My sister is taking a study abroad program this summer and just arrived in Greece. She brought along a copy of my book The Artist on the Road: Impressions of Greece and was kind enough to take a few pictures of the sites I painted when I was there. How exciting to see my art book travel back to where it was created.
Note from my sister: “Unfortunately they’re restoring the Parthenon from your cover, but it was still very cool to compare. Also, we had taken apples from breakfast with us. I had your book open and one of the guys traveling with us asked why you had painted an apple, so I read him that part from your book where that woman gave you an apple. Then we took our apples out of bags and ate them. It was a cool moment.”
While I was painting the Erechtheon, a Greek woman came up to me and commented on my drawing. Then she pulled out an apple out of her bag and gave it to me. She was so nice.
Erechtheon with Karyatids
Porch of the Karyatids
My Sister (Bear) is on the left and her instructor Dr. White is on the right.
My book, Artist on the Road: Impressions of Greece, is available on Amazon.
To celebrate the anniversary of my trip to Greece, I’m offering the ebook version of my book The Artist on the Road: Impressions of Greece FREE on the iBookstore for a limited time! ***The limited edition giveaway is now over***
To purchase the ebook (only $1.99) on the iBookstore Click HERE!
After much work I’m excited to announce that my book The Artist on the Road: Impressions of Greece is finally available as an ebook! (I was even able to include my handwriting font so it looks more like the original sketchbook design.~ iBooks doesn’t display my handwriting font at the present time.) I love the way double tapping an image expands it to the entire screen. It’s now available in the US, UK, France, Germany, Australia, Canada, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Replublic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portgal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, and Switzerland. Check it out!
Click here to see it on the Apple iBookstore.
Ebooks maybe the future but sometimes it’s still nice to have a paperback. The paperback book is available on Amazon.
As with most traveling experiences, I endured many frivolous hardships: short beds, curtainless showers, noisy streets, all things I would have complained about at home but hardly even noticed while being here. Greece was more than worth it, with its ancient ruins, dramatic landscape, and cultural depth that not only unveiled a new world but also a world of the past.
But after spending three weeks in Greece drawing and painting, I felt like I was just getting started. It took over a week to get beyond cell phones, email, Twitter, and my desire to keep up with news reports. Finally, the voices in my head stopped. This is when my mood really started to elevate, and my mind opened up. I wasn’t burdened by have-tos and should-haves, and my easy going attitude influenced my work. I wasn’t thinking about success so much as just enjoying the act of creating. I developed a new mode or rhythm and got into a zone. It was a comfortable place to be and so relaxing. I had clarity of mind, focused energy, and was completely present in the moment. It was like a meditation and it felt empowering. Relaxing. Fulfilling.
I have experimented with many different art supplies over the years, and my supply list is always evolving. Here is a list of the items I used in Greece, each of which I tested extensively before my trip to ensure its necessity and functionality. Most of these supplies can be found at any art supply store.
• Sakura Pigma Micron pens size 01-08
• Windsor & Newton professional-grade tube watercolors
• Children’s watercolor set (with the paint soaked out and replaced with W&N watercolors)
• 12” x 12” masonite hardboard
• Water cups clip
• Windsor & Newton, Series 7 sable watercolor brush
• Technical pencil (never needs sharpening)
• Moleskine watercolor sketchbooks
• Moleskine regular sketchbooks
• Arches hot press watercolor blocks 7” x 10”
• Plastic knife (for removing pages from the watercolor block)
• iPhone for pictures, video, blog posts (so much contained in one gadget makes it a winner)
• Timbuk2 messenger bag
• Three-legged fold-up chair
• Notebook for writing thoughts
• Kneaded eraser
We begin our day in the Agora, an ancient marketplace just below the Acropolis. It looks like an over-grown garden with trees, bushes, and flowers but with the added bonus of architectural ruins scattered about. Although few people are present, it’s easy to imagine the crowds shopping thousands of years ago. I walk along Panathenaic Way as it cuts across the Agora. In ancient times, Greeks used this pathway not only for the market but also for the Panathenaic festival (the largest and most important festival in Athens) that was held each year in honor of Athena, the patron Goddess of Athens. The procession began at dawn, just north of here at the Dipylon Gate in the Potter’s Quarter. It then proceeded through the Agora and wound up the Acropolis to the Erechtheum where a peplos (a full length garment warn by women) was placed on the statue of Athena. Each year young women wove a new peplos specifically for the event.
