Friday, 31 January 2014

Contrasts: Organic against Inorganic

Drawn 27th January

Around my home, concealed under a thick blanket of vegetation, there have lain for a generation or longer many beautiful vignettes of rock, tree, leaf and flower, fairylands lit by dappled sun through leafy ceilings.   To liberate these hidden glades it has been necessary to hack passages and paths through a jungle of thorny creepers, dead branches, vigorous shrubs and saplings.  This work is, of course, interfering with nature but only very temporarily; within a decade of stopping this work nature will have reclaimed her own.  Only my efforts at trying to record how these places are now will remain; as good a reason as any for my essaying to render them in watercolour.


Drawn 26th January

Number four grand-daughter Harriet had her eleventh birthday on 28th January.  This is the portrait I drew of her dressed in Harry Potter mode for the front of her birthday card.

The Old Way

Drawn 25th January

From the mid nineteenth century when, post Greece's abandonment by the Ottoman Empire, Velanidia was first settled, this donkey track to the Mystraki village well in the valley would have been in daily use until the middle of the twentieth century; until petrol engines replaced draught animals.
The track, unused now but for our occasional pleasure, has become partially eroded and overgrown, it remains accessible only through considerable efforts to keep it so.

The Toy Boomerang

Drawn 21st January
In 1999 a couple from the UK came to visit us at home; they had with them her three children, two girls and a boy.  The boy,  Robin, then ten or twelve years old brought with him a precious and new toy boomerang which he launched on its maiden and only flight from a meadow next to the house; the boomerang did not come back, it fell into dense scrub.  Despite long and intensive searching the toy could not be found.

In January 2014, to liberate into view some fine woodland and a dramatic limestone outcrop, Lisi and I have been clearing of undergrowth the steep bank that rises from our track to the meadow from which, so many years ago, the toy boomerang was launched.  Apart from exposing, for the first time in many years, some beautiful rocks and trees we had also exposed the errant boomerang. In something amazingly close to its original condition, the toy was lodged on a heart-shaped rock at the foot of a cleft between two huge boulders.


Drawn 18th January
Until WWll and the subsequent civil war here in Greece every village community had a threshing floor; a circular paved floor with a central post around which oxen dragged heavy timbers over grain crops to thresh out their seeds.  Since then these floors have been abandoned and have largely fallen into ruin.  Here and there they have been preserved but a far greater number of them have disappeared for ever.

Plastic, poly-tunnel greenhouses yet abound in the landscape but this one has been long abandoned. It was last used for sheltering kids and lambs.

On Location 16th January

Wet weather forced the usual Thursday, 'On Location' gathering of sketchers to be abandoned.  We met instead in Gill Tomlinson's well-appointed warm and dry studio.  The drawing was not finished but I shall add no more to it.

On Location, 29th January

For the third week in succession wet weather caused the 'On Location' gathering to be at Gill Tomlinson's studio.  Having exhausted my pleasure of sketching the interior of the studio I chose this week to make an interpretation of a magazine photograph of the ruins of a Greek temple in Sicily.

On Location 22nd January

'On Location' day was altered from Thursday to Wednesday.  Again we were obliged to accept Gill's generous offer of use of her studio.  I managed to finish even less of my drawing than that of the previous week.  This was largely due to spending rather more of the morning drawing 'warm-up' sketches; wrong-handed, blind and restated contour drawings too ephemeral to post here.