Bird & Sunrise photo

Bird & Sunrise photo
Because "someday" is today!

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Island of Rhodes

Rodos, as the Greeks call the island of Rhodes, located in the southeast Aegean sea near Turkey
Rodhos, as the Greeks call it, is located in the southeast Aegean sea near Turkey. Many travelers go there because of the numerous sandy beaches on it's south east coast. We are staying in the town of Ixia, which is on the more gravelly and windy northwest part of the island, which makes the lodgings more affordable. The good part, besides the financial savings, is that Ixia is only about 4 miles away from Rodhos town.

Rodhos town is described as a "remarkably preserved medieval city". The crusading Knights of St. John used the island as a main base from 1309 until 1522. One of the things that attracted us to Rhodes was the great old architecture. We hope to fine lots of inspiration in the old town

We are also traveling during the "off season", which is something else we always try to do since we don't like a lot of crowds. It saves money and right now the weather in Rhodes is in the 70 to 80 degrees instead of the baking hot temperatures of the high summer season.
The Rhodian population of fallow deer was found to be genetically distinct in 2005.  photo © 2008 Tina M. Welter
Rhodian Fallow deer sculpture in place of the Colossus.

I always wanted to see the harbor where the "Colossus of Rhodes" stood. The bronze statue of the Greek god Helios didn't straddle the harbor like some of the Fifteenth century drawings show, but it did stand 107 feet high. Having worked on creating bronze statues, I can really appreciate this. Unfortunately, the finished piece only stood about fifty years before and earthquake in 226 BC broke it off at the knees. In fear of offending their god, Helios, the Greeks didn't dare move the broken pieces. It stayed there for 800 years when the invading Turkish armies dismantled it. It would be great to create a piece of art that people still came to admire even when it was broken!

Jeff's Corner: Looks like Tina has finally become a "Rhodes" scholar!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Preparing For Take Off

Portable Art Studio, packing to go painting for a month in Rhodes, Greece, fall 2008
Our "Art Studio" in the apartment in Rhodes, Greece.
Many times we give ourselves excuses for not creating because we don't have the perfect dream space to do it in. I realized that we are challenging that assumption by taking our own art studio in a suitcase. My space for a studio at home is small, but the space of two suitcases, one sized at 18 x 24 x 10 and the other 14 x 21 x 9, is quite a bit smaller! Much like solving a Chinese puzzle, it involves placing all the pieces in just the right order.

Our essentials include: two portable easels that we found at Art Supplies Online (I would definitely recommend these easels), paints, brushes, medium, palettes, and of course, canvases. Our canvas sizes are small, 11 x 14, 9 x 12 and 6 x 9, but we have a total of 28 of them. Jeff is brilliant at figuring out the volume available in a suitcase. We are also taking digital cameras and a tiny photo printer. If we decide we need a light source, i.e. a lamp, we will have to buy it there.

The master plan is to check the bags with the studio supplies in them and carry on one bag each containing our clothes. We thought this would be the most efficient strategy and would fulfill any airline regulations. Now I just have to get everything I need for a month in one bag. My biggest problems are running shoes and vitamin supplements, neither of which I want to live without. One of my friends suggested rolling the vitamins up in a cloth pocket pouch. Pretty good idea. If anyone else has any fun packing suggestions, let us know!

Jeff's Corner: "You can't always take what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you can take what you need..." (with apologies to the Rolling Stones)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Persistence of Memory

When I decided to start the water, I tried to match the main blue color near the beach towards the middle of the painting. Once I established that color, I could add a little black to make a shadowed version or white to lighten it. I had three brushes loaded with those different color values, depending on what one I needed.I was really careful to not cover the reflective pinks and yellows with too much blue.

As I was painting, the most surprising thing happened. I found myself remembering the time I lived along the Oregon seacoast years ago, and the sound of the ocean and things I had observed came back to me. I remembered the way the water crashed and swished around the rocks along the beach and how certain patterns of white foam formed on the really dark water. I thought about the patterns the waves make as they come in and how the shadows form on the wave sides facing away from the light.

I was amazed that painting a seascape brought back the sights and sounds so vividly. Many times in art classes we were advised to go and experience a subject so that you can really portray it. I often wondered if it was really worth the trouble, but after this experience, I am excited to actually go to Greece myself and see how that affects my perception for even better paintings.

Jeff's Corner: Yeah, but where are the melted clocks?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Road Blocks

I wanted to practice painting a landscape with the oil paints before we go to Greece this October. After finding a copyright-free image that I liked, I started with the drawing. Using my imagination, I added the tops to the buildings that were cut off in the photo. Then I adjusted the composition by adding more sky space to the top and more sea to the right.

When I had a drawing I liked, I transferred it to the canvas. Next I painted in that golden sky and some of that same color as highlights on the water, then progress stopped. I did have to go out of town, but even when I returned I couldn't seem to get going again.

After a week, I examined my feelings and realized I was very anxious. I chose this image because I liked the low golden sunlight on the water and the buildings, which is want I wanted to capture in the painting. This was also the reason I was stuck. I wasn't sure how to proceed and I feared making mistakes. Once I realized that was the problem, I knew I had to move past this mental "creativity killer".

When I got up the next morning, I didn't allow myself time to think about it. I settled in, brushes in hand and decided I could get all the dark and light values in the rock face behind the buildings. This went so well, I continued with the rocks in the front of the buildings. My painting time was up, but now I felt like I wanted to finish the painting.

I am still uncertain on how to do the water, but I think if I just focus on the dark and light values one section at a time, I will be all right. I feel a bit nervous putting a painting that isn't finished out for everyone to see, but I am learning it is all about facing the fear!

Jeff's Corner: Sometimes your roadblocks may just be sobriety checks...