The Island of Delos, Greece~ We arrive at the dock and exit to partly cloudy skies. We pay the fee at the entrance, and I pick up a free map before shuffling off through the ruins. Lizards crawl everywhere, big ones too, a foot long head-to-tail. The island is uninhabited by humans but teeming with life. Artemis, the Goddess of all things wild, was born on this island, so maybe thatâ€™s the reason this place overflows with critters.
At the far end of the site, I see a temple on a hill that looks particularly interesting. The map I picked up at the entrance reveals the ruin as the Temple of the Egyptian goddess Isis. Walking through an ancient theater to reach it, I find conditions there damp with a few puddles, but am excited about drawing today, and with my newfound enthusiasm, a little rain is not going to stop me.
My dad takes off to climb Mt. Kynthos, the highest spot on the island, but I stay behind to draw. Raindrops splash on my page, but I continue until the rain really picks up and forces me to stop. I pack my gear and hunt for shelter but with no success. Then as quickly as it started, the rain stops, so I unpack my gear and once again continue to draw. The rain returns, but this time Iâ€™m saved by Dadâ€™s umbrella. He made it back from Mt. Kynthos just in time. Overall, the weather has cooperated quite nicely for this time of year in Greece, so I have nothing to complain about.
Delos, Greece~ Beyond that patch of green where the goddess Leto gave birth to Apollo and Artemis, stands another set of ruins that I want to draw next. I locate it on the map as the Koinon of the Poseidoniasts. It was used in the worship of Poseidon, the sea god, and was built in the 2nd Century BC. We make the trek down the hill, and I break out my drawing tools, and go to work.
Later in the day, as Iâ€™m walking back towards the entrance, I encounter the Terrace of the Lions, a row of marble lions facing the Sacred Lake. At the end of the 7th Century BC, the Naxians placed them here on a level terrace. The lions have weathered considerably through the millennia, and only six of the many originals now stand.
Up on a hill on the Island of Delos, Greece~ Â I take in the island laying before me and stretched out to the north. From up here, I see the circle of greenery that in antiquity was the location of the Sacred Lake, the spot where the goddess Leto gave birth to Apollo and Artemis, divine fraternal twins. This is the reason Delos was considered so sacred in ancient times. More recently, the Sacred Lake was drained to rid the island of malaria mosquitoes, and now it has filled in with a small forest.
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 Mykonosâ€™ jungle of streets. Itâ€™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. Iâ€™m beginning to feel hungry, but Iâ€™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. Iâ€™m thoroughly enjoying being here and being a part of it all. Even though Iâ€™m not Greek, Iâ€™m beginning to relate to the local culture.
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 Iâ€™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, donâ€™t notice this beautiful white bird. Perhaps they think itâ€™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.
This morning, while waiting for this afternoonâ€™s hydrofoil to Mykonos, we go to an outdoor cafe for chocolate crepes and Greek coffee. These are not your delicate French crepes, oh no. These are Greek crepes, thick, almost pancake-like, folded into quarters and oozing with chocolate sauce. The warm chocolaty goodness melts in my mouth. I work on a sketch of the shops across the street while still enjoying the last few bites of my crepe.
Today Iâ€™m drawing a little differently than I have been. I appreciate the fact that Iâ€™m not telling too much and leaving the rest to the imagination. Itâ€™s as if Iâ€™m drawing just the important parts, only enough to describe the scene. My touch has also lightened, leaving space between lines and allowing the drawing to breathe. Itâ€™s really a type of vignetting, and I like the new style. Iâ€™ll have to work like this more often.
On the hydrofoil to Mykonos, I draw the front of the boat where weâ€™re seated. The final drawing is tipped at an angle and the perspective distorted, but it gives a feeling of how disoriented one can feel when out at sea. The hydrofoil is smooth running and wicked fast.
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 wonâ€™t keep us up at night. Here Iâ€™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.