Mere Shell

urchin

This Thursday’s Throwback is so thrown back I don’t even have a date for it. It may be twelve (12!) years ago.

{Taking a moment to let that sink in. }

Ok, so: sea urchin shell, Ios island, a beach with soft, brilliant sand. Probably Mylopotas. I think I had only just figured out how to travel with watercolours. A blue sun hat and a green top. A good day, I think!

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Tales of the City

flax

Things about old Nicosia I’ll never get tired of? I love how there’s pockets of ever-surprising histories under our noses. In between the tavernas and winebars, UN barricades, parking atrocities and brunch-prodigies-of-the-month there are hidden gems, secret gardens, incongruously mounted coats of arms or intriguing district appellations.

The dainty church -more an agglutination of chapels, really- of Panaghia Chrysaliniotissa (or Our Lady of the Golden Flax) is the oldest extant orthodox church within Nicosia’s Venetian walls. Built in the 1450’s, during the reign of the Frankish king John II, by his wife, Byzantine princess Helena Palaiologina, to serve the religious needs of gentlefolk in the walled city, who -like herself- happened to not adhere to the catholic creed of her husband’s ruling  Lusignan family. A tranquil oasis today, with its modest courtyard in a densely-built quarter, it once stood as a symbol of growing Greek influence against bitter Frankish resentment. 

There’s the question of the name: miraculous byzantine icon found in the undergrowth is a tale as old as, well, miraculous byzantine icons! There’s wonderful and unusual paintings, now in a museum, which I’d like to learn more about: an italianate madonna, a reversible “nasty/nice” madonna, really worth their own post!

A mysterious Green Man-like head is one of my favourites in this place, and of that I do have a photo!

GREENMAN.jpg

 

Calling It What It Is

FIGS

“Call a fig a fig”

The idiom originates in the classical Greek of Plutarch‘s Apophthegmata Laconica, and was introduced into the English language in 1542 (…) where Erasmus had seemingly replaced Plutarch’s images of “trough” and “fig” with the more familiar “spade.”  (Wikipedia)

a) Throw Back Thursday

ERESSOS.png

Other claims to fame: b) first day of autumn, c) the start of another school year, d) a rude awakening, e) back to reality. However, it is Thursday, the weather permits and the flesh is willing -Spirit, don’t let me down now!-  so let’s hold on to the summer just a lil’ bit longer.

#tbt to a watercolour illustration I made last year from sketches of Eressos, Lesbos (a couple of summers ago)…

BEFORE
If two throwbacks is good, three is better. Drawing is key, kids!