The air in Crete was warm and damp. This affected the paper. See how the ink has spread in this pen and ink sketch at the airport:
This is De Atramentis Black document ink on high quality watercolour paper, Saunders Waterford, in a small book 6″ by 4″ from the Vintage Paper Company.
After that, I used pencil and watercolour only. Here is a view of the Akrotori peninsula. The warship is lurking in the NATO base.
US Navy ship in the NATO base
We lived with insects. At a hand movement, other movements occurred, in the air, on the kitchen surfaces, on the floor. Ants made their way across the breadboard, collecting crumbs or notifying HQ of the location of the honey drip. Beetles arrived suddenly, folded their wings and inspected the floor. I tried drawing them.
Two geckos made their miraculous appearance some evenings and early mornings. They emitted small squeaks.
These are images made on “sun print” paper, using plants, and cut-out paper shapes. The geckos are a species of nocturnal reptile: Hemidactylus turcicus or Mediterranean House Gecko. They are insectivorous, eating, amongst other things, moths. I wondered if they would like to live in the Barbican ducts. It must be quite warm in there, and they would be entirely welcome to devour the moths.
They stick to the walls not with suckers but with hairs on their feet. The feet of geckos are subject of intense scientific interest, I read, since these hairs are so configured that they get close to the wall on an atomic scale (10 nanometers or so). At this distance the molecules of the feet attract, rather than repel, the molecules of the wall. There is a whole compendium of physics effects which make this possible: quantum mechanical, electrostatic, surface tension. There could be an entire undergraduate course on the feet of the Gecko.
Outdoors there is landscape…
…and a garden.
I am learning to draw clouds. There were a lot of them.
I am learning to draw quickly. Here are some very quick sketches from cafés.
The grass was cut around the lower buildings in ancient Aptera, revealing arches.
Arches make poetry in the Agia Triada monastery: a pre-departure pause….
…before the airport.
Pictures done in sketchbooks:
Small watercolour sketchbook from the Vintage Paper Company.
We walked up the Diktamos gorge. It is deep and leafy. Here is an impression drawn that evening, trying to show you the dark depths of the gorge, the high rocky walls, and the leaves. John is shown, sitting on a stone, bottom centre left.
On the way to the airport we stopped in Agia Triada. I had 45 minutes to do a sketch. This is pen and ink.
It’s a three hour flight. One has to do something. I revisited the Diktamos gorge in pen and ink. The game was to use as few lines as possible, by not taking the pen off the paper. This is 3 lines.
Another collage postcard. I posted this one in London 18th May.
It looks a bit crinkled because the cardboard was damp with PVA glue, and then dried. The white shape on the bottom right is a flake of white paint I found on the ground. It must have been polyurethane paint, because it was flexible and easy to cut. I left the edge ragged, as found. Top left is a map of Crete from the packet of olives. The fence is made of palm leaf. The leaves didn’t want to go flat.
Here is a collage made for friends in Switzerland.
I posted it at the Post Office in Kalami on 8th May. The official there did not seem to be concentrating very hard. He looked dubiously at the word “Switzerland” on the address. I think I need to find out what “Switzerland” is in Greek.
The card is made from seeds and bits found on the walk.
Here is the construction in progress. Clothes pegs are an important tool.
We visited the monastery again, before going to the airport. Two large coaches were in the car park.
As I drew the chapel, fragments of dialogue in French and German floated by. A French-speaker was relieved at last to have a call from Yves. He described in detail where the car was, naming the Greek village. He must insist it be ready by Thursday.
A woman with a German American accent told me my drawing was beautiful. I told her I was glad she liked it.
By and large people were respectful and did not stand in front of me while I sketched. But, according to John, a guy with a big heavy camera photographed the drawing, over my shoulder, without my knowing.
After an hour and a half John came to alert me that we should leave in 5 minutes.
Pen and ink. 1 hour 40.
Here’s what it looked like before adding the tones: