A watercolor of Piazza Navona
watercolor  16"  x  12"
Toroazul Painting and Fine Arts
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Continuing the exploration of the watercolor medium in the City of Rome, I
ventured out to two of my favorite old piazzas. Interestingly, on this particular
summer day I did not have with me the light-lead pencil (3H) I usually use to first
"ghost in" the main elements of the composition as a guide for the color brush.
Therefore I worked without pencil guidelines of any sort -- which is a test of valour,
since the HUGE expanse of the white paper looks so daunting!

But following the advice long ago of my artist friend and Benedictine monk, Brother
Stephen Galban, in Elmira, New York, I started with what he calls
croquis, using the
French term. (Nowadays one says thumbnail sketch.) And I began with a separate
mock-up or very small color scribble, about the size of a large postal stamp, laying in
manchas  ("stains") of the composition to then transfer them with my brush onto
the watercolor paper.

Again, I am indebted to another very dear friend, Lisa Rosen, for the name of the
watercolor of the first piazza --
The Burden of Wisdom -- which she especially
enjoyed visiting on a recent trip to Rome
. Apparently, Gianlorenzo Bernini (1600s),
the sculptor who created the elephant bearing the Egyptian obelisk (symbolic of
wisdom), wished to render the act of acquiring and bearing knowledge as the
carrying of a burden. But Bernini's elephant is endearingly humorous, encouraging
us to learn and live happily with what we learn.

While I worked on
The Burden...., I thought about the importance of the blank space
in the page. I thought about how much good watercoloring is not merely a manual
or mechanical technique, but a moral or spiritual one. Students and even teachers
nowadays do not like to "overburden" drawing students with what they consider
extraneous reading. Instead, I very much think students of watercoloring should
read and think about works like
The Law of the TAO, by Lao_Tse, or even Miguel
de Cervantes's
Don Quixote -- these texts are all about the void! About absence.
Back to Italy Drawings and Watercolors Index page
Is Rome a "watercolor" city?
---Page Two---
The Burden of Wisdom:
Piazza of Santa Maria sopra
watercolor  16"  x  12"
A Castel Sant'Angelo
watercolor  9"  x  12"
The Broken Bridge (Ponte Roto)
watercolor  9"  x  12"