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The Arno, Florence Italy

Italy Florence, The Arno, by Barry John Raybould, 25.3cm x 30.4cm, Oil on Linen
Italy Florence, The Arno, by Barry John Raybould, 25.3cm x 30.4cm, Oil on Linen

I love the magical golden light you get in Florence Italy late in the afternoon and early evening. This is a painting I did from near the Ponte Vecchio and this is my thinking behind this painting.

landscape oil painting: Italy Florence, The Arno by Barry John Raybould

Cat. No. 1055 The Arno, Florence, Italy – 25.3cm x 30.4cm – Oil on Linen

About the painting

Florence Italy, October 2016. From a wall just next to the Ponte Vecchio, I watched the setting sun cast a warm golden light on a bridge over the river Arno and on the buildings on the other side of the river.

I liked the way the warm evening light hit the bridge and the buildings, contrasting with the deep blue grays in the river and in the cloud shadows. This was a good application of the principles of warm/cool contrast and repeating color spots.

The basic color harmony I used was a blue orange split complementary color harmony. I split the orange into red orange and yellow orange, and the blue into a warm violet and cooler green blue using the lower part of the sky to provide the green blue and so split the blue complement.

A splash of red from some fencing to protect repair work on the embankment harmonizes with the golden yellows and oranges, and provides a repeated color spot to improve the eye movement.

repeating color spots

This diagram shows how I conceived the painting in an abstract sense. You can see how the warm/cool overall plan was designed and also the plan of the repeating color spots. This method of thinking about painting is called “Abstract Realism’. It combines the best of both the abstract and realistic worlds.


 Another principle being used here is notan. This time however, the use is fairly subtle. Within the water I painted a kaleidoscope of colors all of roughly the same middle value. This lets you have a simple, and therefore strong, notan design, but at the same time adds interest and excitement to the painting.

For more information

For more information on some of the techniques I used in this painting see:

Thank You

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. If you are interested in a structured approach for learning how to paint, and want to learn more about my Visual Music & Poetry® model, take a look at my online painting classes.

Happy painting!

Barry John Raybould
Virtual Art Academy

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