For many years I have dreamt of painting on the Greek islands again. 30 years ago I was running up and down stairs with my sketch book during our brief visit to Greece. I have always wanted to return and now I have. The Greek Islands reminds me of a buffet with a lot of delightful treats. All different but belonging together. Every place in Greece is like a treat with a different flavour. In the end I came to the conclusion that Greece is a place that you can easily fall in love with.
The colours of the soil, the landscape and sea around the islands, the strong light, transparent horizons and whitewashed houses clinging to the cliffs, hiding i n ravines or standing proud and bare in the sun, all made a lasting impression. Hydra's main fishing port since the 16th century is a hive of activity. Boats from minute to massive liners swirl around trying to find mooring space. Donkeys work as taxis, carrying cargo and passengers through the little alleyways.
The first philosophers were sons of Athens . Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. These early thinkers believed in trying things for size. To be able to entertain thought without accepting it. “Art” Plato said “is the capacity to make and involves a course of proper reasoning”. Aristotle was an advocate of the hands on approach. The creation of art is a personal dialogue with art itself. Aristotle also believed that artists needed a touch of madness, humour and a love of amusement to function affectively.
Little tables and brightly painted chairs in every little corner await people to occupy them and savoir the delights of communicating through food and good company. Santorini is a visual experience that is touching in its beauty. Colour splashed houses nestles tightly against dark volcanic hillsides.
This place has cast a spell over people from all around the world. The geological phenomenon is fascinating in itself. The town of Fira stands out like a white eagle's nest, hanging between sea and sky. Donkeys and mules with pack-saddles, decorated with blankets in many colours, crawl through the alleyways on their way to the harbour far beneath.
Thera was one of Santorini's names that is derived from a Theban hero whose name was Theras. Later it became Santorini derived from the island's church of St Irene. The town of Oia is reached by one of the most tortuous roads in the Cyclades. The white and pastel coloured houses with red pebble walls cling to the cliff face with the famous skaftá cave houses and blue domed churches. According to legend, this atmospheric town is haunted and home of vampires. But it all forms a harmonious total of an impressive picture.
The atmosphere is crisp and clear. Greece is a seafaring country with charming mountain ranges small and fertile plains. Socrates once generalized the outlook that Greeks had about living: the satisfaction of all the senses, the pleasure of both body and soul. Greece is country full of mystery and legends. Chania is one of the charming harbour towns in Crete with its colour washed facades and restaurants. Myconos is a tangle of dazzling white alleyways and cube shaped houses with windmills on the horizon.
One of the most popular words, gastronomy, derives from Greek, which shows the attitude towards life of these people. It is a bombardment of diffused sensations and tastes. The bright sun bewitches the colours and the breeze are sometimes cool and refreshing and at other times wild and angry. The scenery constantly changes and it is only through these changes that the restless souls of the Greeks finds rest.
When the moon hangs yellow over little towns in Paros, the mountains drip their colours into the sea. The port of Noussa has dozens of bright, colourful fishing boats and reflects white washed houses and taverns on the seafront. Noussa is a port full of traditional character. Back in my studio, I would always treasure the time I spent painting on the Greek Islands.