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Doing The Laundry, Venice-Style

Doing the laundry is not one of my favourite chores.

Seeing laundry flapping in the wind on an outdoor clothesline, however… is one of my favourite images. Taking in frozen sheets off the line in winter is one of my favourite childhood memories.

So when a visitor to one of my shows last year confessed her love of paintings or photos with laundry in them, I could definitely relate. But I didn’t have any originals for her at that time that prominently featured laundry, so I put that request upon my “to paint” list for this year.

When I searched through my travel photos for subjects, I came across many options – especially in southern Europe where the Mediterranean sun does a much less expensive job of drying. I decided to select 3 images from a 2014 Venice trip to make a laundry mini-series.

Two pieces are of Burano where the street scenes would not have the same charm if the laundry wasn’t there. The white sheets dancing in the sea breezes against the colourful backdrop of the houses is almost like ballet. Poetic, I know, but it’s true! I could sit at a canal-side cafe, watching mesmirized for hours.

#115 – Burano Laundry with Flowers – sold

#116 – Burano Laundry Day – sold

The third piece showcases the merchandising magic of laundry. Walking through the San Polo neighbourhood of Venice, I came across this scene of a glass shop with a row of laundry hanging above its awning from the second floor. As a former retail merchandiser, I giggled at how this wouldn’t have gone over well if laundry had been hung above our shops. But honestly, I probably wouldn’t have even noticed this shop if it had not been for the laundry! And I’m also not a collector of 1 Euro glass, but I had to go into this shop. The scene definitely has a certain charm and humanity – to me it represents that we all live together on a blue dot in the universe, so we must find harmony living together in this small space.

#117 – San Polo Laundry, Venice – sold

Each piece is 2.5″ x 3.5″ in ink and watercolour

With this mini series complete and off my “to paint” list, I probably should go now and do my own laundry. Ugh!


(All originals are now sold;

but a Limited Edition collection can be purchased at my local art events or upon request)

4 replies »

  1. These are fantastic!! Yep, the one and only time I adore laundry is walking through Venice! hehe And love your observation on the last one, having worked with retail merchandising as well… made me giggle… you’re right, the laundry made the shop way more compelling! 😍

    • Hey there, Charlie! Glad I found someone that could relate to my ex-merchandiser preoccupations! We are forever affected – lol! Thanks much for sharing that, and for your kind words as ever.

  2. “Taking in frozen sheets off the line in winter is one of my favourite childhood memories.” — I love to see someone else have this experience as a child, I thought my mother was crazy!

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