Day 15: Days slip away

Days slip away with swimming in the sea, discovering a new giant pebble beach, hidden beyond a rough steep track that falls away perilously from the coastal road. Days slip away with sleeping in the afternoon, after cooking from the full flavoured local produce. Or soaking up poetry in a good chair in the shade, […]

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Day 13: Arrival in Aegina

I have a new Moleskine watercolour sketchbook, but trying out a nice clean, square-format Seawhite book for monochrome sketching. First drawings are all of the familiar things here on the island of Aegina, where I have spent summers since about 1972. Finally, after many weeks of being too busy, my watercolours come out. I begin […]

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Day 11: Travel

Last couple of days in Unique Lisbon. Found the wonderful Cathedral Sé: And realised that the plainest building outside our bedroom window might make a perfect painting: Discovered the a Portuguese for ‘viewpoint’ is probably ‘Miradouro’: Then, next day, we’re off to Sintra, the famous historical site. Kings of old came to escape the heat […]

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Day 9: Belém

We walked and took the metro, and the train, and the trams today. Had sardines and a delightful sparkling Vinho Verde today. We made sure to return for England in the World Cup semi-final, but also made time for drawing. This building can be drawn from our room’s balcony: This building is the Torre de […]

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Day 7: Lisboa

By train we leave our children and grandchildren and set off together. Though we miss our children, I’m always glad when we’re alone. It takes a lot of time to get to the important conversations. We walk for miles and mikes around Lisbon and discover the posh bits, and the Alfama district where the “Fado” […]

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Day 5: São João do Estoril

Winifred Joy sits with her grandfather, splashing toes in a blue pool. It’s a good start to a day but it’s not a day for uninterrupted drawing, listening to a podcast, or reading poetry. Instead the children keep us occupied with their entertainment. But in weeks to come we’ll miss that, so it’s really OK. […]

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Day 3: Pool and Beach

I’m repeatedly drawing the view from this place. I’m thinking about perspective, but also, trying different ways to imitate tree trunks and foliage, water, pantiles, and brickwork. here’s three versions drawn so far: I tried again with parallel lines fanned out to guide my perspective drawing: And then again. To try harder. They’re not great; […]

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Day 1: Leaving London

Down to the river for a lonely pint and a fish finger sandwich 🥪. Mulling over this unusual situation. In a few hours I’ll leave London to spend four months living simply on a Greek Island, meeting Mary in Lisbon on the way out and (I hope) stopping in Venice on the way home). It […]

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Watercolour Garden Gate

Our family has used the gate into this garden for over 50 years. Mary and I can each count over a dozen houses we’ve lived in, but this garden has memories spanning them all.  Here’s my set-up, sitting half in the hall, with the paper taped to a table that I can push in and out […]

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Retsona Refugee Camp

Today we visit a refugee camp in Greece, one of three dozen together holding about 65,000 (known) refugees, forwarded from detention centres and now on the transfer lists awaiting invitation from the receiving EU countries.  We visit the home of a Syrian surgeon and two of his friends. One has left his family behind in […]

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2016-10-11 Tue. What would Steve do?

Up until 2am last night, practicing rebetiko songs with Theophilos at his ‘Psitopoleion’ (souvlaki shop).    I’m doing a Rebetiko gig tonight with my mate Theophilus. He plays bouzouki and his mate Costa lends me a guitar and translates.  Rehearsing last night, I asked Costa if his book had the chord charts for the song […]

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2016-10-10 Mon. What would Steve do?

Last night was spent listening to JS Bach’s St.Matthew Passion. Again, yes. Without being on a ‘diet’ I am eating less, which might compensate for spending a lot of time sitting. In respect of the sitting, and prolonged concentration, painting is similar to computing. However, I believe there is greater scope for using the brain’s […]

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2016-10-09 Sun. What would Steve do?

Saturday evening was spent by candlelight and then by starlight listening to JS Bach piano music. A little pasta. And then bed.  After a lie in (!) and breakfast, I reach Cafeteria Kanakis by 11:00am and complete a drawing of Souvala Harbour by 13:00pm.  Take some pictures inland, and then keftedakia at tenekedakia. By  4pm […]

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Uncontainable Simplicity

   You imagine the world might be difficult to assimilate for a child, while we have seen it all, or seen worse, or greater. But here we are in our sixties, on a Greek island in November expecting the same old thing, but experiencing surprises and novelty beyond expectations, despite 40 years of visiting. On […]

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Day 8: Syros to Naxos

We came by boat at night. Reading our books on deck, under the stars.     To get more out of re-reading The Lord of the Rings, one collates a name dictionary in Westron, Dwarvish, and the Silvan, Galadhrim, & Ancient variants of Elvish.  With paper, one can write key names in Runes, and avoid autocorrection […]

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Day 5: Syros

Ideally my own home would have such a window onto the sea and sky! My legs ache just to stand. The stairs and waves of Ermoupolis (City of Hermes) have punished me for the atrophy of a Springtime spent with a chair and a laptop.       

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Day 4: Syros

Concert of accordion and recorder in an Orthodox Church. Delicate. Astonishing. Varied – from Early music through Baroque to modern.     

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