Monday, March 3, 2008
Those of you who know and love me, or at least don’t despise me more than I deserve, know that I fancy myself a painter. In Baltimore I had a setup in the basement with a nice big easel that would go to any position, and lots of painting accoutrements. I was able to bring some paints and brushes with me, but not the easel, and no canvases. Now being in Venice I had to find a place nearby to supply me with such things, and I did. There is a lovely little art store in Campo Santa Margherita, right next to a very well stocked wine store (which even comes with a clerk who knows something about wine, and speaks God’s English). I bought an easel that, although not as good as the one I had in the U.S., was quite adequate, particularly in light of the limited space I had in my Venetian apartment. I shelled out the soldi and carted the thing home.
There is a substance in this world known as Venetian Turpentine, which can be had in small quantities in the U.S., and which has a consistency similar to warm honey. In Venice, however, the stuff is sold in hardware stores in a jar of about 8 or 10 ounces, and has a thick consistency, more like cold honey. This substance I like. It makes the paint dry to a very glossy finish, and when applied in heavy doses, runs very slowly down the canvas, entraining other paint that might be under it. This I have used to very interesting effect, which can be seen in the picture at the top of this page. There comes a time, though, when the running of the paint is to my satisfaction, and I need it to stop. This can be accomplished only by laying the painting down on flat surface. I started to do this by placing the first such painting on the drying rack used in this country to dry clothes, even on top of clothes that were then drying. Karen seemed to have a problem with this system, for reasons I cannot even now fathom, and gently relocated the painting to a drying place less offensive to her, and kindly suggested that the clothes drying rack was not where I should dry my paintings. I have observed this rule since.
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