Seascapes

SPREAD

A ship sails into shore, a rusty well pulley moans
A blue plume of smoke on the rosy horizon
The image of a crane’s broken wing
Armies of swallows await to welcome the brave
Bare arms raised with anchors tattooed in the armpits

And a distant church bell saturates the sky with indigo

Amorgos, by Nikos Gatsos, 1943*

I’m glad I’ve been keeping sketchbooks. I wish I had painted more of these, but I am never going to wish I’d painted fewer. Some were done in cheap children’s water colours, some in fancy W&N. They are mostly from summers in the Aegean, and some from Cyprus. Here’s hoping the marine theme will get me in holiday mood. Two more days of school, for us teachers! Unwinding is a long process…

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The translation of the poem (fragment) by Gatsos is my own. It’s from the rather long poem Amorgos. I couldn’t find the lines I wanted to quote online, so I translated as it suited me. Some of the vignettes here are scenes from Amorgos, the island. The cubist villages, geometric pigeon coops and stark whitewash around cobblestones,

…the eyes of the seaweed are turned to the sea

Big black sea with so many pebbles around your neck, so many gems in your hair*

FLOTSAM

Mother’s Day

MOTHERSDAY

With a distance of a number of decades, here’s my tribute! One is something I made in kindergarten. The other, considerably more recent…

 

Halcyon Days are over

ios

A good fortnight of clear skies and sunshine has just ended, and winter is back! Halcyon days, they were, but now they’re over. Today is going to be the coldest, or so they say. Already I’m hearing about snow on the outskirts of Nicosia, which doesn’t happen every day!

Thank god it’s Friday! Thank god for sketchbooks, too: this is a watercolour sketch, made from life many summers ago, on the island of Ios. This was the most amazing little break on an unexpectedly dazzling little Aegean island. Good friends, coffee and backgammon on the beach after dark, cross legged under a thatched awning. Food everywhere was spectacular, as I recall.

Sketchbooking is a practice I never stop trying to cultivate in my students. Not just because it provides an illustrated sort of diary full of vivid memories for a rainy day, but mainly because it is steady input into our visual data base. Observation and cultivating skills are the best way to stay creative and inspired.

Learning Curves

kelefos

There’s a first time for everything. This is my first illustration on a iPad using a stylus. My latest toy is Pencil by 53, and it’s fabulous! Still have a lot to learn, but that’s how I like it! I made this in Adobe Draw and Pencil works great in it. I am a little aghast that it took me this long to discover how much I love this stuff, but hopefully I’ll make up for it in due course.

It’s also the first “selfie” I’ve posted, inspired by a recent visit to this splendid Venetian bridge in the middle of cypriot nowhere. Kelefos Bridge is near the village of Ayios Nikolaos, technically in the Paphos district, but actually in a tight corner between Nicosia, Paphos and Limassol, on the south side of the Troodos mountains. Hidden in thick woods of pines and great big plane trees, this is one of many stone Venetian bridges built in the 1600’s. There’s a trail you can walk, all the way up to Kykkos (17 km but otherwise easy going, from what I’m told) that links at least three of these stone wonders. Known as the Venetian Bridges Nature Trail, you can read about it here  http://www.visitpafos.org.cy/enetika_gefyria_trail.aspx

moleskinebridge

This second sketch is from a previous visit to the same spot, with my Djembe teacher, Annika – https://web.facebook.com/Drum4Joy/ – and a group of friends and their percussive instruments, just over a year ago, back in the day of watercolours and ordinary pencils! Which one do you like?

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!

a) Throw Back Thursday

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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!