Beautiful Venice in Watercolor: Two Simple Interpretations

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Want to paint beautiful Venice in watercolor? Paint Venice in watercolor using two different reference photos.

First view of Venice: Eye Level Scene

Looking at the reference photo below, it’s important to study where the light and dark areas are. Even in a loose painting, you need to emphasize areas of contrast and detail strategically. As we are going to be reducing down overall detail, we also need to emphasize other areas to bring out additional interest.

Paint Venice in Watercolor: Two Simple Interpretations

I ended up preserving the light on the same areas of the painting as in the reference photo. there’s an interesting light pattern that is only visible on some of the main buildings. Otherwise, it appears that most of the other buildings are backlit.

I painted the water with both wet-in-wet and wet-in-dry techniques. So there is a combination of soft and sharp edges to the water.

Paint Venice in Watercolor: Two Simple Interpretations

Second view of Venice: Bird’s eye view

This is a fairly uncommon view for beginners to learn how to paint. One of the things to keep in mind is that the horizon line is quite high up, compared to the first reference. This allows us to focus on the buildings and almost moves us through the scene from front to back.

I thought this would be an interesting scene to try. The light source is coming from the left and you can see some of the light on the buildings to the right.

What I’ve done in the painting is simplify most of the buildings down into one middle value. I’ve also left in the light from the previous warmer washes. Remember that the water is also one of the lightest sections of the painting, and has some sharper shadows running underneath the brides and to the left of the canal.

Paint Venice in Watercolor: Two Simple Interpretations
Paint Venice in Watercolor: Two Simple Interpretations

Links and Extra Resources

Basic Materials (Affiliate Links):
Etchr Professional Black Drawing Pens –
Uniball Eye Drawing Pens:
Etchr Perfect Sketchbook –
Etchr Mixed Media Sketchbook –
Daniel Smith Essential Mixing Set –
Daniel Smith Secondary Watercolour Set:
Daniel Smith Primary Watercolour Set:
Daniel Smith Mineral Mixing Set:
Black Tulip Brush Set –
Baohong 100% Cotton Watercolour Paper:

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