the eye of an artist. Those comments will ring a bell to pay attention allows on my drawing and painting. I like your improvised sketch pallet box … i’ll use your idea on making one myself for outdoor studies… Your enthusiasm to share your knowledge as an artist are highly appreciate on my drawing and painting journey. Hope one day I could stop by to see your studio and art gallery.
Maria

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Really pleased you enjoyed the photos Maria and glad you found the article helpful, good luck with the improvised palette!
Will

Reply

Ana Marija February 17, 2017

Thanks for a sharing! Beautiful and inspiring.

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Cheers Ana.

Reply

Monica February 17, 2017

Thank you so much for this post and the beautiful pictures! It brought back so many joyous memories, some of them decades apart. Venice is truly magical.

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

What a great thing to hear Monica, pleased it brought back happy memories.
Will

Reply

Nicole Forget February 17, 2017

Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos. It brings back good memories
of my two trips to Venice. You give me inspiration to look at my photos
and paint a scene.

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Always good to have a look at old photos with a fresh eye Nicole, good luck with your painting.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Nancy February 17, 2017

Thank you for sharing, Will. This was quite an inspiration.
I haven’t painted for a few months, but now I feel creative!!

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Fantastic that you’re feeling inspired Nancy!
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Barbara George February 17, 2017

Hi Will – you and your works are new to me – I am so happy to have found you!! Your beautiful mottled colors – masterful sketches – I would love to see more of the large studio piece. From what time period/artist is the unfinished portrait? You make me feel totally inadequate – but in a good inspired way! I visited Mykonos last summer and have been procrastinating about starting on a series of acrylic paintings. I am largely self-taught and therefore very grateful to you for sharing!
Thank you!

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Hi Barbara, nice to have you onboard! and pleased you’re feeling inspired, procrastination happens to the best of us, you might enjoy this article: On painting, Procrastination and What Might Have Been The artist was Franz von Lenbach, 1838
Will

Reply

Denny Martindale February 17, 2017

Hello Will,
Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos and telling us about your visit. Have been thinking about working in plein air again and your post is quickly moving it up on my to do list. This was a lovely start to my day over morning coffee. Blessings from Tennessee, USA!

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

That’s brilliant to hear Denny, yes, even small plein air studies can really help to add a freshness to studio work.
Will

Reply

Karen February 17, 2017

We visited Venice two years ago. I recognize some of these buildings–even the off-the-beaten path structures. The evening light is magical. I’ve yet to paint any scenes, and your post has inspired me to do a mini collection. Thanks!

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Great to hear it Karen, hope the mini collection goes well.
Will

Reply

John Simlett February 17, 2017

What a treat, Will, thanks for sharing (ice cream notwithstanding). I have a whole Pintarest page for Venice, it’s an Artist’s delight of a place. I shall add your photos if you don’t mind

Looking forward to the new course, having just done your ‘B & W oil portrait’ for a second time in two years: good revision. I think I’ve completed most of your courses now … and am beginning to call myself a painter, albeit with a small ‘p’.

Can I suggest that on the new course you drop the complimentary tea & digestives and replace it the hot chocolate and ice cream?

Best wishes and thanks.

John

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Ha, ha, good suggestion John! yes, by all means, thanks for sharing. You’ve been doing some great work, I’d move that p to an uppercase!
Have a great week.
Will

Reply

Chrissy February 17, 2017

Seeing your sketches has just transported be back to Venice when I was there 2 years ago, looks like you had a great trip and thanks for sharing.

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

My pleasure Chrissy, glad it brought back some nice memories of your visit.
Will

Reply

Marianne February 17, 2017

Awesome pictures Will!..thanks for sharing…looks like a dream trip!

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Cheers Marianne, glad you enjoyed them
Will

Reply

Peter February 17, 2017

I say we begin a KickStarter fund to raise money and send you and Vanessa to other global destinations.
This is always very, very helpful to understand your strategy in approaching a subject. How you see the key elements, what details should remain in the final piece. Groundwork is so important in a successful piece. Even if it’s a quick sketch from a gondola…
Cheers,
-Peter

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Ha, ha, don’t be giving Vanessa ideas Peter! really pleased you found it helpful and thanks for the kind words.
Will

Reply

Tracey Carnahan February 17, 2017

Absolutely beautiful. Your sketches are inspired!

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Thanks Tracey.
Will

Reply

Charles Parry February 17, 2017

Hi Will

As always, you are amazing. Your site is the one that I wait to receive because you are so inspirational. You also make your articles very readable and fun as well – your humour shows through. We are off to Lake Garda in September and once again, as always we will visit Venice but this time with a new perspective because of your latest missive.

Thanks once again Will.

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Hi Charles, hope you’re well, and so pleased you enjoyed the article and fantastic to hear that you can add some of the ideas to your trip in September.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Jim King February 17, 2017

I always enjoy receiving your emails….They take me away with you from the stresses of everyday….Saturday morning I’ll be back into a watercolor I’m working with inspiration from you…Stay well and happy….Jim

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

That’s great to hear Jim, hope the watercolours go well.
Will

Reply

Lynne Oakes February 17, 2017

Thank you SO much for sharing all this! It may be as close to going there as I get, but you truly gave me the ‘feel’ of the place and with your artist’s eye it was extra special.
Thank you again.
Lynne

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Thanks very much Lynne, so please help give you a glimpse into the feel of the streets.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Cath February 17, 2017

Thanks so much for sharing this Will – fabulous!

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Cheers Cath.

Reply

Diana walter February 17, 2017

Stuck in endless winter of the great northwest I really loved seeing new and exciting pictures with so many colors and possibilities. Your pochade box is ingenious. I made something like it but didn’t think to cut paper for the lid and have stay wet palette paper in the compartments. Did you also use open acrylics to give you more drying time outdoors? Also great photos by you and Vanessa. Thanks for the inspiration. I think a gelato might be called for this weekend for me and maybe a trip downtown to draw ice skaters in the park.

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Hi Diana, for this trip I used standard acrylics, but OPEN acrylics could also be used. I find with the acrylic compartments if you really load them up they stay wet for a surprisingly long time, even with standard acrylics and no stay wet strip. The biggest mistake can be to bring out lots of tubes and then only squeeze out a really small amount, it will dry very quickly and you’ll be forever going to your bag to top up. I’ll have to try some compartment size to drying time experiments to get the ultimate workability to weight size!
A trip to the ice skaters sounds great!

Will

Reply

Connie February 17, 2017

Hi Will, thanks for a wonderful “art tour” through Venice, one of my favorite places as well. I am so delighted to see how to take acrylic paint for plein air painting… never have tried it as its seemed impossible to do. Thank you so much for sharing how you carry you paints and pencils. I will have to give it a try. Also, always enjpy your artciles and tutorials!

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Thanks Connie, pleased you found it helpful.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Akshata February 17, 2017

Hi Will,

This is an amazing blog indeed!
It would also be great if you can give your students a detailed tutorial about sketching cityscapes quickly.

Cheers!
Akshata

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Hi Akshata, really pleased you enjoyed it. You might enjoy this 10-minute urban sketching tutorial or the more in-depth Beginners Urban Sketching Course.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Allan Stanley February 17, 2017

Hey Will, Thanks for reminding me about Venice and of course your sketches. Your Impressionist acrylic course sounds very interesting… do you have a handle on the release or at least some teasers. The painting in this post looks like you are using oils… but I suppose you are using “open” acylics. Thanks and Cheers, Allan

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Hi Allan, I haven’t got any course launch dates at the moment but hopefully thinking mid-March. Both of the paintings featured in the article were using standard acrylics.

Cheers,
Will

Reply

Debra Artigliere February 17, 2017

Will: Before I started painting, I lived in Italy (south of Rome) for five years. I never before thought of digging out all of my old photos and making an attempt to paint one of the better ones. Your sketches & paintings are beautiful, and brought back memories of visiting Venice. Thank you for all you do for us, and everything you send. I always learn from you.
Warm regards,
Debbie

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

Hi Debra, what a fabulous location, Rome is such an epic city. Great to hear that you’re feeling inspired to revisit some of those old photos, Venice is a city that doesn’t seem to age so they’ll make brilliant references.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Paige Wheeler February 17, 2017

Thank you for sharing such beautiful photos and your paintings and drawings. Very inspiring, and thank you for mentioning what kind of pens and paints you used.

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

My pleasure Paige, really pleased you found it helpful.
Will

Reply

Michael February 17, 2017

As an architect, I consider Venice the most beautiful city in the world. It was wonderful of you to share your experience. It has inspired me to get back to that waiting canvas…

Love your UT videos….they have really helped a novice painter like myself pick up the brushes and get painting

Reply

Will Kemp February 17, 2017

That’s great to hear Michael, really pleased you’ve been enjoying the videos and tutorials.
Will

Reply

Christine Gauthier February 17, 2017

Thank you so much for sharing such beauty. Wow wow wow

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

My pleasure Christine, glad you enjoyed them
Will

Reply

Tamara Torres. February 17, 2017

Wonderful!

Reply

Hardy Jones February 17, 2017

What a pleasant surprise to see your work and sights I am so familiar with as well as others not seen. I wonder if you saw the fabulous Sorolla in the Ca D’Oro? You mentioned an impressionist acrylic course. Cuando, cuando??

Best, Hardy

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Hi Hardy, great to hear from you, I didn’t spot the Sorolla, think it must have been hidden away on the second floor with the Van Dyck.
looking for a mid-March launch.
Will

Reply

Ben Beckendorf February 17, 2017

Thanks Will – I love your approach – wonderful pleasing photos and sketches – your emails inspire me every time! The way you work with color is very cool! My father, Charles Beckendorf, ( beckendorf.com)was an artist all his life, and I am too, so I’ve grown up in the art world. I’ve always been fascinated by the setups and the preparations in which different artists take to approach their paintings. Please continue to send your newsletters as I look forward to them.
Thanks again
Ben B

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Thanks very much Ben, what kind words, so pleased you’ve been enjoying the sketches and techniques.

Will

Reply

Michael Wells February 17, 2017

Always a pleasure to receive your emails and see where you have gone and what you have sketched and/or painted. Wonderfully written and sketched; the photography is also great, who is the photographer, you or your wife?

