Mykonos From the Ferry

(Excerpt from my book, The Artist on the Road: Impressions of Greece)

On the ferry, we find seats on the top deck, but a rainstorm kicks up, so we retreat to the warm indoors near a coffee shop serving everything from sandwiches and soup to beer and coffee. The ferry keeps a steady pace and rocks gently as it pushes through waves. Fortunately, it’s not enough to upset my stomach. Sitting next to us, a large group of people keep the place lively with jokes and uncontrollable laughter. It will be a long time before we reach Athens, so I browse over my completed watercolors and sketchbook drawings.

After hours of sitting, I feel the need to stretch my legs. I put on my jacket and climb the stairs to the upper level. A cool breeze rushes by as I step onto the wet deck. The rain has stopped, at least for the moment, as dark clouds still threaten off in the distance, dumping rain into the silvery sea below. I hear a low, pulsating hum from the engine that keeps tempo with the splashing of seawater against the boat. The rhythmic weaving of sound provides the perfect soundtrack to the moody weather. I enjoy this meditative state until it gets too dark to see, and climb back down to the warm glow of the cafe below.

Mykonos, a Town on the Edge of the Sea

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.

Stately Pelican on Mykonos, Greece

(Excerpt from my book, The Artist on the Road: Impressions of Greece)

With a full day of drawing behind me and a stomach that is unwilling to cooperate any longer, I walk back to the hotel and pick up my dad for dinner. Searching for a good place to eat, we stop at a quaint little Italian restaurant displaying fresh raviolis, tortellinis, linguini, and other pasta shapes, beautifully displayed on a table to tempt passersby to come inside. The menu outside the door lists even more tasty items: lasagna, chicken parmesan, and pizza. The smell of oregano and tomato sauce fills the air. My stomach growls, but my heart sinks when I see the prices. I must remember that staying on budget made this trip possible and creating art is the reason I’m here. Disappointed, we walk a little farther and come upon an open grassy area. To our surprise, we see a stately, four-foot high Pelican standing on a large flower pot. It looks so wise with its long bill and majestic pose. Its webbed feet wrap around the edge of the planter, and it barely budges as we move in closer, taking pictures. Few people are close by, and those who are, surprisingly, don’t notice this beautiful white bird. Perhaps they think it’s a statue.

Getting hungrier by the minute and unable to have pelican for dinner, we continue walking and find a pizza restaurant with prices more in line with our budget. The restaurant is located in a courtyard with trellises of grapevines canopying above. The weather is still warm, and the earlier threat of rain has vanished. I order a glass of chianti and a pepperoni pizza, feeling happy as a clam.

After paying the bill, we head back towards the hotel. Just up ahead, we hear loud voices coming from a crowd of people and walk over to see what all the commotion is about. Showing off and obviously enjoying the attention, we see the pelican using its bill to smooth its ruffled feathers. It spreads its wings to create some space around it, and then its real intentions become obvious. The back door to a restaurant stands open, and it walks directly inside as if it works there, proceeding behind the counter and into the kitchen, where the good stuff is. A few seconds later, a cook with a broom shoos the large bird from behind the counter and out the door. A roar of laughter erupts from the crowd. Then with a flap of his wings, the pelican flies off to his next destination in search of food. We head back to the hotel for some shut eye.

Mykonos’ Maze of Streets

(Excerpt from my book, The Artist on the Road: Impressions of Greece)

After returning on the last boat back to Mykonos, I choose to hit the streets again to find another place to draw rather than return to the hotel. I feel energized by my success over the last couple of days, and I hope to retain this creative spirit. I set out from the docks and into Mykonos’ jungle of streets. It’s almost dinner time, and the smell of grilling chicken and pork souvlaki fills the air. This will be a good way to work up an appetite. While wandering along a tree-lined pathway, I stumble upon a familiar taverna where we ate gyros yesterday. I’m beginning to feel hungry, but I’m more interested in drawing, at least for the moment. Looking ahead, the path branches in two separate directions and provides both a good place to sit and a good vantage point from which to draw. I situate myself on a short wall and watch people pass by in their best evening wear, talking, laughing, eating. I’m thoroughly enjoying being here and being a part of it all. Even though I’m not Greek, I’m beginning to relate to the local culture.

Mykonos’ Old Port

I walk down towards the docks hoping to find something else interesting to draw. The narrow city streets are a maze to navigate, especially with tall buildings obstructing my view of the bay. But I follow the roads that lead downhill, and without too much trouble, I’m able to find my way. Parking myself at the edge of the bay, I sit atop stone steps that descend to the sandy beach below. Shallow waves lap up on the shore leaving blankets of bubbles behind. Before me lays the Old Port of Mykonos, with its buildings huddled close together at the edge of the sea.

Mykonos Hotel Room

Upon our arrival on Mykonos, a middle-aged woman in a van picks us up and drives us to her hotel. Our room, actually two rooms with a kitchen, is spacious but situated along a main road that we hope won’t keep us up at night. Here I’ve drawn the desk located in one corner of the room. My dad can be seen in the reflection of the mirror above the desk.