Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Athens is not the reason I go to Greece. Not this time anyway. It's a big, bustling city that unfortunately, beyond seeing the ruins, doesn't particularly speak to me. But we went again because my Mom can't go all the way to Greece and not see the Parthenon! So we went, and we wandered the Plaka, and hit some museums. The new Acropolis Museum was an amazing tribute the the Acropolis itself, in full view from the museum. The top level replicated all the friezes and columns of the Parthenon and was the same size and alignment as the ancient temple itself. Difficult to explain, but sometimes in museums the context is lacking. You see wonderful things without a solid, tangible sense of where it came from. Not so at this museum, with the real deal always in the background and with such thoughtful design choices.
For the first time ever, I got to see the real Caryatids, up close. This made the whole trip to Athens worth it for me. Unlike the reproductions at the site that you just can't get quite close enough too, you are able to walk right up to these. I circled these ancient ladies and pondered the burden they literally bore, as well as my own sense of burden and responsibility. I looked at them from different angles, and marveled at seeing them from the back for the first time. So I stood, and sketched. I took my moment to connect with the past and the beauty of these columnic statues. I was at it for a while, when the young museum guide came up to me. Just to look and to talk. He was sweet and admiring and shared how most people just come, look, snap a photo and leave. They spend more time shooting photos than experiencing, and it all gets put on a cd labeled "Greece 2010", rarely to be looked at again. He told me about the sketches on the top floor that helped them determine how the Parthenon once looked, before looting and fires changed its appearence. Drawings made by "someone like you", he said. That made me feel like a historian, an artist, an archaeologist even. That's me, capturing my little bit of the story with my journals and sketchbooks. Mine becoming intertwined with capturing what I see around me. But isn't travel a little bit like that? Your own path converging with the paths of many. Sharing with those on the same journey, at this present moment as well as all those who came before you. People living in and seeking out this place you have been fortunate enough to set foot upon. The first time I went to Greece I felt so close and so far at the same time. How odd and comforting it is to know what is going on somewhere else, that we are all connected by this time, this moment, regardless of where we are.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
One of the places I insisted upon going to this time was the sacred isle of Delos. This barren island was once the center of the Cycladic Greek islands, geographically and otherwise. Going here determined that we would indeed go to Naxos, seeing as boats leave from there to Delos. These boats as it turns out, go to Mykonos as well. Which is how we ended up going to one of the most known and touristy islands, against all desire to do so. The day as it turned out, was a really long one. The boat ride to Delos was peaceful and being on the water is a favorite of mine. Delos holds history and artifacts, but unfortunately the magic was stifled due to the hordes upon hordes of people. I had this fantasy of exploring the island quietly, slowly. But the schedule is firm and only as we ventured farther and farther out did I feel any peace. But we "discovered" ancient wells and mosaics along with temples and homes. My visit to the Lion terrace was heartbreaking. One of my truly guilty pleasure films is the movie, Summer Lovers, and I had the deluded fantasy that I could walk right up to the lion (replicas) just as Peter Gallagher and Daryl Hannah did. Just like most sites, it was blocked off and I had to admire at a distance, feeling very disconnected to this ancient place. I accepted this and moved on, thinking I could at least sketch the real deal in the museum, but naturally it was blocked off too.
After Delos, the boat took us to Mykonos and we had no plan, no intention other than to not get sucked into mindless shopping while we were there. First things first, we wandered aimlessly along the edge of the port town, through beautiful Little Venice, finally ending up at the windmills. Once the obligatory photos were taken was when the fun really began. We sat upon a high rock, overlooking the coast, marveling that we were truly here again. At last. We walked and wandered to tiny, quiet beaches moving further and further from the crowds. After more wandering through town, and a necessary gelatto stop, we headed back to the Church of Panagia Paraportiani. We stumbled upon this church earlier and it stopped me dead in my tracks. I realize that thousands of tourists "discover" this church in the same way, but it felt like it was there just for me, heaven on Earth. So we sat and looked and sketched. While tours passed by and gave it a quick glance, we stayed and basked in it's simple lines and beauty. Like the adobe churches of New Mexico, the lines were both crisp an organic, standing out against and disappearing into the blue white sky. Who knows where you will find your own sacred spots. When you have no expectations, even no desire, the most magical things can appear. The day was long and hot, windy and draining, but there is something to the trick of being alone in the crowds, and finding the undiscovered among the endlessly explored.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Naxos was new to me, unfamiliar, uncharted... It's one of those islands that is less travelled to in the Cyclades even though its on the main ferry hub. It's a big island too, the biggest of the Cyclades. It had one of the most charming main port towns that I've been to. Sure, there are plenty of things to lure you in right off the ferry, but beyond it there is so much more. The food was spectacular. No kidding. For a place that already relies on fresh food, we ate like kings here. Long stretches of sandy beaches and a curving coast line of lesser explored coves. Ancient temples and Venetian castles. The Venetian influence on Naxos town was quite stunning. In September, on this island, felt...quiet. But it was still warm enough to swim, windy though it may be at times. We rented a car and toured the island, stumbling upon tiny old untouched towns, potter's hamlets, winding vistas, goats, abandoned giant kouros, and the sea, of course. It was a special island, one I would explore more deeply given the chance. We stayed at theAlkyoni Beach Hotel which has lush grounds (for the Cyclades), and is right on the beach (a plus in the off season) and close to town. While Naxos doesn't hold the magic for me of Santorini, or the peace and untouched feeling of Sifnos, it was still a wonderful time. One evening, in particular stands out. Listening to traditional Bouzuki music in the castle, sampling local wines and raki. The sound of the sea in the distance, while the music and dance filled us. It was one of those pure moments, the kind you can never capture and never need to.