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Hi Michael, glad you enjoyed them, I’m the main photographer with Vanessa as a reluctant (but super steady) camera assistant!
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Lynn Davis-Smith February 17, 2017

Wow! These photos and sketches are very inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing.

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

My pleasure Lynn!

Reply

Retha Palmer February 17, 2017

Bellissima! Thank you for sharing your wonderful article and lovely photos–and of course, your fine sketches!

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Thanks Retha, so pleased you liked the images.
Will

Reply

Jim Neuner February 17, 2017

Hi Will,

Looks like another great adventure. What cameras and which lenses did you take with you on this trip?

Looking forward to seeing your new course.

Cheers,
Jim

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Hi Jim, good to hear from you, a mix of mostly iPhone and a Panasonic LX100.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Judy February 17, 2017

How generous of you to share your wonderful studies and photos of Venice. I’ll be smiling for the rest of the day!

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

That’s lovely to hear Judy, so pleased you enjoy them.
Will

Reply

Anne smith February 17, 2017

Great pics, Will. Thanks so much for sending…makes me feel like I am there

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Thanks Anne.
Will

Reply

Jill February 17, 2017

Thanks Will, lovely photos and comments. We went to Venice for a significant wedding anniversary and loved it. Just wish I had a modicum of painting talent but I keep trying. I can make very enjoyable messes with oil paints, even manage to include my elbows.

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Ha ha, those elbow paintings can work out great! Hope it brought back some good memories of your anniversary trip Jill.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Bernie February 17, 2017

Many thanks Will. Lovely pictures but I particularly like your sketches. Bernie.

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Thanks Bernie, pleased you liked the sketches.
Will

Reply

SWRichard February 17, 2017

You always amaze me with your sketching/drawing skills. I would love to own your sketchbooks—they are beautiful ‘art.’

Your prochade box is very clever! Thanks for that tip, and the types of pens that you use.

How can any artist resist the vista’s in Venice! Thanks for sharing your visit.

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Hi Sherrie, really pleased you found the article helpful and good luck making your own pochade box.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Hilda February 17, 2017

Hi Will,
Thanks for letting me see Venice through your eyes! I don’t know if I will ever get to go there myself as I live in the US and spend all my travelling energy going home to England. I love your work and last year took two of your courses (Colour Mixing and Acrylic Portraits) which I enjoyed immensely and ever since have been plugging this website and you to anyone who cares to listen! Now I have started my own blog and I am plugging you there too!
As a mostly acrylic painter, who occasionally does plein aire in water colours – I was very interested in your acrylic Pochade box….definitely something I want to set up for myself, for my next holiday. Thanks for that and for all that you do….you are the only one out there that answered what I always thought, that Acrylics CAN have all the subtlety and excitement that oils do (especially where portraits are concerned)
Best wishes,
Hilda

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Hi Hilda, great to hear from you and so pleased that you’ve been finding the courses helpful and thanks for your recommendations, very much appreciated.

Will

Reply

Mary February 17, 2017

Thanks for sharing, Will…always enjoy your posts…so inspiring!

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Cheers Mary.

Reply

Andy February 17, 2017

WHOA! I was just there this summer! I did a few sketches, but my perspective wasn’t up to snuff so I opted for large spaces, and details of buildings and corners. I loved the idea that Venice is so skethable! Every corner and bridge is an opportunity.

We got engaged there so I am sure we will be back!
-a.

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Congratulations on you engagement Andy! really pleased you had a great time on your visit.
Will

Reply

Helen February 17, 2017

I’m very new at sketching so I love seeing your process. I think I get too caught up in the tiny details… I’ll practice loosening up at bit…
This series of photos etc. is so beautiful and inspiring.. It seems you have captured the essence of Venice even though I have never been. Stunning… Thank you for sharing!

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Thanks Helen, so pleased you found it helpful, this article might also be of interest to you: An Art Material Addicts Guide to becoming a Minimalist Sketcher
Good luck with your sketches.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Paul Langham February 17, 2017

Hi Will,
This a wonderful and very atmospheric diary of your trip. Venice is a wonderful city, your sketches and photos brought back a lot of memories for me. Thanks for the memories and good luck with the new course!

Kind regards

Paul

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Hi Paul, thanks very much, so pleased it brought back great memories from your trip to Venice.
Will

Reply

Catherine February 17, 2017

Thank you, Will! One can sense your passion in what you do across the screen. So inspiring!

Would you give me some tips on sketching or painting in public? I’d feel really uncomfortable having curious passersby looming around me while I sketch or paint.

Thanks!

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Hi Catherine, great that you’re feeling inspired, when building confidence to sketching in public it’s often a case of taking baby steps. Start sitting down with a small sketchbook about the size of your phone, you can even put a supermini notebook in a phone case and everyone around she just thinks you’re looking at your phone with a stylus! Then as your confidence builds you can progress to larger sketches whilst standing. You might be interested in the Beginners Urban Sketching Course.

Cheers,
Will

Reply

Shirley S Clark Clark February 17, 2017

This could not have come at a better time. The little paint box you put together was so what I was looking to do and even better as someone had just given me some of these items when they were downsizing. So now when I go to Newfoundland I can be ready to sketch and plein air paint without taking a lot of items.
Wonderful sketching and work! That is something I have to work on, but you have inspired me to do so.

