“Impressions of Greece” in Greece

Artist_parthenon 2

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.”

Greek apple

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

Erechtheon with Karyatids

Porch of the KariyatidsPorch of the Karyatids

Bear and Dr White

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.

(My) eBook on the iPad

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.

Traveling in Greece with Clarity of Mind

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.

Art Supplies Used While Traveling in Greece

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

The Agora

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.

Church of the Holy Apostles in the Agora, Athens

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.

Temple of Hephaestus in the Agora, Athens

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.