‘Where Do I Begin?’…….

(‘Where do I Begin?’ – Love Story 1968).….seems a fitting title for this post, given that it’s been so long since my last one and I have SO much to tell…….But more than that; with the sad passing of the … Continue reading

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Brrrrr…..ring on the spring – it’s COLD!

It’s not only cold – it’s wet too! I really shouldn’t complain though, especially when I look at what’s happening across the United States and Australia right now. It makes me realise just how fortunate we are here on Skiathos. … Continue reading

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Keeping Good Company…

Hello Everyone, Happy New Year or Xronia polla! Christmas at home in London is always such a busy and wonderful ‘family’ time and this year, thankfully, was no exception.  We had the added thrill of sharing the festivities with good … Continue reading

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Protected: A Fairytale Greek Wedding – Skiathos Style!

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Midsummer Memo

Well, I know we officially passed mid-summer a while back but, as we’re about half-way through the summer season here, I thought it was time for a quick update! As usual, it’s been a hectic time. Painting guests have come … Continue reading

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A Friend in Need…….

Here we are, not yet July and already Skiathos is a hive of activity. The Summer ‘buzz’ is most definitely in the air (although the football may have more to do with the crowded cafés and bars on the Paralia!). … Continue reading

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Sara, Silks & Synonyms

I promised I’d be back soon and, true to my word,  here I am! It’s been a very creative couple of weeks and I’ve really enjoyed being a ‘student’ myself, rather than a teacher, for a change. The lovely effervescent … Continue reading

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NEW for 2010!! I’m absolutely delighted to tell you about TWO very exciting NEW courses on offer at ‘Painting Skiathos’ this coming season: (photo: © Sara Ridgley 2010) CREATIVE WRITING COURSE – with SARA RIDGLEY – MAY 29, 30 Successful, … Continue reading

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Mourning, Miracles & Magic. Xristos Anesti!

Hello again! I don’t know about you (and if you’re very religious or a regular church go-er it’s unlikely you’ll be able to relate to this) but over the last few years, for me anyway, Easter has become a bit … Continue reading

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Back to basics and ‘KALO PASKA!!

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” — Albert Camus HELLO EVERYONE, I’M BACK!! I returned to a freezing cold, windy and very wet Skiathos and unable to locate my key-holder … Continue reading

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“Yvonne’s World”

‘Yvonne’s World’ Digital painting by Beth Edwards (1stAngel) How many times have you heard this: “Attention! Ladies and Gentlemen. This store will be closing in 20 minutes. Please proceed immediately to the nearest checkout with your purchases and exit through … Continue reading

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Work in progress…..

With the weather being so cold damp at the moment it’s not too difficult to opt for staying indoors (where it’s temptingly snug and warm), rather than brave the elements and tackle jobs in the garden! So, between working on some humorous drawings for a book I’ve been commissioned to illustrate, in the peace and solitude with only ITunes for company, I’m managing to fit in some painting time too. I began this still life in oils yesterday afternoon:


I had a few more hours of working on it today and by the time the light faded, it had progressed to this:


All being well, I’ll finish it tomorrow – then it’ll be back to the drawing board for me!


At Last! New Tariff and Timetable for 2009!

'Kolios Blue'

'Kolios Blue'

Many thanks to all my readers who have been waiting so patiently…

The *NEW* Tariff and Timetable for 2009 is finally published! (you can find it in the ‘About Painting Skiathos’ pages in the R. hand column)

Roll on Spring and summer, exciting times lie ahead!

Hope to see you in Skiathos!

Waxing Lyrical


“I’ve just spent a wonderfully creative day in the company of friends, making cards……..” Sorry, this post has moved; from today and throughout the winter months, while I’m back in London, all non ‘Painting Skiathos’ related art posts can be found on my NEW art blog:

“YVONNE AYOUB ART”, instead.

I do hope you will join me over on my new blog for regular art news and updates,

But I will be posting the full itinerary for Painting Skiathos 2009 here, very soon, however, in the meantime, if you have any queries, if you’d like to know more, please drop me a line – all comments welcome!


Last of the summer wine….

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Hi Folks!

Sorry, I didn’t mean to be silent for so long, after packing up ‘Painting Skiathos’ for another year and returning to London, I immediately contracted the dreaded ‘Australian ‘flu! I guess, with the air being so much purer on the island, these days, whenever I return to this thriving metropolis…I get sick! Happens every time. When you consider how many millions of people are crammed into this city, living and working side by side and all the accompanying germs, well, it’s hardly surprising I suppose! Happy to report I’m as fit as a fiddle once again. Wish I could say the same about my computer though (why does every thing go wrong at once?) I’ve been struggling along on an old lap top that just wouldn’t let me upload files or photos. Very frustrating! Any way, at long last, here I am.

Skiathos, when I left a couple of weeks ago, had certainly slowed down; beaches were deserted, tavernas empty and shops closed up for the season.

Skiathos old port from the now deserted Bourtzi

Skiathos old port from the now deserted Bourtzi

The last of the tourists depart on the sea-cat

The last of the tourists depart on the sea-cat

and the Skiathites, tired from the frenzied pace of the summer, were winding down and re-claiming the island as their own once again. It’s actually a lovely time to be on the island. The leaves were turning from green to gold, the skies clouded over and the smell of wood smoke was beginning to fill the air.

