Greetings from a cold and wet Skiathos. Yes, I’m back on this lovely Greek island, making ready for another exciting year ahead. Gosh, it’s hard to believe that ‘Painting Skiathos’ is one year old already!
‘Happy Birthday blog!’
To think that just 12 months ago I began this journey to fulfill a long-held dream, and in a relatively short space of time, it’s been realised! The art studio is up and running with courses filling up for a second year and stage 1 of the building works complete.
It might be cold, grey and damp here at the moment but I’m keeping warm and dry with the fire lit and the sweet smell of burning olive wood filling the house.
We have some days when the rain holds off long enough for a bracing walk. Yesterday I ventured up the lane into the valley behind the house and, apart from birdsong, in silence, passing through the peaceful olive groves and crossing the streams, the words of the ancient Greek poets came to mind
“Do not drink here, traveller, from this warm pool in the spring; for it is full of mud the sheep have stirred up. Go but a little way further over the ridge where the heifers sre grazing, and there, by the shepherd’s pine, you will find a spring bubbling up through the rock, colder than the snows of Boreas” Leonidas Of Tarentum XV1 – 230*
I love the island in these few short months that nature reclaims it and before the noisy frenzied pace of summer arrives.
You can walk for hours and never see another soul! In fact the only sign of life I came across, during several hours walking, was the occasional startled sheep, grazing goat or chicken!
“Dear Hermes, sharer of this hillside rich in fennel and chervil, and of this goat-pasture; be friendly to the herb-gatherer and the goatherd, and you shall have your portion of both the herbs and the milk” Leonidas of Tarentum 1X – 318*
in a just few short weeks the island will be showing the first signs of spring; with a riot of wild flowers carpeting the meadows, clear blue skies, long shadows and everywhere green, green, green! The first flocks of swifts have already arrived and begun to build their nests and a sense of expectation, mingling with the smell of woodsmoke, fills the air. So, as well as painting, I’m spending time in the garden, getting it ready and ship-shape for what promises to be another busy year ahead.
Last year was filled with one exciting adventure after another and the opportunity to make lots of new friends and meet some exceptional artists. Together we created LOTS of art and staged 3 art exhibitions. Welcoming guests from all over the globe, we exchanged ideas and learning from each other, over endless dinners and carafes of local wine we engaged in plenty of discussion, putting the world to rights and, best of all, we had fun!
All in spite of the hard work, the nail-biting and the set-backs; there were plenty of dark moments when I feared it would simply never happen; moments when my goal seemed unobtainable…….and, like Icarus, reaching for the sun, I found myself falling…
This beautiful painting is by artist Daniel Perez. To purchase a print or see more of his work, visit his online galleries HERE
But blessed with eternal (albeit naive) optimism and the help and support of some truly special friends…..’Painting Skiathos’ was born!.
So, A huge ‘Thank you!’ to everyone – not forgetting my readers – I couldn’t have done it without you and I look forward to welcoming you on this wonderful ‘shaded isle’, in the months ahead.
* Quotations taken from ‘Poems from the Greek Anthology’, translated by Robert Reid & published by Faber & Faber