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Fabulous that you’re feeling inspired Shirley, have a great time with your paint sketches.
Will

Reply

Kathy February 17, 2017

Thanks so much for taking the time to share this – the photos, sketches, etc. Very inspiring! Am I the only one who would look forward to a painting tutorial of the cookie tray with the hot chocolate?? It’s not just the architecture in Venice that’s beautiful!

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Ha, ha, I definitely found the hot chocolate inspirational!

Reply

Camille Bodey February 17, 2017

Enjoyed your photos and sketches very much. Thank you.
I had the privilege of going on a two week pilgrimage to several cities and Venice was one of them.. I would go back in a minute!
Camille Bodey

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

My pleasure Camille, glad you enjoyed the images.
Will

Reply

Michael Daly February 17, 2017

Reminds me of my own trip three years ago in February. Perhaps it’s the lack of crowds and the early spring light that could make it the best time of year to go. I too sketched and painted on my return, but not to your standard. But at least to my own satisfaction, as it should be.

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Exactly right Michael, pleased you had an inspirational trip.
Will

Reply

Lucca's Mom February 17, 2017

I’ve been to Venice…you captured it!

Reply

Mary February 17, 2017

So looking forward to the new impressionistic landscape course!

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Thanks Mary.

Reply

Nicolle February 17, 2017

Thank you for sharing. I enjoy reading you. it is very helping. In fact, i like all your tutorials…. thank you again Will !!!

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Thanks Nicolle, very kind of you to say say.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Lauren Rader February 17, 2017

I love seeing your work and Venice. Thank you for sharing.

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

My pleasure Lauren.
Will

Reply

Julia February 17, 2017

Hi Will, I love your writing and photos. By reading your Venice travel journey, I am truly being inspired. You have encouraged me to sketch more of wherever my eyes and my heart can still see…I have finally downloaded all of the video that I’ve purchased from you to DVDs and I am waiting to get a new computer to start learning from you regularly.
Thank you for sharing your photos in an artist’s view.

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

That’s brilliant to hear Julia, really hope you enjoy working through the course.

Reply

Jose Gama February 17, 2017

Hi Will lucky man! Thanks so much for sharing your abilities with us, poor mortals, I’ve been many times to Venice but I never could do this kind of beuatiful sketching. Wonderful

Hug
Jose

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Thanks for the hug Jose, you might surprise yourself with your sketches, even a few quick lines can really help to get your eyes focused and really observing the scene.
Will

Reply

Cheryl Hughes February 17, 2017

Such fabulous inspirational photos – thank you so much for sharing. I am unlikely to ever experience these wonderful places as I have a fear of flying, so love to see other peoples pics of their fantastic trips. I am plodding along with my interest in art and like to think I have improved in my endeavours after watching your videos, but have a long, long way to go. Thank you Will, Cheers.

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Thanks Cheryl, hope it gave you an insight into the atmosphere of the city.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

geoff heath February 17, 2017

Hi Will and thanks for sharing your Venetian sketches. Geoff.

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Hey Geoff, pleased you enjoyed them.
Will

Reply

Beth Ayala February 17, 2017

Photos, drawings and paintings made my heart sing.

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Mine too!

Reply

Julie Arnott February 17, 2017

I so enjoyed your photo essay of Venice. It is such an inspiring place to visit and we too enjoyed a winter holiday there. Thank you for showing us how you can be inspired at every turn. Regards

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

My pleasure Julie, so please you enjoyed it.
Will

Reply

Alison February 17, 2017

Wow, this is an inspiring article, hoping to go to Venice one day, will practice my art in the meantime so I ready for such great views.

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Hi Alison, yes, getting the practice of sketching outside from any view will really help when you’re then faced with a scene you’d like to capture, the back garden and a cup of tea can be a marvellous place to start!
Will

Reply

Carrie February 18, 2017

So inspirational, Will. Thank you for sharing.

Cheers,

Carrie

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

You’re more than welcome Carrie, pleased you’re feeling inspired.
Will

Reply

Howard Park February 18, 2017

Thanks for sharing Will !! I especially like your pochade box. The line drawings, as always are exciting and the line and wash you did is always a great way of remembering what you saw. Far better than the one eyed lier (camera) I also teach a line and wash class and have seen my plein air students use this type of drawing ( painting) to hone their visual memory.
By the way I always thought pochade box comes from poch which means pocket Its a pocket box
Love your work.
Cheers. Howard

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Good one Howard, pleased you enjoyed it.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

sandy February 18, 2017

thanks for sharing Will – terrific shots and sketches and fulsome and entertaining account of your visit – it s years since I was in Venice and this was almost like being there again!
I reckon artists get to squeeze every last drop out of a place.

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Thanks Sandy, glad it brought back fond memories, yes, it’s got a very high street view to paint ratio!
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Elfie Duminy February 18, 2017

Thankyou Willem wonderful to see Venice with your eyes . The colours exstra beautiful I will try my best!!

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Cheers Elfie.

