Virtual Art Academy
Cat. No. 938 First Light Over St Marks Venice - 8in x 10in - Oil on Linen - 2009

Sun Rises over St Marks in Venice

oil painting of Venice

I got up before dawn to carry my pochade box setup to St Mark’s Square in Venice and then waited for the first light of the day. When the sun rose it hit the spires of St Marks turning it into a beautiful display of gold, yellow, and orange.

Notes on the oil painting techniques used in this painting

I kept most of the painting soft and subdued using grayed down colors in order not to detract from the main theme of the painting – the light hitting St Marks. This is the area of highest saturation in the painting.

In these secondary areas I made just a few suggestions of the paving stones and the famous St Mark’s pigeons to add a little interest.

I kept the architectural detail to a minimum to make it ethereal and help capture that magical morning mood in the square.

Although the painting is loose and suggestive, I did spend a lot of time in getting the perspective very accurate on the Doge’s Palace to the right. I carefully marked the vanishing point on my pochade box, using a mahl stick. This made sure all the key perspective lines went to the same vanishing point. The less detail you put in a painting, the more accurate it needs to be in order to read as real.

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