I first saw Venice at night. It was a chilly November eve and the city was shrouded in a silent, insulating fog. Sounds of water lapping on the canal walls echoed a melancholy that accompanies a late autumn mood in Italy. The summer sun had gone and with it the hoards of tourists; it seemed as if the life of the city was turning inward. Saint Mark’s square was empty save for the last pigeons working overtime, and in the distance someone was playing violin.
Even in darkness the city revealed itself through shifting light… reflections mirroring empty bridges, sleeping gondolas, quiet alleys and closed cafes. All of it was so dreamlike, ephemeral and seemingly impossible to comprehend.
That first visit was 20 years ago and the photographs I took with my still camera inspired some of my most memorable paintings.
I have since returned to Venice many times and always with a sense of amazement and awe. This November we returned once again to that place of water and wonder, and gorgeous cold, crisp, sunny skies welcomed us back.
It amazes me how humans can forge an existence with such grace and elegance in such an improbable place. How decay, corrosion and erosion etch the most beautiful patinas of time on structures built in the unlikely medium of salt water. Slowly, relentlessly and like rust, never sleeping, water works to reclaim all that Man has done and return it to the briny deep.