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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.”

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