paros day 37: paintings on marble

Again.

Cause its really all I feel like doing lately. Maybe its the mediums of watercolour and watercolour pencil with some acrylic or gouache thrown in for something different. Maybe its the texture of the marble… Reminds me a bit of the stone in lithography… Whatever it is, I’m loving it.

As I mentioned, however, I do have a commission to do on paper in pastel so I have to get onto that. TOMORROW. Today is already half over and I’m tired. I went for a long walk with Lainee and was seriously wiped out after. Time to get something together for dinner and relax with a bit of Netflix.

Again.

I’m currently watching (and near the end of) Lovesick. I do love british TV. The show is light and easy to watch, not especially seat of your pants or anything, just the sort of thing to watch when you feel like having a little laugh watching others stuff up their love lives.

So, here is another art on marble fix…

Still on the sea life theme.

And something completely different!

I spent a bit of time yesterday working on my first ever podcast. I used to do a radio show for a few years when I lived in Tasmania. Every Sunday for 2 hours I’d be on the airwaves as Rockabilly Rebel on the local radio station. I loved it! Even when I stuffed up. I loved sharing my favourite music, I loved listening to it. A couple of times I even forgot to turn off the microphone and sang along loudly. Ugh.

Anyway, I’ve thought about doing a show on the internet since I moved to Greece, more to stay in touch with the people who listened to my show (and I do enjoy it!). But it all looked so complicated to me. I’d need all this equipment to do a professional job yada yada. I just wanted to have some fun.

Then a friend of mine sent me his experimental show and recommended Anchor as a very easy app to podcast direct from your mobile phone. I did a trial show you can find here, and I’m hooked. Tomorrow between painting and walking I think I’ll work on my next show. A full length one this time…

Stay tuned!

z

paros day 36: cleanliness and art

Today seemed like the perfect day to do some cleaning. Its really hard to keep the place clean and tidy when I craft and make art… pretty much all the time. There are always things in bags and baskets on the floor and on every chair, unfinished projects on the couch, ‘don’t forget’ bits on the coffee table, materials to put away on the kitchen bench, and I haven’t seen the table top for weeks.

Today I decided that since lately all I want to do is paint, I may as well put away the fabric, wool, felt, sewing bits, glue and newspapers till I feel like doing that stuff again.

I picked everything up off the floor, put stuff into plastic containers that hold craft odds and ends, put things in shopping bags and hid them in the closet, took some stuff down to the storage unit – and the table top is still invisible.

I swept about a kilo of sand from the floor and mopped up and found that the tiles are actually lighter than they looked… Ok, joking, but there were plenty of drops of coffee to clean up.

I also rearranged the shelves in the bookcase to make them prettier, plus organised my art and craft stuff again.

Then I sat outside with a frappe and downloaded Anchor to try doing a podcast radio show. There are days I miss the radio show I did on TYGA FM in the Derwent Valley. I really enjoyed doing the Rockabilly Rebel show and maybe I can do something similar now and then via podcast, just for the fun of sharing the music I love to those who enjoy it too. After this I’m going to go play with the app and once I got it worked out I’ll share a link so anyone who likes my kind of music can listen.

Meanwhile, here are some marble pics to enjoy!

I’m even remembering to sign them now before I varnish them!

Hope everyone is well and not going stir crazy with isolation. I’m lucky in that I love doing my own thing in my own space. And Lainee is happy as long as she gets her walks and food!

z

paros day 30: a month so far…

And that’s not counting the start of all this. Its from the day I returned to Paros to begin my ‘isolation’ in my own home. Of course restrictions came into effect in stages, but it was 5 days before I got back home that schools closed. Events were cancelled before that, but I think the closure of schools and unis seems like the real start.

Who knows.

I’ve often questioned this whole thing. Like, is it really that serious? I mean, it spreads fast, people get it, most only feel a flu-like illness and get over it. Few die of it, but people die of the common flu(s) every year. And the internet is full of numbers of how many people have died of anything else so far this year and COVID-19 is way down the bottom of the list. Why is this virus so bad? Its not like the Black Death which killed somewhere between 75-200 million people. It killed 30-60% of the world population. Now THAT’s bad. Real bad.

