This time last year I was in Venice. It was my first time and we spent a whole week just wandering the streets.
It was of course perfect for sketching, although I was a bit intimidated by the fact that everything had been drawn so many times before, and so very beautifully!
I think this one of my favourites from the trip, drawn from Ponte S. Polo. Just a simple detail: sometimes that's easier to tackle than anything too grand.
We found a tiny local bar, called Ai Artisti, where we spent several early evenings, before finding a restaurant for a meal. We liked the fact the locals obviously used it.
This is my hubby John, well half of John anyway.
One night we messed up and couldn't get a meal, so just stayed and had a very decent pasta in the bar as well: simple fare, simply served, but in many ways much nicer than something more fancy.
We took the obligatory ferry trip out to the islands. Most people know Murano, because of the glass, but there is also Burano, with a fascinating lace museum. I loved the modern, very illustrative lace samples, as much as the traditional styles.
There was so much to see, but I was drawn to three elderly ladies hunched in the window, actually making lace in the traditional way, over a bolster. I signed 'is it ok?' and then drew this portrait.
They were bowled over. They fetched the security guard to take a photocopy of the sketch to keep, that they asked me to sign. It was one of those lovely bonding moments that you sometimes get with sketching, all the more poignant when you don't share language.
This was the water-bus driver, on the run from to Burano to Murano. It was freezing and took ages! My favourite things on Murano were the glass chandeliers. They were bonkers - very colourful and completely over the top! We chanced upon some men blowing the glass and watched then through an open workshop door for a few minutes, trying to guess what they were making.
Of course, no sketchbook would be complete without at least one gondolier! They were dreadfully tricky though, as they never seemed to stand still. The call was: 'Gondola, gondola, gondola!', so fast it was one word.