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When I started the gondolas painting I was most concerned about the perspective, and the odds that I would get halfway through the painting and suddenly realize that the water was sloping or the buildings were getting bigger where they should be getting smaller. So I used a straight edge and drew some lines to indicate the general direction of the perspective. You can also see where I roughed in the outlines of the gondolas. I think that's as much sketching as I ever do when starting a new painting as I much prefer to paint the subject directly. I posted this on FaceBook as a very early work in progress and was pleased when Joe Price, the guy who took the reference photograph said he recognized it straight away - and he liked it.

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By the second step I've progressed a bit further down the buildings on the left. I'm trying to work from the top left to bottom right so that I'm not leaning on top of wet paint since I'm right handed. I also blocked in the colours on the main gondolier, although I'm not happy with his sweater at the moment.

Gondolas Step 2Gondolas Step 2


Step 3 - I've now roughed in most of the main wall on the left and started to add some details like the wrought ironwork which will later hold the window boxes. Gondolas Step 3Gondolas Step 3


Step 4 - I've now added some window boxes and flowers / plants. I've also added the next section of building as it goes into the distance. I don't like the bridge so I know that's going to need some more work, but I want to carry on with the building on the right so I can get some idea of tonal values for when I return to the bridge.Gondolas Step 4Gondolas Step 4


Step 5 - I've now added a bit more definition to the brickwork where it's exposed on the walls. I lightly painted in the walls of the building on the right and also the glass roof over the entrance to the hotel. The distant gondola is now done since it didn't need too much work with it being further away. I'm not too bothered about the shape of the gondola as that will be finalized when I come to paint in the water around it.Gondolas Step 5Gondolas Step 5


Step 6 - This was a bit I really wasn't looking forward to: the iron work supporting the glass roof over the hotel entrance. The photograph was quite confusing in this area and I knew there would be a fine line between not really representing the intricacy of the ironwork and completely overdoing it. I also couldn't do this while the canvas was on the easel as I couldn't really brace my hand and keep it steady enough. But in fact it turned out to be not as difficult as I had feared though and in the end probably only took me about an hour to get to the point that I was happy with it. I also added a bit more detail in the same area like the empty cable spools and also some of the large white brickwork around the doorway.Gondolas Step 6Gondolas Step 6


Step 7 - I had been putting it off but it was finally time to make a start on the detail in the larger gondola. Nothing difficult here, just time consuming. I also started to fill in some of the water areas around the distant gondola .Gondolas Step 7Gondolas Step 7


Step 8 -  More or less finished with the gondolas now, so really just the water to do. I wanted to start the water with a clean palette and keep my colours to a minimum so as to contrast the water with all the different colours in the building walls.Gondolas Step 8Gondolas Step 8


Step 9 -Next was  the water and touching up the moss growing along the waterline. After that was done it was just some small finishing touches.

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Final Work - I was going to do some more detail in the water but after posting it on FaceBook and getting over 500 likes, I decided to just leave it alone. I always have a hard time knowing when to stop a painting so it was quite nice to have the decision made for me this time.Gondolas Step 10Gondolas Step 10