Reply

Jamie Wilson February 18, 2017

thank you so much for sharing your painting and pictures! I am looking forward to taking the impressionist course! We have our own beautiful scenes here in the United States but it seems a different light over there…..love the sky with the green water! I know you will email when your course is ready……
Am taking water color from a wonderful teacher here in California but want to learn the impressionist style as well…..
thanks again!

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

My pleasure Jamie, yes the green of the water works so well against the Venetian red walls. I’ll send out details of the new course in the next few weeks.
Will

Reply

David nichols February 18, 2017

Thanks will for the great pictures and fantastic sketches, a wonderful inspiration to us all. Regards David.

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Thanks David, pleased you enjoyed them.
Will

Reply

JENNIFER FINDLAY February 18, 2017

WOW!!!!! I have to visit Venice. What incredible photos you have shared. Thank you. It must have been a wonderful trip.

Cheers

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Thanks Jennifer, yes it’s a really inspirational place.
Will

Reply

Barbra Joan February 18, 2017

Will, thank you so much for the tour. I’m Italian, my grandmother was born in Italy, coming to America when she was a very young girl. My dream has always been to see italy. What a beautiful place to be inspired to paint.

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Really pleased you enjoyed the images Barbra.
Will

Reply

Lean Chew February 18, 2017

I’ve found your articles and videos very helpful indeed. Your teaching style very effective – clear, sticking to the essentials, sound and enthusiastic. Enjoyed your account, photos and sketches of Venice immensely. Thank you.

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Thanks very much Lean, very kind of you to say so.
Will

Reply

Pallavi Gupta February 18, 2017

A pleasure to go through this! Thanks!

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Cheers Pallavi.
Will

Reply

Susan Flower February 18, 2017

Hello Will,
Thanks for your inspirational emailed diary of Venice and I loved your sketches and paintings. I went there on honeymoon with my late husband but never got any photos as we were lost after walking all over and it was getting dark! Happy memories and I’ve always wanted to return – we visited Burano, Murano etc and really enjoyed all the boat trips. When we arrived after a very late unscheduled train trip we both gasped at the canal sparkling with its many lit-up boats; it was about 1am. Now I’m going to ring another friend who paints to arrange a Spring trip – happy painting!

Sue Flower

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Sounds fantastic Susan, so pleased you’re feeling inspired to visit again, have a fabulous trip.
Will

Reply

Janet DeAngelis February 18, 2017

Love your photos and sketches, you always inspire me Will, great start to my day, thankyou!

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Cheers Janet, really pleased you enjoyed it.
Will

Reply

Bill Joos February 18, 2017

Will,

I have been fortunate to have visited Venice 3 times. They sights are amazing. Every corner one turns, there is something new – from the grand view to the small detail. So much to see – everywhere.
Great pics!
After three times, one would suppose one had seen it all, but your pictures make me what to go back. Next year for sure.
Thanks for the memories.
Bill

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Hi Bill, so pleased it brought back nice memories of your trips to Venice.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Laurie February 18, 2017

Hello Will the photo are breathtaking, I long to visit Venice one day !

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Thanks very much Laurie, really pleased you enjoyed them.
Will

Reply

Kathleen Major February 18, 2017

The colors of Venice are spectacular. Thank you for sharing your wonderful experiences.

Reply

Will Kemp February 18, 2017

Thanks Katheleen, yes, the colours of the crumbling painted walls are brilliant to sketch.
Will

Reply

Audrey Skoreyko February 18, 2017

Thanks,Will for sharing your great sketche and photos of Venice I’ve never been
There.. Since I am over 90yrs young , I don’ t get to travel much anymore. Love to paint and sketch, always have so will continue to do so for as long as I’m able to..
Many thanks again!

Reply

Will Kemp February 19, 2017

My pleasure Audrey, so pleased to hear you’re still creating and learning, glad you enjoyed it.
Will

Reply

Liz Au February 18, 2017

Aloha Wil! I loved this adventure, your stories and photos! Can’t wait to learn how to sketch and paint some of these scenes! Thank you for sharing!- Liz

Reply

Will Kemp February 19, 2017

Hey Liz, hope you’re well, really pleased you enjoyed the photos.
Will

Reply

Nina February 18, 2017

Hi Will: Since you are talking about light in your paintings, please tell me the best way to go about painting clouds with acrylics. My art teacher has me using about 3 brushes at a time to paint clouds and I do find that successful. How do you go about painting clouds, in particular the big fluffy ones in a clear blue sky? Love your work, thank you.

Reply

Will Kemp February 19, 2017

Hi Nina, for painting realistic clouds try to observe the shapes in between the clouds and get a strong visual pattern to start with, this will help to create a realistic representation.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Eileen Frye February 18, 2017

I felt the same thing! I loved the light in Venice!!!!!