But of course that was before people knew about personal safety, cleanliness or how things spread. And there was no proper management and no medical care to speak of.

Today we have all that. And we have the internet so we can all stay informed on what to do and what not to do.

So why is this being treated like the new Black Death when it so isn’t?

Well… I found this which I think puts it in a nutshell:

For comparison, seasonal flu has a mortality rate below 0.1 per cent but it infects so many people that it results in about 400,000 deaths a year worldwide. Spanish flu infected an estimated 500m people and killed 50m worldwide in 1918-19. Hypothetically, if Covid-19 affected half the world’s current population over the course of a year with a 1 per cent fatality rate, the death toll would be 35m — substantially increasing the number of deaths worldwide, which is around 60m for all causes in a typical year.

And this:

COVID-19 has a much higher infection rate than the flu. Not to mention this is a totally new virus so no one has any resistance to it. And people can spread it without having any symptoms:

“COVID -19 takes up to 14 days for an infected person to develop symptoms.”

Stating COVID-19 has a higher infection rate (2-3) compared to the seasonal flu (1.3), there’s a dramatic difference in their hospitalisation rates.

The hospitalisation rate for seasonal flu is “around two percent”, whereas for COVID-19 this is “19 percent” – no wonder our NHS is at breaking point.

So… I think that puts it into perspective on why we’ve all been put in isolation and told to adhere to strict social distancing guidelines.

Anyway, now that I’ve totally bummed you out, here are some pretty paintings I did today to make you smile.

First is Tiger, my friend Linda’s cat.

Next a cute bunny looking at you, wondering what on earth you’re doing.

A prawn to chuck on the barbie if you’re an aussie. This one wont stand on its own. It needs a stand or to be used like a paperweight.

And dinner tonight: fish. This is on a bigger piece of marble than most. When you pick up broken pieces you work with what you find.

Actually, its not dinner. Today I made smashed potatoes for lunch so I’m not sure what I’ll have for dinner. Probably that toasted sandwich I considered last night.

Before I go, an update on my Netflix viewing cause I know you all care so much… I’m now watching Ozark on my cousin Zefi’s recommendation. I’m really enjoying it. Similar to Breaking Bad in a way, the guy gets in deeper and deeper, but this time he’s not making the stuff, he’s laundering money. Worth watching.

I also watched Retribution which I recommend. And I’m still watching Outlander every couple of weeks. I like to let a couple of episodes accummulate.

Next on the list will be the latest Casa de Papel (Money Heist). Loved the first two seasons of that show. Lets see if the 3rd is as good.

Today has been spent painting most of the day with 2 breaks for walks with Lainee, reading stuff on the internet, FB-ing, making a couple of calls and listening to country music which I had a hankering for. (Been listening to too much country!)

I think its time to go for another walk. I need to stretch my legs…

z

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paros day 29: heads & tails among other things

You know what its like… you’re walking along, minding your own business when right there in front of you is the most perfect rock with a heart in it!

Ok, so maybe its not exactly like that for everyone, but I found this on my walk yesterday. I actually walked past it and then went back to collect it. I couldn’t leave it.

Once home I gave it a wash then filled the heart with a sea blue colour. The photo doesn’t do it justice, in real life its much bluer with hints of green. I finished it by pouring in some clear nail varnish to seal it.

Today has been a productive day and I still managed to sit in the sun and read for a couple of hours this afternoon. Its gorgeous out there.

Sharing some more of my marble art…

I have been working on a couple of other things and will share them when they’re finished. But right now its time to think about dinner. Do I cook? Do I chop up a salad? Other choices include toasted turkey and cheese, tuna sandwich, or instant noodles…

Big decisions. I mean, now I have to think about what I’m going to eat so much more than I did before when I could grab a souvlaki or some take away on a whim. Now its a whole think ahead of time planning thing. Plus I no longer like to waste food so now I plan meals and make sure I eat my leftovers instead of waiting for the necessary time to pass before throwing them out.

Yesterday I ate the last of my chicken green curry – YUM – that’s something I never tire of eating. Note: buy more coconut milk.

So I’m off to ponder dinner. Or take a walk…

Hope you all have had a good day and enjoy your afternoon.

z

paros day 28: the end is in sight

Apparently the end is in sight. At least that’s what I read in a post my cousin forwarded. Remember, I don’t have actual TV so I don’t get news. I learn what’s going on in the world through people sharing stuff on messenger or Facebook. And my mom who I speak to every day.

I heard that come early May the restrictions in Greece will be lifted in stages. Slowly. We’ve had very strict restrictions here – Things shut down fast when COVID-19 came to Greece only essential services remain open. Now every time you go out you have to text a number or have a statutory declaration on a piece of paper with your name, address and the reason you’re out (there is a choice of 6 reasons you’re allowed out). People not adhering to the restrictions get on the spot fines of 150 euros. You have to have your phone if you texted your reason and ID with you at all times. There haven’t been any riots at supermarkets and hoarding either. Supply continues and you can shop for your food and products like before – except now you rarely find hand sanitizer and when you do, you pay triple for it.

It seems Greece finally did something right.

However, apparently, from the beginning of May and over a period of time from then till the end of September everything starts going back to normal. Or the new normal after the dust settles and we all find out if we still have jobs, if businesses can survive and if airlines still fly.

I remain skeptical. My theory is that its all very well to ‘flatten the curve’ and minimize and control the spread of COVID-19, but once you go back to business as usual, crowds of people and open borders, won’t we all be back at square one?

I don’t get it.

Still, its spring and we’re all starting to feel a bit better. Happens once the cold, rain and strong wind fades into sunny days. You sit outside and you enjoy the warmth of the sun, admire wildflowers on your walks… and generally begin to feel a little healthier again.

What I’m really saying is that I haven’t done an awful lot of artwork the last two days. Yesterday was spent more or less doing my ‘garden’… today I enjoyed a little more sun. All I have to share today is one very fat hamster on a round stone.

He’s very round and very fat. But rather cute despite that.

Other than that, I’ve got some things I found which I’m looking forward to working with. I have a new stash of marble to work on, and a couple of new ideas of things to make. A friend of mine is back to his workshop and said I can use the space and equipment so maybe I can finally make that linen cupboard I’ve been wanting to make for ages.

Its so good to have things to look forward to and be excited about doing.

z

paros day 24: painting on marble

Still cold and windy on Paros. We really don’t like going out when its like this. Lainee has found a little hiding place in the corner of the couch where she sits and watches me work during the day. Sometimes she sinks so far in there I can’t even see her.

So, I’ve been doing more paintings on the marble pieces I had. Experimenting with different mediums and paint thicknesses. The blue eyed kitty is more opaque like a gouache.

The boston terrier is a watercolour image with a decoupage background for something a little different.

This one is as colourful and busy but all in watercolour, a cat sleeping inside a blanket…

I love working with all the different styles, but I think I like the washes best. I usually just let the image dictate how it wants to be painted.

Lastly a mouse, cause we have a build-up of cats around here.

I’m really enjoying working small. I think all those years I worked on huge pieces wasn’t were I was supposed to be. Maybe the doll makeovers were a way to show me how much I like working small and delicate… Most of these marble pieces are under 10cm at their widest… basically smaller than a postcard in most cases.

But a lot heavier!

I’ve been working on a larger piece on paper, mixed media, but I’m not ready to share that yet, if ever. Lets see how it works out before I share.

Before all this isolation/shutdown crap happened I’d received some special brushes in the mail. I ordered them in preparation for my job at the ceramic studio where I need to do very fine work. They’re called rigger brushes for watercolour and they’re basically brushes with very long hair, used to paint long straight lines. I find they’re perfect for doing fine work. They’ll come in very handy once I get back to doing dolls again. Meanwhile they’re ideal for these little portraits and I’m loving them.

I’m loving a lot lately. Most of all I’m loving that I am enjoying painting again after a very long time.

Meanwhile, I finished watching Sons of Anarchy tonight. I’m feeling sad about the ending, but it was the only way it could end. Time to find another addictive show…

Off to do our last walk for the day and then to bed. Tomorrow is another day and it includes a trip to the supermarket cause I wanna make cookies.

z

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paros day 22: painting on marble

Another cold, windy, rainy day.

