Ian Fennelly on Venice.
“When making art I’m drawn to urban environments, where people interact with the busy spaces that surround them. Venice is the perfect city for this as it’s full of people and architectural shapes,” says English artist Ian Fennelly ( who lives and paints in the seaside town of Hoylake near Liverpool. “I try and draw people without actually putting them in—partly because they never keep still. But I like drawing the spaces they’ve been in, or the cobblestones they’ve stepped on, the windows they’ve looked through, or the bridges they have walked over.” The scene above, one in a series of watercolors made during Fennelly’s latest trip to the Italian city, depicts gondolas tied up along the Riva degli Schiavoni waterfront, backdropped by the Venice Lagoon and the island of San Giorgio Maggiore with its 16th-century Benedictine church of the same name. “I suppose it’s an iconic image,” he says, “but it’s also wholly unique thanks to my method—a watercolor wash followed by brush pens and fine liners to add texture and details, all interspersed with me bouncing up and down, nipping to the toilet, and snacking on cakes and coffee—as well as by the way the paint flows across the heavily textured Fabriano paper I favor. It’s the process that I find most exciting.”