Reply

Lennie Robson February 18, 2017

What great photos for inspiration! You’ve made me want to go back to my own pics of Venice and try to paint them. You keep people like me more and more interested in doing better at painting.Thanks heaps

Reply

Will Kemp February 19, 2017

Pleased to hear it Lennie, really hope you enjoy searching out some new inspiration from your photos.
Will

Reply

linda February 18, 2017

Thank you so much for sending me the pictures and sketches of your Venice trip.
I look forward to receiving more from you travels. I am going to try a few, bit in pastel and acrylics.
Linda

Reply

Will Kemp February 19, 2017

Great to hear it Linda, good luck with your series!
Will

Reply

Frances February 18, 2017

Will, Thanks for sharing. I lived in Northern Italy in my younger days for about 4 years, so I have lots of memories of Venice. Unfortunately I wasn’t doing a whole lot with my art and didn’t even take photos, but you know what they say about hind sight. Glad you had such a great time, you amaze me with your drawing ability, I would get lost in such a difficult subject. Thank you so much for keeping me on your email list, Frances.

Reply

Will Kemp February 19, 2017

My pleasure Frances, glad you enjoyed them and thanks for the kind comments.
Will

Reply

Nancy February 19, 2017

Will,
Scrolling through your pictures and descriptions took me back to a trip to Italy with my mother back in 2009. She passed away in 2015 and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t miss her. Thing is, I have my artistic ability from her, she is and I am (except with your help of course) self taught. So this hit me on so many levels and for that I thank you! Crazy thing how things come together and affects you in this life we live.

Nancy

Reply

Will Kemp February 19, 2017

Hi Nancy, sounds like you’ve got some lovely memories from the trip with your mother and I’m really glad you enjoyed the article.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Ann Lewitowski February 19, 2017

Your sketches are lovely little works of art in themselves.I have visited Venice on a day trip from croatia and missed the opportunity to sketch, I have since retired and do like to paint and sketch. Thanks will for inspiring me to sketch the everyday.

Reply

Will Kemp February 19, 2017

Thanks very much Ann, yes, there really can be inspiration around every corner.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

CHERYL February 19, 2017

I ESPECIALLY LIKED THE ORANGE BRICKS ON THE CANAL WALLS, CHANGING TO ALMOST PINK AGAINST THE AQUA COLOR IN THE WATER. AT LEAST MY COMPUTER SHOWED THE COLOR TO BE AQUA IN ONE PICTURE. AND THEN U HAD TO GO AND SHOW THE DELICIOUS DESSERT. MY MOUTH WAS JEALOUS.

THANK U FOR SHARING AND IT IS A GREAT HELP SHOWING WHAT TOOLS U USE. YOU INSPIRE ME TO GET TO WORK AND ENJOY ALL THAT ART HAS TO OFFER.

Reply

Will Kemp February 19, 2017

Ha, ha, pleased you enjoyed the Gelato Cheryl, so pleased you’re feeling inspired.
Will

Reply

Zaree February 19, 2017

Hello Will.
Thank u very much for these pictures. This is very informative. Thanks again,

Reply

Will Kemp February 19, 2017

Hi Zaree, nice to hear from you, pleased you found it helpful.
Will

Reply

Christine February 19, 2017

Venice is my favourite place, something breathtaking around every corner. I’ve yet to visit in the winter months. Your post is going to cost me money as I now need to go again !!! Thanks for sharing x

Reply

Will Kemp February 19, 2017

Ha, ha, hope you enjoy your next trip Christine.
Will

Reply

Elda Fernandez February 19, 2017

Thank you Will for sharing your feelings and thoughts about Venice.

I love Venice too. I travel there once a year since 2012. I am only there for three or four days, enough to impregnate myself with its atmosphere and beauty. So far I have done only watercolors but I love your acrylic plain air kit and next time I will incorporate quick acrylic sketches to my travel journal.
I have three of your courses (the first was Beginners Urban Sketching that has been extremely useful and inspiring for me) so, I’m waiting impatiently for the next one.

Elda

Reply

Will Kemp February 19, 2017

Hi Elda, so pleased you’ve been enjoying the courses and a yearly dose sounds like great artistic medicine! pleased you’re looking forward to the new course.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Angela February 19, 2017

Hi Will. What a revelation. I had no idea there was such a thing as chocolate sorbet, let alone an extra dark one! Now I might need to go to Venice. It all looks a bit gorgeous. Oh and your art is pretty cool too. Thanks for all you share so generously. I just love your approach.

Reply

Will Kemp February 19, 2017

Hi Angela, yes it’s rather special a chocolate sorbet, you get the smooth colour and intensity of dark chocolate without the bitterness and it’s often dairy-free. If you’re ever in London, the chocolatier Paul A Young does an excellent 70% dark cholate sorbet in the summer months.

Cheers,
Will

Reply

Deborah February 19, 2017

Really lovely Will. Thank you.

Reply

Will Kemp February 19, 2017

Cheers Deborah, hope you’re well.
Will

Reply

Nancy February 19, 2017

There is no place like Venice – the colors are amazing!

Reply

Will Kemp February 19, 2017

They sure are Nancy!

Reply

Dorothy February 19, 2017

thank you so much for showing us around Venice we are going in September this year as it is our diamond wedding anniversary. so looking forward to capturing all those lovely colours will try to capture the buildings though i am a novice.

