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Wednesday, 5 February 2020

The Vampire of Campo Mosca

While I was waiting for some paint to dry on the next "The Big Sky" painting I decided to get on with another monochrome. It is potentially the first in an occasional series called "Vampires of Venice", this one being set in a small Campo in Venice called Campo Mosca. Incidentally I think the name translates to "Square of Flies" so god knows what used to be there many years ago! I have been to Venice a number of times and was captivated by how it looked at night, I'm not talking about San Marco but all the back streets as it were and wandered around for hours taking photos. Venice has this reputation for being a romantic city but to me it's always been about the sense of mystery that it has particularly at night. Because there are no cars and many Venetians can't afford to live in their city any more it is eerily quiet and deserted as you walk around, little wonder that there have been a number of moody films set in Venice notably Don't Look Now.
This series came about because I had noticed the unexpected photographic quality some earlier landscape monochromes had and it set off a train of thought about painting something that looked photographically real but had something impossible in it. Initially I was thinking about surreal juxtaposition but then in the bath (!) one evening I got the idea for using Venice as a backdrop for something menacing and settled on vampires. This is not a new idea there was a Klaus Kinski film called Vampire of Venice (I think) and much to my dismay an episode of Doctor Who called something very similar which I discovered when Googling the title.
The idea is to paint the vampires soft and indistinct, even only partly there as I want them to look elemental and not wholly of this world as though they materialise and dematerialise at will haunting the hushed deserted alleys and squares.
It was all painted using a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin and applied with a rag and brush.
Oil on linen 16" x 12".
There is a brief step-by-step progress through this painting in previous posts on this blog.

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