|Flags and rain, Venice. Gouache on tinted paper|
The joy of painting in difficult weather conditions is that one has to plunge in and make the best of it before the conditions change and the scene alters dramatically. No time for dithering. While it might be really difficult at the time for any number of reasons, if you look back at your work later, you will find an authenticity about it, the essence of the scene will communicate itself to your audience in a subliminal way, it is quite fascinating. Working from a photo in a dry studio is totally different - while you may be lucky enough to get what you wanted, you may well find yourself rather dissatisfied without knowing quite why. Turner maintained that only by experiencing the full fury of the heavens can an artist convey such atmosphere in his work. I am not suggesting you emulate him by having yourself lashed to a ship's mast in a howling gale ...but you can work from a doorway, a car (ideally with the window open) from under a bridge or archway, from a window.
This image below was painted from a hotel window, which overlooked this great scene. I was comfortable and dry, luckily the room (which was the one used by Whistler in the dim and distant past) had big windows - and lino on the floor, so pastel dust was not a problem. It is a full-scale picture rather than a sketch, I set up an easel, and had at it for quite a while. Of course, the light was very "flat", but the wetness on the top edges of the bridge gave me a lighter tone to set the bridge apart from the rest, and the reflections in the foreground were such a gift. I loved painting this and even tho I was cross about the rain,far preferring sunlit scenes, in fact, it gave me a kick to paint something I would never normally tackle.
|St Marks Square in the rain, pastel on paper|