While waiting for Spring, I return to Rome in a painting
I’ve wanted to paint this view from the moment I snapped a photograph of it back in June from the rooftop restaurant of my hotel near Piazza del Popolo. I just didn’t know how to approach it or how to get over how intimidating it appeared. It’s taken me all this time to figure it out—courage gained from months of painting other subjects while waiting for the weather to warm up. This watercolor is more about what gets left out as much as what gets put in. By using the watercolor to do the work of creating illusions, I painted shadows that concealed areas and light that created ambiguous edges. I felt confident enough to leave out details when painting all those antennas, especially when I realized that they needed to modulate with light and color. (A winter’s worth of painting tree limbs contributed to that.) And I had the final say for which windows and ledges and cable wires got to be shown.
Within this jungle of cupolas, terraces and technology I saw Rome as it appealed to me: the controlled chaos (ah, really uncontrolled) of a magnificent city. Straight edges, perpendicular angles, clean surfaces don’t really count in Rome. It all mixes in just fine and it makes for an urban beauty that is memorable. Though I often felt like a turista, I found most Romans to be very sweet and caring—someone was bound to help you eventually, on their terms, and I tried to embrace their mindset. With this late-day rooftop view, I am brought back to Rome’s warmth, with the unexpected new embracing the old, and the aperitivo sipped happily up on the roof.
Arches cold press, 300 lb, 18″ x 18″