Richard Buchanan -Dunlop, artist, poet and probably the longest ex pat resident on the island captures this time of year perfectly in his poem ‘Troulos’. This, the final verse, is taken from his ‘Skiathos and other Poems’ anthology:

“At Troulos in the autumn time a gentle peace returns again

The withered grass and weary pines recover in welcome rain

The small taverna once more closed sits in a state of silent dread

Waiting for the lonely solitude the cold damp days that lie ahead

Summer debris lies around left for the wind and sea to clear

And Troulos sleeps the winter out whilst waiting for another year”

Sadly this book is now out of print but a new one, with his latest works and illustrated with many of his own paintings, is in the pipeline.  I was fortunate enough to visit him in his studio, when he asked if I would photograph them in preparation for their publication, and I was surprised to discover what a prolific painter he is. There were literally hundreds canvasses, each bearing his trademark  colourful, vibrant style ( a true reflection of his own profound, many-faceted, fascinating personality) everywhere!

Richard Buchanon-Dunlop in his studio, with some of his paintings

Richard Buchanon-Dunlop in his studio, with some of his paintings

Richard B-D and yours truly

Richard B-D and yours truly

Old friends, Richard B-D with my Father

Old friends, Richard B-D with my Father



There’s nothing that makes being an artist more worthwhile (for me anyway!) than seeing one of my  paintings going to a home where I know it is appreciated and will be treasured. My dear friend Matt (from the Loulou and the Dolpins Antiques gallery) and his friend, Kees, paid me a visit in the studio earlier, in the summer. I had just finished an oil painting of the olive tree that’s visible through the studio window. They didn’t stay very long and it was only when Matt called me a few hours later, to tell me how Kees had been waxing lyrical about the ‘Olive Tree’ ever since they returned home, that I had any indication he was even interested in it! With Kees’ Birthday coming up in September, Matt wanted to buy it as a surprise for him. I was leaving for London the next day and had planned to add it to the exhibition (running on the Bourtzi throughout the summer). He instructed me to go ahead and display it publically anyway but to make sure there was a (sold) red sticker on it – and I wasn’t to breathe a word to anyone, as it was to be a surprise.

Apparently, in my absence, Kees had visited the exhibition and was distraught to find the painting ‘sold’, wishing he’s seized the chance to buy it himself when he first saw it! Several times he went back, to show friends, kicking himself every time!

When September arrived and I was back in Skiathos, I was invited to Kees’ birthday dinner. I took the painting earlier in the day, secreting it in the kitchen – so when I arrived at 8.00pm with only a ‘bottle’ and card, the deception was complete. When the moment arrived for Kees to open his gifts he’d clearly absolutely no idea what was wrapped in the large package. As the realisation dawned, incredulity was written all over his face (not only at receiving the painting he’d loved but that Matt had been able to keep it a secret for so long!). I was just delighted to be on hand to witness his amazement and to capture that very special moment on film. Take a look – the photos speak for themselves:

Hello. What's this?

Hello. What's this?

Hmmm, interesting....

Hmmm, interesting....

This can't be what I think it is...

This can't be.....

It B**** IS!

You ******!
You ******!
This winter, I’m sad to report, will see fellow artist and gallery owner, Helene, the kindest sweetest lady you could ever wish to meet, closing up, packing her paints and brushes and and moving back to her home town of Thessaloniki. She’s a wonderful lady who has been a much-loved and familiar figure on the island for as long as I can remember. She’s talked of leaving for a couple of years now but this time I noticed her shop sign has actually come down:
Her gallery, filled with her own handywork, a veritable Aladdin’s cave,
was tucked away in the back streets of the old town.
A broad smile and a warm welcome were always on hand
to anyone who stumbled upon it, finding Helene, seated
as she always was, at her tiny desk quietly, patiently painting-away……
We wish you all the best for your retirement, Helene.
We will miss you!
I wonder what other changes will lie in store for when I return to Skiathos, early next Spring.
Some will be happy ones;
Magda from Taverna Alexandos will be a proud mum for the second time
Congratulations Magda!
Tour operators may come and go, new developments and roads will appear on the ever-changing landscape but in my eyes, Skiathos will always remain the same Skiathos I love.
I’ll sign off with another of Richard Buchanan-Dunlop’s beautiful poems, that sums up its magic perfectly and is as relevant today, as when he wrote it many years ago:
“Skiathos the pearl the sheltered isle
Lying in the shadow of the holy mount
Uncounted olives rustling the gentle breeze
Tumbling in unordered rhythmn down its slopes
Of tangled grass down to the sole-hot sand
Down to innumerable coves washed by the dazzling sea

Skiathos the island of scented pine and heath
And the fragrance of spring and autumn flowers
Bunched in profusion on its green-grey hills
The sweet smell of honey and of warm leaves
Mingling the salty perfumes of the salty sea

Skiathos a welcome rest for birds in flight
Flying to their summer and their winter homes
A sanctuary for those who come to stay
Bringing their songs to sanctify the day
And at night the ode inspiring nightingale
Sings out its heart in the scented olive grove

Skiathos set in a ring of verdant isles
Fading from emerald greens to distant greys
Fading into the haze of the sun-warmed noon
And closer islets fringed with sandy bays
Where peace can still be found on busy summery days

Skiathos a town of winding cobbled lanes
Stepping their way between sun-white walls
Sharp shadowed walls with painted iron-wrought doors
And balconies decked bright with sleepy flowers
Fishing boats nuzzled close along its quay
Nodding and swaying in the quiet motion of the sea
As blue smocked children tumble in noisy stream
Across the causeway of their island school

Skiathos alive with sound and light and smell
Casting like Prospero’s isle an all-embracing spell
A place to linger and absorb a place to stay
A place above all to pass the time of day
A place above all to while the weeks away.”

* N.B. Punctuation (or lack of) is as the author intended.
(poems, reproduced here by kind permission of their author,
remain the copyright of Richard Buchanan-Dunlop)