I finished painting this watercolour today; there’s a bit more fiddling about with the gondolas in the foreground, but it’s finished in the sense that it’s now best left alone! Am I pleased with it? As much as I ever am with a painting. It’s worked for me as a whole, and that’s the most important thing. The light is supposed to be the last sunlight of the day, and I aimed for a very calm atmosphere.
The sea is not easy to paint in watercolour; and the lack of reflection in the water is deliberate. In Venice the lagoon is part of the sea, and it almost never is still enough to make reflections of the buildings. The foreground is busy enough that I wanted to keep simplicity in the water texture.
Should I have made the gondolas darker? Maybe, but I didn’t want to draw too much attention from the main focus of the painting; the shadow across the entrance to the church of San Giorgio Maggiore. So I kept the foreground soft, and put the lamp on the left to balance the tower as part of the composition.
One of the reasons I love painting Venice so much, is that I feel as though I am back there again for much of the time.