At the far end of the Agora, I find an engaging view of a Byzantine church with the ever-present Acropolis hovering in the distance. This will be a great place to start the day. I pull out my sketchbook, unfold my chair, and begin drawing. Thinking back to what I learned on Mykonos yesterday, I start with the most important object, the church dome, and work outward, eyeballing the proportions as I go. By drawing the overall size and perspective of the church first, I won’t have to worry about running off the page when my mind is preoccupied drawing the details.
Looking around for a new subject to paint, I walk towards the Temple of Hephaestus, stepping over puddles from last night’s rain as I go. I take a deep breath. The morning air is rich with moisture and the scent of flowers. After finding a good view of the temple, I pull out my chair and unfold it. The temple, from this perspective, sits on top of a hill overlooking the Agora with green gardens surrounding it.
On our last day in Athens, we have one prominent place left to visit, the Hill of the Muses. As we make our way around the Acropolis through zig-zagging streets, we pause for a moment to watch an organ grinder. An old man wearing a bowler hat pulls the crank while lighting up a cigarette, and an unfamiliar song begins to resonate outward. The organ itself is really the attraction, with fringe, jewelry, flowers and old black-and-white movie-star photos decorating its sides. A young boy runs around with hat in hand collecting money, replacing the traditional monkey.
With our day quickly passing, we continue our walk up the Hill of the Muses overlooking the city. Our first stop is the Prison of Socrates, where the philosopher was supposed to have been jailed before they forced him to drink deadly hemlock. He had been convicted of corrupting the youth of Athens with his philosophical teachings. This is also the site where, during the Second World War, all the Acropolis’ artifacts were hidden from the Nazis. I’m not that interested in drawing the site but my dad is insistent, so I pull out my gear and give it a shot. I’m not sure what I should include in the drawing. I know its historical significance, but the hill seems uninteresting and flat. I step back a bit to let the tree trunk cross the image and give the drawing depth. Now it starts taking on new life, and I’m glad my dad recommended drawing here.
When in Athens, it’s impossible to miss the giant mountain of rock called the Acropolis. It’s especially impressive in the areas of town where the Parthenon can be seen crowning the top. One of my favorite vantage points is on top of the Areopagos. When I first arrived in Athens, I climbed up the slippery rocks to the top of the hill and watched the full moon rise above the Parthenon. Unfortunately at the time, I was unable to see well enough in the dark to draw.
Today on the last day of my trip to Greece, I found another great view while climbing down the Hill of the Muses and with the afternoon sun behind me, I was able to draw. From there, I could see the Acropolis in all its splendor, dominating the city below.
During the night, I had a dream that I was walking through one of my drawings of a Greek city, maybe Plaka in Athens. This alternate reality slowly transformed, revealing the actual town underneath the dream-drawing, as if it was a hidden structural reality upon which life is based.
At the edge of town, I find a row of windmills and begin to draw, but soon stop. The arms of the windmill are not drawn well, and overall, it looks off. Since I drew a good windmill the day before yesterday, I turn my attention to another subject, the nearby bay. I start the drawing on the left side of the paper and detail each building as I move across the page. I’m running out of room, so I skip a few buildings to fit the curve of the bay at the bottom right. This helps the overall composition. I’m also finding that I don’t have to draw the horizon line anymore, as the islands themselves hint at its whereabouts.
I head back to the hotel to collect my bags, pick up my dad, and we set off for the docks. After one of the fastest cab rides I’ve ever experienced, I have a little extra time to draw a cargo ship before our ferry arrives.