The first WAI image we printed & framed was this piece--'St. Mark's Square, Venice'. It is a large print (32" x 26") and with its frame & mat it's even larger. It hangs in our living room and we enjoy it every day. It remains a favorite for both of us even after we've now printed many other pieces. This was the piece that said "You can do this. It's beautiful." There are a number of beginnings to discuss in this blog entry however, not the least of which is how did Chuck find his way through all of his earlier careers to this one--artist.
Before the art one begins with the experience which feeds it. In this case the inspiration comes from Chuck's time in Italy starting in November 1970. A young 19 year old from Augusta, GA finds himself in the "Old World" after joining the Air Force, getting selected to serve in Southern Italy, and having the opportunity to explore not only Italy but much of Europe. One memory is vivid--sitting in a cafe at high tide in St. Mark's Square eating mussels with water literally washing at his feet. He went on to explore the Appian Way, the Baptistry at Pisa, Florence, Rome...well, suffice it to say that he did not stay at home and miss the treasures of Europe. One trip alone took him and his companions from the boot of Italy by car to St. Andrews, Scotland. All these experiences became part of him, and like most of us when we travel he took pictures--lots of pictures. But it was the 1970's and while he had a good camera, he had to rely on film. The slides that are the source images for this St. Mark's Square image were taken on one of those trips. Sadly, after 40 years, they did not age well and he wanted to find a way to try and restore them if possible.
This brings us to another beginning--Chuck teaching himself to use PhotoShop. He started with Elements and started on the path of learning the tool and how it could be used. Several upgrades later, after plenty of Googling and YouTube videos, and tons of practice he came back to some of his slides from his time in Italy and to his visit to St. Mark's Square. Those of you who are familiar with the Piazza San Marco will notice that you don't see the Campanile. The reason is easy. He was standing at the top of the Campanile turning and taking these photos. One of the views here is of the the Clocktower with its distinctive archway leading into the famed shops of the Mercerie and the Rialto beyond. Another is of the graceful lines of the Procurate Vecchie, and a third looks over the west end of the Piazza and out to the surrounding buildings of Venice. And not to be left out is a final view looking back to the waters of Venice and gondolas moored waiting for passengers. The genius of the piece that Chuck has created is that he has combined all these views not into a static travelogue of what can be seen, but into the remembered experience of standing so high in the air and seeing one of great architectural wonders of the world. It's a jumble with the views flowing into each other, mixing together, with a wonder and emotion that is at once overwhelming and yet transfixes you with the mix of feelings that you might experience standing in the same place. You can sense the beauty of Venice and this magnificent Square, but you can also feel what it's like to breathe, and laugh and wonder at how it was possible that you're standing there--as he did.
I suspect it shows that I'm in love with this piece, as I am also in awe of the talent that created it and his ability to let me experience Venice through his eyes & skill. I've included a few pictures of the actual St. Mark's Square so you can compare to Chuck's image. Like all of our other art, this piece is available in most any size you'd like it, on art paper or on archival canvas in our GeoGalleries site in the Italy folder (https://geogalleries.com/WAIowner/17524/1/).
Here are the promised photo's of St. Mark's Square (not taken by us):