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Venice Observed

Venice ObservedNick Schlee’s (1952, English) new exhibition, Venice Observed, opens today in London. An exhibition of oil paintings and oil pastel drawings of Venice in two moods, bright sunshine and the veiled autumn sunlight, it runs until Saturday 29 August.

Nick Schlee has painted throughout his life including his time at Univ. While working in business he took evening classes at the Central School, Morely College with Laurence Toynbee, Putney Art School and The Slade. In 1989, he began painting full-time. Since then he has has had regular one man exhibitions in London and around the country including Oxford and Edinburgh. His works are now held in public collections across England including Liverpool University, The City of London Guildhall Gallery, Southampton City Art Gallery, Reading Museum & Art Gallery and Gallery Oldham.

He spoke about how the dual moods came about: “I spent one very quick, dazzling March day in Venice drawing small colour pastel sketches in sparkling sunshine. All seemed worth keeping. When I painted some of them up to a large size in oils I realised I hadn’t done any of the traditional views of St. Marks Square and its environs.

So, after studying Turner’s views I went again, this time in November, to fill the gap. But far from the astonishing light I had before, I encountered a drizzling dark day. It was at the end of the Alta Aqua and the sheets of water in St. Mark’s Square made unexpected reflections which gave an entirely different atmosphere to the Venice I recorded earlier in the year. Undaunted I drew what was before me. At the next morning the sun was trying to break through the gloom and it lit theatrical Venice in a more cheerful haze. Again it was not the Venice one thinks one will remember but a more ethereal one.”

You can visit the exhibition at Gallery 8, 8 Duke Street, St. James’s, London and explore Nick Schlee’s beautiful work on his website.

Photo: Ronnie Temple

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