Sketching in Crete 2019

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:

IMG_2301

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.

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.

Technical details

Pictures done in sketchbooks:

Using Watercolour box 1:

IMG_4455

Sun print paper was from Cowling and Wilcox on the Kingsland Road. It is called “Sunography”. I printed it on both sides.

 

 

 

 

Sketches in Crete – Sept 2018

I was experimental. I had a large sketchbook with rough pages, given to me for my birthday. I turned over the pages and tried things.

As we drove back from Aptera one evening, the sun was setting and fired up the mist between the hills. Back at the kitchen table, I had a go:

IMG_0226

It was stormy. We had some amazing sunsets.

IMG_0228

I did a lot of quick sketches with some special Koh-i-noor sketching pencils that friends brought me from the Czech Republic:

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.

IMG_0229

On the way to the airport we stopped in Agia Triada. I had 45 minutes to do a sketch. This is pen and ink.

IMG_0231

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.

IMG_0233

Sketching in Crete: May 2018

Aptera was a city in Greek and Roman times. The people went to the Theatre.

IMG_3951
Remains of the Greek and Roman Theatre at Aptera. The Greek period is something like 300 BC. Then the Romans adopted it when they took over 67 – 395AD. The Theatre was a total ruin when we first visited in 2011, with part of it missing and the stones used to make a limekiln. In 2017 the lime kiln was removed and the auditorium circle has been re-created.

From the small slab in the centre, the acoustics are perfect. John gave a rendition of the speech of Richard III “Now is the winter of our discontent….”.  I heard it perfectly, at this distance.

The place where we stayed looks out over the bay.

IMG_3959

Military vessels pass by into the NATO base opposite, including submarines. Some of them go past, and into Souda.

We drove into Souda, to find out where they went. We found only a peaceful fishing harbour.

IMG_3953

The military harbour is hidden.

IMG_3971

I took a new sketchbook on this holiday. It had rough pages which meant I needed to work in a loose style. There were some spectacular sunsets

IMG_3958
Watercolour in sketchbook from the Vintage Paper Company.

We shared the house with a gecko.

IMG_3965

There is a contrast between the peaceful location…..

…and the fearsome weapons of the NATO warships in the bay.

The ruins at Aptera have stood for two thousand years. Civilisations have come and gone in their time.

IMG_3952
Inside the Roman cisterns at Aptera. The city is mentioned in texts of 13th and 14th century BC. These Roman cisterns supplied water to the city. The city was destroyed by earthquake in 365 AD.

These pictures were done on location in various notebooks, using watercolour, pencil and De Atramentis Document ink.

IMG_3954
Agia Traida, view from the entrance, in Stillman and Bern Delta Series watercolour book, using only ink.

 

The Guardian of the Vines

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.

IMG_0076

 

Here is work in progress.

 

IMG_0057

The journey to the chapel of St Antonis

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.

IMG_9978

The card is made from seeds and bits found on the walk.

Here is the construction in progress. Clothes pegs are an important tool.

Agias Triada, small chapel

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:

IMG_0072