Reply

Will Kemp February 19, 2017

Congratulations on your upcoming anniversary Dorothy, what a place to celebrate in.
Will

Reply

Elaine P Miller February 19, 2017

What a wonderful trip you had. I’m too nervous to fly far and I don’t think my legs would see the distance so I appreciate seeing Venice through your eyes. What wonderful photos you took. It’s so good of you to share your experiences. I’m purely an Australian artist (not all that good mind you but I enjoy what I do). I’m concentrating on the Blue Mountains right now as my son lives in Mt Victoria and he shows me around with my trusty camera. Thanks again Will.
Elaine

Reply

Will Kemp February 19, 2017

You’re more than welcome Elaine, so glad it helped to give a small insight into the city for you.
Will

Reply

Michelle February 19, 2017

Will, thank you for sharing. I love your sketches, paint colours and the perspective you show of Venice. The drawing of the canal with the bridge is commonly seen in art. Although I have never been to Venice (it is on my wishlist), your sketches give me a sense of being there! Thanks
Michelle

Reply

Will Kemp February 19, 2017

Thanks Michelle, pleased you enjoyed the sketches.
Will

Reply

Samara February 19, 2017

Thank you for sharing your adventure! I LOVE the plein aire pochade kit. Not sure I understand how you use a palette to mix colors. I’m always looking for ways to minimize my supplies when plein aire painting.

Reply

Will Kemp February 20, 2017

Pleased you enjoyed it Samara.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Brenda Finley February 20, 2017

Hello Will:

Received your Tutorial. Thanks you for sharing your wonderful sketching holiday with
us all. I so enjoyed the beautiful pics of Venice & your fun filled commentary. What a
wonderful Holiday for you & your wife. Making memories are so important . You must have been thrilled to sketch so much History. I have a great Idea, how about you taking all your students the next time you wander off to beautiful places, Lol.

Until the next time, Happy painting.
Brenda.

Reply

Will Kemp February 20, 2017

Hi Brenda, lovely to hear from you and really pleased you enjoyed the photos, ha, ha, but how would we have shared the ice-cream out?!
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Dattatray February 20, 2017

Hi Will
I really like the sketch part of your amazing work on such small sketch book you are really great a real story teller …….by your paintings ……….great journey………great like your previous journey in Amsterdam ……if am not wrong ….that was also a great journey ………….I would really like to see you on your next journey …….which I feel …..INDIA …….I would really like to see you hear

once again GREAT WORK……

Thanks
Dattatray Mhatre
Mumbai INDIA

Reply

Will Kemp February 20, 2017

Thanks Dattatray, yes, Amsterdam was a great trip to and thanks for the suggestions!
Will

Reply

Kathleen February 20, 2017

Venice looks so inviting, and your work is amazing.
Thankyou so much.
Kathleen

Reply

Will Kemp February 20, 2017

Thanks Kathleen, very kind of you to say so.
Will

Reply

Wendy Bailey February 20, 2017

This travelogue is an award winner. It has everything. Great images, lively writing, superb sketching, crammed full of practical advice for aspiring artists.

Reply

Will Kemp February 20, 2017

Cheers Wendy, you’re too kind, so pleased you enjoyed it.
Will

Reply

lara February 20, 2017

Really awesome. Lovely sketches, and the
tiny paint box was good to see. Thank you!

Reply

Will Kemp February 20, 2017

Thanks Lara, glad you enjoyed it.
Will

Reply

Judith Petering February 20, 2017

Thank you for the wonderful journey. What an amazing collection of buildings, textures and light within those buildings. Itching to get out the tools to paint and sketch.

Reply

Will Kemp February 20, 2017

So pleased you’re feeling inspired Judith.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

deb February 20, 2017

Thank you for these amazing images. love your pochade as well. Onward!

Reply

Will Kemp February 20, 2017

Onward indeed Deb! so pleased you enjoyed it.
Will

Reply

Sheryl Gruenig February 20, 2017

Thanks for sharing the photos! It reminded me of my 2007 trip to Venice – what a difference the new camera’s make in color.

Reply

Will Kemp February 20, 2017

My pleasure Sheryl, glad it brought back some fond memories of your trip.
Will

Reply

Helle February 20, 2017

Hi Will
Thanks for sharing your lovely trip and great pics

Reply

Will Kemp February 21, 2017

Thanks Helle, glad you liked them.
Will

Reply

duffy February 20, 2017

Fantastic photos Will! I envy you, I cannot lie!

Reply

Will Kemp February 21, 2017

Cheers Duffy, so pleased you enjoyed them
Will

Reply

Julie Powell February 21, 2017

Hi Will,
If I am in need of inspiration I know I will find it on your site! I have always drawn and painted but never really had the courage to go out and sketch in public, especially urban sketching, but I have recently retired and I would love to be able to relax and casually go out and draw without the fear of people looking at what I am doing. Maybe one day I will have enough confidence. At the moment I just skulk around my village when I know it will be quiet.
Loved reading this as it is 24 years since I visited Venice. Keep up the brilliant work and inspirational posts.

Julie

Reply

Will Kemp February 21, 2017

Hi Julie, so pleased you enjoyed the post, what can help, especially when painting in towns or cities is to find busy squares and then rest with your back against a wall of a building. Onlookers are much less likely to come right up next to you, and it can help to build your confidence of sketching within a busy environment.

