Bathtime in Venice

Excerpt from photo of ‘Bathtime inVenice

I have never been to Venice. My sister has. She didn’t seem to find it romantic, but she is more sensible than I.

This painting, was done in Singleton.Aus when I was a young Mum with two young young boys, around 1982.

The scene was taken from a wonderfully evocative photograph in a Badidas bathtime products advertisement. Catchphrase: Anything can happen after a Badidas Bath. Hence the title.

I loved the tones in the photo, which I believe to be true to Venice around sundown.

The hair took layer upon layer of paint in differing tones, finishing with dry brushwork.

The towel was several shades of paint thickly applied, then pressed into with a piece of towel to give a true towelling texture. The finished work was glazed with a rose’ mix of gel and turpentine. I learned to glaze from studying Rembrandt. Then varnished. The finished work had an interesting glow.

The curve of the waist was tricky. I suspect airbrushing in the original photo but it is important in leading the eye, and the mind, into the depths of the towel, for that is what advertising is all about; leading the mind where the they want it to go to awaken dreams, desires, that may be fulfilled by the purchase of Badidas bath products – and a holiday in Italy.

I believe it was a very successful sales campaign. If only they had followed up with a gondolier!

The painting took 40 hours, and sold at exhibition to a local person, whose reputation was later somewhat tarnished. $140 was quite a good price at the time, but I fear I sold my innocent girl into a life of the wrong kind of admiration and less respect than she deserves. But that’s what you get for standing by an open window in your bathtowel.

What of the photographer in the room? Perhaps that was my wished-for gondolier! That is what art is about; drawing the eye in, setting in motion the senses, memories, wonder….

By Eunice C English

Writer, artist,retired. Have Parkinsons Plus and Macular Degeneration so please ignore typos! Gathering some of my memories and writings into one place t share with you.

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