–By Mission Fine Art Gallery artist Dave Thibault

Hello all!

I went to Italy in June 2018 for a family vacation (for 2 weeks!). It was a great time. I thought I’d get to do some painting while I was there, but we were so busy that I only got to paint twice. I got a TON of reference photos, though, and I’ve been looking forward to getting started on this Italy series ever since.

On a tangential note, I couldn’t start directly into the Italy stuff because I had a commission to paint. It was of the view from a beloved vacation spot. I can’t make a post about that yet, though, because it’s a surprise gift from a wife to her husband. I only bring it up here because a commissioned art work of a beloved place makes the perfect gift for a loved one who’s hard to shop for. I’m terrible at picking gifts for people. If you’re like me, you’re thinking “What do I get my wife for Christmas?” (or your preferred holiday here). Giving the gift of revisiting that beloved place any time they like is something your loved one will cherish forever.  Let me know if you want to commission the perfect gift!

OK, back to the new Venice painting. I loved wandering in Venice at night when the crowds had dissipated. The streets were quiet and dark, with warmly lit street lamps reflecting off of the canals. I loved the colors of the buildings and the boats in the street lights and all the reflections in the water.

Campo San Barnaba at dusk

I got this reference photo of Campo San Barnaba while walking one night. I loved the yellow lights, the red buildings, and the color of the sky at dusk. The bridge in the background of the photo is the Ponte dei Pugni.


The produce boat in Campo San Barnaba

This square is not one of the more famous ones, but you might remember it if you ever found this produce boat. I’m not sure if it ever goes elsewhere, but I’ve seen it in this square on 2 separate trips 3 years apart.  This reference might make a good painting as well, actually!

In the process of preparing for the big painting, I did a small figure study of some people walking by the canal.  Since I don’t usually include figures in my paintings, I wanted to make sure I had proportions, gestures, and colors right before adding them to my larger painting.  Here’s the small 6″x8″ study piece.

Study for ‘Late Night Stroll in Venice’

The painting of the full scene is 12″ x 16″.  Here’s a video of the progress of the painting from start to finish.  I apologize for the wobbly nature of the video.  I realized after I shot it and started putting it all together that my camera tripod is getting ricketier than I thought.  The new one is on order, so no more wobbly videos. 🙂

If you are interested in these paintings, the study is available for purchase here, and the larger piece is available for purchase here. If you’d like to check out works by all of our great artists, head to the top page of our gallery.

Our Italy trip included stops in Rome, Pompeii, Florence, Pisa, Cinque Terre, Milan, Verona, and Venice.  Let me know in the comments if there are any specific scenes you’d like to see painted from these cities.  I’m still deciding which paintings to include in this upcoming series, so your voice counts!

Finally, here’s the video of the final piece.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed painting it. Please leave a comment below to let us know what you think of these videos!