Cheers,
Will

Reply

Joseph L February 21, 2017

Will, I am always pleased with you posts. You really take great photos and your commentary make them really come alive! You are such a talented artist. I really love how you explain and describe your tools and materials. Your sketches are great. I always enjoy your trips. It is as if I am traveling along with you. Thanks so much for sharing.

Reply

Will Kemp February 21, 2017

Thanks very much Joseph, really glad you enjoyed the photos and descriptions.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Patricia Hartmann February 22, 2017

Thank you, Will, for the inspiration. Architecture presents a unique challenge. Seeing your results I intend to keep on task! I am sketching, by the way, from photos of buildings in Europe that were destroyed in WWII. A mission in progress. From
Chicago, Pat Hartmann

Reply

Will Kemp February 24, 2017

My pleasure Patricia, glad it’s helped with encouragement for your sketching project, hope it goes well.
Will

Reply

Kathy Coffman February 23, 2017

Will, thank you so much for sharing your trip with us. To me it’s a real treat as I’ve never been over there from USA. I’m a great fan of yours & love your lessons. Also I always recommend you to aspiring artists.

Reply

Will Kemp February 24, 2017

Thanks very much Kathy, very kind of you.
Will

Reply

Petrus Boshoff February 24, 2017

Lots of light / beautiful deep colours/ contrasts / ambience. Love the Venice combination of sketching and eventual applied paintings. Waiting in anticipation on New Venice Course . Very interested!

Reply

Will Kemp February 25, 2017

Cheers Petrus, really pleased you enjoyed the article and are looking forward to the course.
Will

Reply

Delores Haugland February 25, 2017

Dear Will,
I so much enjoyed seeing your EXCELLENTsketches and the scenery. Like the direction you are going with the pallette knife abstracts. I have been in an artistic slump, and this helped a little light break through the ennui. The light there is inexplicable…subtle, warm..even the greys. Hmmmmm.

Thanks so much

Delores Haugland in Grey Edmonds, WA

Reply

Will Kemp February 25, 2017

Thanks very much Delores, so pleased you’ve been inspired!
Will

Reply

Elaine Hartigan February 26, 2017

awesome pictures. thanks

Reply

Will Kemp February 28, 2017

Thanks Elaine

Reply

Barbara Hunt March 1, 2017

Dear Will,
Thanks for reviving memories of a journey to Venice as an art student, though we were studying art history and had little time to sketch (a travesty!), your generous tips and suggestions for working plein aire might tempt me on my next trip in September, though this time I will be going with a group of fellow icon writers on a trip to visit the famous icon gallery.
Scrolling through my fellow followers of Will Kemp sounds like you could have a group going to Venice next year? How about it? Thanks once again.

Reply

Will Kemp March 6, 2017

Thanks Barbara, really pleased you enjoyed the photos, have you great trip when you visit in September.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Elizabeth March 1, 2017

Hello! Loved that you shared all your sketches and beautiful photos. Just curious… About how long did it take you on average to sketch those scenes? Thanks!

Reply

Will Kemp March 6, 2017

Thanks Elizabeth, the sketches take about 10 – 20 mins each depending on complexity.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Liz Rankin March 5, 2017

Hi Will
Just beautiful! I have moved this past year and relocating is a huge undertaking, but I am almost done with settling in! So inspiring ! Brings back many memories when i was therein 1969!

Thanks for the inspiriational photographs!
Liz

Reply

Will Kemp March 6, 2017

Hi Liz, nice to hear from you and really pleased you’re feeling settled in your new space, so glad it brought back great memories from your trip.
Will

Reply

Daljit Kaur March 7, 2017

Thank you for sharing the photographs and various tips !your style of writing is very encouraging . Thanks again .

Reply

Will Kemp March 7, 2017

My pleasure Daljit, glad you enjoyed them.
Will

Reply

lynn March 14, 2017

Hi Will,
I’m thoroughly enjoying the Venice course and learning a tremendous amount. The drawing-out section was especially challenging and rewarding, but I seem to have come a cropper in brush technique, particularly when it comes to the impressionist style of the water . Could you possibly offer some guidelines or direct me to a source that would teach me to loosen my brushwork and become a bit bolder with my strokes. Ta, Lynn.

Reply

Will Kemp March 15, 2017

Hi Lynn, pleased you’ve been enjoying the course, it terms of looser brushstrokes and boldness in your work it really comes down to the confidence to make a mark and then leave it. Try working on a small 6 x 8-inch board, find a subject to paint, and limit yourself to 15 brushstrokes for the whole painting. By adding this extreme limitation will force you to really think which areas or colours are the real essence of the scene. Then, when you go back to the original painting it will help to assess your next moves more clearly.
Hope this helps,

Cheers,
Will

Reply

Cecilia Capitanio March 14, 2017

Wow Will, absolutely marvelous !
Viewing your pictures and sketches bring so many wonderful memories of my trip to Venice ! It is a magical place ,perfect for your mind to wonder thinking ahead the many ways to paint or sketch what is in front of us .
Thank you Will for sharing your sketches and ideas ,very helpful ,and i loved your paint box ,and the gelato !!!mmm

Reply

Will Kemp March 15, 2017

My pleasure Cecilia, so pleased you enjoyed the photos and it brought back some fond memories for you.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: