29 September 2021

Venice, 18 September, 1986


Venice, 18 September, 1986, oil on canvas board, 25 X 20 cm

The following is another entry from my diary from the year 1986.

For a number of years I went to Italy, first to both Siena and Umbria to fly and paint, then on to Venice in September and October. I found this entry the other night fascinating because, though I didn't really understand at the time, I was only ever drawn to the misty, the hazy, the shrouded fog and the uncertainty of transitional atmospheres. Strange that it took me so long to see this preference when it is so clearly evident to me today. 

This study is the one that I describe in the following diary entry. It makes sense that I found my way to a series of twilight studies here at Brunswick Heads, N.S.W. Australia, so many years later.

Venice, 18 September, 1986

My spirits are lifting day by day. I feel like a climber who makes his way ever so slowly up the backside of the mountain while the summit is still hidden from view. However, I am finding my way very slowly, each day the image comes more easily. This morning, I have found my way into some rather abstract visions of San Giorgio at sunrise. Half-hidden in the purple/ orange haze San Giorgio looms over a greenish orange sea. Needless to say, I enjoyed the foggy atmosphere, maybe it’s what I really need in the end. Of course, it makes me think of Monet and Turner who were both in the bosom of this visual feeling. I shall not be afraid of this influence. Increasingly these past five days I have been wondering to myself what it is that I really want to do here? I am not at all interested in replicating the reality which Venice presents to the world… the wonderful, unique details of windows, balconies, door steps. etc, etc, etc,,, It has all be done a million times before by very competent painters (and not) than myself. What I see are images which lurk between the off-hours of twilight and daybreak; images born from misty boundaries between stone and sea. There are fog-filled days when nothing is what it seems and these are my moments of bliss.


My goodness, do Venetian women have beautiful legs! I should invite Isabelle here by the end of the month or I shall go mad, or, (I shall go madder) no matter. I go through days without speaking any English which is interesting, and I like it. My Italian improves radically on these trips, and I learn also, the art of silence.





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