I discovered that when its windy my new neighbour likes to smoke out the back in his little yard and the smell comes straight into my bedroom. NOT happy about that. Took me ages to get to sleep again, this time due to cigarette smoke. ugh.

Other than that I had an exciting day today. I drove to Aliki to buy bread at the bakery. I also stopped at the nursery to have a look around at all the beautiful plants I won’t be buying.

Back home I’m working painting projects. The way my home is I can really only work at one type of thing at a time. There is only so much room to spread out stuff so I have to limit it to related projects. Right now its painting on anything and everything.

But thats ok. Its better for me to concentrate on one type of creativity at a time cause I get better the more I do.

For instance, this was the first painting on parian marble I did:

Ok… Its ok. But I work with a mix of acrylic paints, watercolour and pencils of different types (watercolour, regular, pastel). And I forgot the cardinal rule… never use water based sealer on waterbased media. sigh. I smeared it a bit. Its not SO bad, but I can see it and I’m not happy. It lost its sharpness. Its a really heavy piece of marble so shipping will be very expensive but I’ll give to anyone who wants it provided you pay shipping costs.

The next ones haven’t been sealed yet but I’m going to use the oil bases spray sealer/varnish.

These were done of slightly thinner pieces of marble.

I absolutely love these. I’m eager to do more. I’m running out of marble pieces though so will soon need to do a run to the place where I get them. I really hope they have pieces now that most places are closed. I know the shade place opposite me (which is normally open all day for like 12 hours or more) has been closed for over a week. They’re obviously not getting any work right now. If its the same with the marble place there won’t be many offcuts.

If I run out I guess I can go back to rocks. They’re free on the beach!

z

my uncle’s portrait

My uncle George, pastel on paper, now hangs on the old fireplace.

A few years ago I promised my uncle George that I’d paint his portrait. I took photos of him sitting on the back porch at Souvlia (his home on Paros, more like a village than a home really) and lost them all when my external hard drive crashed.

This year I found an old photo of him and me taken years ago, and a photo of the house as it was back then. I removed me and the others in the photo and created a portrait.

Closer up

Not too bad considering I hate doing portraits of people. They aren’t as furry as dogs. Or as forgiving if you show their wrinkles.

I think he likes it. He’s at least 40 years younger in the painting… He now wants a portrait of the four brothers, 2 of whom are no longer with us. The Dynasty as he calls it.

Better get my pastels sorted.

(I’ll be sharing photos of Souvlia soon!)

z

the post gets touched up

Remember the post that Wayne and I put in to stop people running into our retaining wall? Here it is after Wayne added his artist touch to it.

post1

Well… it wasn’t really visible, what with the grey post and the light blue paint… so I added a my own touch to it.

post

What do you think? Is anyone going to hit it now?

z

a poodle portrait

I finished a commissioned poodle portrait the other day and realised that I hardly ever share any art on my blog. I mean, I share almost everything else I do, but art… not that often.

So I decided it was time to share a portrait I did a while ago and don’t believe I shared except on Facebook.

This is Andre, a gorgeous standard poodle.

andresmall

And this is my painting of Andre for his loving parents.

alex1sm

Its pastel on paper, which is the medium I prefer to work with.

I just love using my fingers to work the colours, I think that’s why I love it so much. Nothing between me and the pigments. Its not quite the same when using a brush, there’s a stick between me and the work.

Anyway, I’ll share the most recent portrait soon as it arrives at its destination. I don’t want to ruin the surprise.

I’ve also been working on another portrait, something completely different. No hints on that yet… its a secret!

So, what else has been happening? You may have heard about the awful floods around Hobart and the Derwent Valley. We got lucky this time. Unlike so many other times, we only had minor flooding in our creek. No lakeside property for us … yet… this year.

I’m preparing for my upcoming visit to Greece and getting excited. So much to do, so little time!

Why is it that we always feel we have to do everything before we go on a trip? Its not like I’ll be going away forever!

z