Friday, December 3, 2010
I found myself back at one of my favorite and magical places this September, Santorini. This time we stayed in Oia, where it was a little more relaxed and plenty spectacular. If you have never been there, I recommend you go at least once in your life. It is Heaven on Earth to me. Of course, it is over crowded, and over priced, which is not my thing, but going late or early in the season is an improvement. I dream of going in the winter, when it is empty of tourists and full of artists and writers. When there is brisk air and I watch the fishing boats bundled in my coat instead of bathed in hot sun. Even better would be to go to all the places I feel I have missed out on so far in the Cyclades. The islands that are so close, but people just don't go to because they haven't heard of them yet. Maybe Anafi as just as amazing as Santorini. Then there is the dream of Amorgos, Serifos, and the dream of dreams... just staying put on one of my favorite islands by far, Sifnos. Where there could truly be time to explore and settle in, cook food from the market and better yet, meet the locals. I am happiest when traveling when I feel like I am having an authentic experience, not the same one everyone else is having. Already I am dreaming of new places, Spain, Ireland, Mexico, but the call to Greece is unending for me. No sooner am I back, happy to be resettled into my life, that I dream of my return.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Iv'e been back from Journalfest for about a week now, and I am still basking in 3 full days of play in my journals and time spent with new and old friends. I took two days of workshops with my friend, Juliana Coles, and as usual, it did not disappoint. My first class was Expressive Drawing which was outstanding. I love to draw, and it was great to learn new techniques and ways to incorporate them into my regular journal pages.
The next class was mapping Me with Orly Avineri. This class was wonderful and relaxed, and it was a joy to turn off my brain and just take it one step at a time. I loved the guided format, not knowing the end result, but trusting that each step would get me there.
Finally came Juliana's Book of the Night class, which she is also offering online! It was so much fun working on black backgrounds and using all my spooky images. To top it all off was the journaling/masquerade party. It was a fantastic time of costumes and music and playing in our books! I am missing everyone and am so happy that I had the opportunity to sign up at the very last minute.
P.S: Thanks Susan for some of the photos I poached to post here!
Friday, October 22, 2010
Here are some bits and pieces from my Greece journal. Still working hard to get it filled with all the goodies I collected there, and with the beautiful photos that were taken. I am just loving this photo I took of Chad the other day. As a woodworker, the background suits him perfectly. It's so warm and inviting, just like his smile!
Thursday, October 21, 2010
We celebrated our eight year anniversary not too long ago, and here are the pictures to prove it! It ended up being a drawn out celebration, starting mellow with dinner and a movie. Dinner was at The Med in Boulder where many tapas were consumed. Bacon wrapped dates were a favorite, along with cherry tomatoes with honey, nuts, and goat cheese. Yum! Later that weekend we saw the King Tut exhibit in Denver which was amazing. Unfortunately, no sketching was allowed in the exhibit, but for once we left a museum not worn out. Unlike our all day museum visits in Greece that ended in pleasant exhaustion.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
This is a piece that I did some time ago. I am not sure why I never posted it, I think I was unsure if it was finished. Looking at it now, it is telling me what I need to know. How fear keeps us from living if we allow ourselves to bear its full weight. That living without it's presence is impossible, but if we can tune into it maybe we can work with it, not against it. Little reminders to move forward to take that step, to sometimes leap without looking. For me that means saying what I mean, not dancing around what the right and wrong words are. It's exhausting trying always to please, trying to never say the wrong thing. Anyway, I digress... Fear often keeps me from my passion. It keeps me out of the studio, and from really pushing myself to my full potential. It has been the reason that my work and books remain only for me and not for others. Either to sell or to teach. I'd like to think I am brave in life and certainly in love, but that passion of mine I keep pretty well guarded. There are big dreams afoot and I know what is standing in the way. I am standing in the way of myself, and at the moment it feels harder and harder to hold that position. Here's to the future, and letting go.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
So I am back. Finally resettled into life after 3 weeks in one of my favorite places, Greece. I have so much to share, to tell... but it seems to have to become an awful lot to process. So I will start by starting. Thank you everyone for your well wishes before my journey, and for the compliments for the travel journals I made. There is still so much for me to add to my journal, since with three of us, more time was spent with each other than with our books. So I will slowly make time to retrace my steps, add to my book, then share the results here.
Coming home was a surprise. How long the jet lag lasted, and feeling like I lost time somehow. Leaving in summer and coming home to holiday decorations everywhere. I am out of the haze but not back in the studio yet. I have another piece published to share with you all, and many pictures from the trip to share as well. This week I celebrated my eight year wedding anniversary. Still amazed that I am at this stage in life, with marriage underway and other dreams coming to fruition. Needless to say, I am very grateful at the moment. Grateful for the journey, and also for the journey home. It's good to see you here.
(All pics by IPhone hubby photog!)
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Here are a few inside shots of the Greek journal pages. The books are a combo of 90 lb watercolor paper and sewn scraps of ephemera. A 50/50 mix, so there is space to paint, draw, write and collects bits of things. The bottom image is a patterned transparency over an engraving of the goddess Athena.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Can you imagine how excited I am, knowing that I am headed back to Greece very soon. My soul home. Needless to say, journals are needed for the trip. And if you know me, you know that I had to make something special for it. Since my mom is going on this amazing journey with me, and since my husband is turning 40 while we are there, journals were made for all!
Chad's is the grey book with a little Japanese influence. Mine has the oversized pattern with the periwinkle ribbon. Any my mom's is the light blue one with gorgeous coral ribbon. All books were made under the influence of many set-in-Greece films and Mary Ann Moss's online class, Remains of the Day. If you don't know this already, and you should, she is a rockstar. Always inventing new, industrious ways of making things, and making them fun and beautiful along the way. I am quite sure we will do these books justice on our journey. More to come!
What a summer! So much fun it's hard to know where to begin. All along the way I intended to post more, show pictures, tell of my various exploits. But here it is, wrapped up in a big package at the end of it all. I guess the biggest accomplishment was laying this flagstone path. It was a lot of work for Chad and less for me, but the result is beautiful. Earthy and modern, it suits us and our house to a tee. Now to get flower beds in place and paint the front door. Dusty teal, so nice.
Other highlights were good family get togethers, the Greek festival, and the outdoor movies in Boulder. I have to tell you, watching Top Gun outdoors on the big screen, with a nostalgic and enthusiastic crowd...it doesn't get much better than that.
This was my first year at the Folks Festival and I will be going back. I love Lyons to begin with, but the experience was such a surprise. Good food, great music, all along the side of the river. When you get hot, you just jump in. Or tube down it. The stage was open, with trees dancing behind the bands. At night when The Swell Season played, the trees were lit with orange lights, and they glowed on fire. So good to hear great live music, outdoors. So good to live in Colorado. We were there, listening, sketching, taking it all in. I was playing around with the above page while listening to Gregory Alan Isakov, and it was bliss. Afterwards, when everyone was having CD's and albums signed, I went up to say "hi" and took my journal. My artwork has always done the talking for me, so armed with it I felt brave and not so shy. And the band signed it. And we actually had something to talk about, which was really fun. Later that night I let myself go and basked in the beauty of Glen and Marketa. Like I said, it was a busy summer, and a damn good one too.
Friday, July 2, 2010
I am so excited to tell you that I have been published in the summer issue of Art Journaling Magazine! I am so greatful to see my work in print. It brings me back to my Graphic Design days when the stars aligned and a print job came to full fruition. I am happy for the change in career direction, but still love the result of a printed page. Magazines and books about books, it doesn't get much better than that. So please check it out. You can pick up a copy at Borders or Barnes & Noble, or take a look here. Thanks Stampington!
Friday, June 18, 2010
I love a little before and after. Much excavating went on to create this piece. I was pushed beyond my comfort zone to continue adding paint over images, layering, removing, and sanding to get to this point. Despite my concerned frustration, I love where it ended up. Not sure what it's all about, although I know some writing wants to make its way onto the page to connect these ancient symbols to my present state of mind.