Come join me on the enchanting Greek island of Milos this spring and paint some of the most stunning scenery in the world!
It is also the island where the famous Venus de Milo was discovered; this article will whet your appetite and your imagination!
The painting adventure on Milos will take our senses by storm on the 7th - 14th May.
The coves, caves and colours are unique - I can't wait!!
Our hosts will be the team from Salinara Sicily, well experienced in running painting holidays in Sicily and Greece. They will organise our accommodation, breakfasts and dinners. Anyone who has been to their Salinara retreats knows the love and care they lavish on their food! We will make our own choices for lunch from the wealth of cafes and restaurants on location.
They will also provide transport to and from Milos airport and to our daily outings and be on hand for any requirements we may have.
We leave - sadly, I'm sure - in the morning of the 14th and fly back to Athens.
Flights are not included in the painting holiday price (see the brochure below)
Overnight stays in Athens are also not included.
From Malta, we will fly to Athens on Aegean Airways on the 5th May, stay for two nights in local BnB's.
Here are some recommendations I have gathered....
The Art Gallery Hotel* Hotel Phidias** ApolloHotel***
For more choices, go to www.booking.com or www.tripadvisor.com and type in "Athens" - you'll find a whole range of hotels.
In Athens itself we can meet up on Sunday 6th for some sightseeing and sketching
On the morning of the 7th we fly down to Milos from Athens. There are two airlines for this, both with similar times and prices
Sky Express and Olympic Air
Returning to Athens in the morning of the 14th, we will have another day and night in Athens before flying back to Malta on the 15th.
Another option would be to extend your holiday to two weeks and fly with RyanAir, who only fly to Athens on Saturdays.
Every day of the glorious week in Milos we will explore this fabulous gem in the Aegean Sea, painting in the mornings and relaxing, sightseeing or sketching in the afternoons.
As any of my students will testify, my classes are relaxed and fun but packed with information and practical advice geared to the scene and the students' abilities. I like to 'play it by ear' rather than impose a set itinerary. I want to help everyone feel that they have learnt some practical skills and captured the scene in their own way. I also like to encourage new ways of working, using found objects and unusual ways of making marks.
On this holiday I intend to emphasise composition and interesting ways of seeing reality differently. We are artists, after all!!
All levels of expertise are very welcome
I will be sending a list of recommended materials when you book, but your personal favourites are always good to work with.
The price of the painting holiday does NOT include your flights Athens - Milos, or overnight accommodation in Athens 5th,6th and 14th May
For more details of the painting holiday please see the brochure below
Do contact me about the painting aspects.....
Bookings for the Milos holiday through Salinara Sicily
Brochure link -
In May I organised two painting trips to Trapani in Sicily for my students. We really did a lot of work between us, and had a good time exploring some interesting sites ..... as well as feasting on fresh fish and local wines!
The cave has been inhabited since Palaeolithic times and in the 1800’s was turned into a small village by the Mangiapani family. Four family units lived there for 150 years until after the Second World War, when most of the inhabitants emigrated.
The Di Rosario family continued to live there, using it as a large stable and store.
In 1982, destroyed by the animals and quite derelict,a group of young people from Custonaci decided to restore the place and hold an annual Live Crib in the cave. It took years to restore the abandoned buildings and surrounding areas. They sourced examples of traditional tools and wares, and it is now a kind of living museum, with animals in the pens and the rooms displaying various crafts such as the making of barrels, clothes, puppets, carts, and food.
The photos above were all (brilliantly) taken by Melanie Geraghty
It was all very well done and we had a great time exploring before we settled down to paint.
It’s a challenge to draw such a massive cliff and keep the sense of scale and perspective –
I’m not sure how well I managed but it was fun trying.
My visit with the second group was on a Sunday and we were overrun by about 50 motorbikers obviously on a Tour, and we were all entertained by a group of traditional singers in local costume..... they did kind of disrupt our painting, but they offered to share their wine with us, so we forgave them !!
I couldn't help thinking that Malta has so many locations that could take this idea and restore interesting but currently derelict areas.
Close to where I live, the old village of Manikata "Razzett tal-Qasam" has been very well restored and preserved by the local farmers (see Koperattiva Rurali Manikata ) but there are many once-inhabited caves in the area that could be used in a similar way to the Sicilian one - even a Living Crib! Just an idea....
Last weekend though, I was further north, in Italy itself. Led by our intrepid Leader Andrew Smith, seven of us represented Malta at the Fabriano Watercolour Convention. Fabriano is the home of the famous watercolour paper loved the world over. The mills have now moved out of the town, but we toured the old paper mill and museum. Some of us even had a go at making hand-made paper!
We stayed in a nearby hilltop village called Collamato which means 'love of the hills'.
The Andrews Smith and Borg, Anna Galea, Sarah Calleja, Diane Agius, Joe Casapinta and I did our best to show Malta at its best. Anna gave a demo in front of hundreds of people (I wasn’t brave enough!) we danced to a brilliant ethnic band at the final party, painted in the streets with the rest of them, ate as much pasta and drank as much wine as we could. Malta should be proud of us. This was all self financed, I have to say. We deserve to be supported next time.
On the way back to the airport we stopped off at Gubbio and Assisi – both beautiful and full of delights.
The seven of us are plotting more adventures together including an exhibition of the works we created, so watch this space!
I wonder where I will be going next?
Meanwhile, my Tuesday morning classes are moving from Le Meridien in Balluta Bay to Palazzo de Piro in Mdina from the 3rd May. I am looking forward to helping students tackle those great open views from the upper terraces!
My classes still continue at Villa Bologna on Friday mornings. This Wednesday 4th May we will be opening our first Spring Exhibition of works there. My students and I are hanging two works each. It will be open to the public from 5th May to 2nd June, so do drop in if you are in the area.
There’s only one you, only one me. You can’t really copy me, and I can’t copy you either, but together we can move forward by inspiring and supporting each other. We can’t really be in competition with each other if we are both following our hearts. That goes against most business models of course, but creativity can’t be contained or restricted, otherwise it withers and dies.
Copied ideas don’t have the original inspiration or fire behind them, and although art forgers can make big bucks, most people make art because it gives them pleasure and a sense of personal achievement. Essentially we are all unique even if we ‘borrow’ every now and then. When you translate someone else’s idea through your own talents and processes, it becomes your own. That’s different to copying.
For this reason I am happy to share everything I have ever learnt or discovered. All the years that I have spent teaching and encouraging others to discover the joys of drawing have probably helped me as much as my students. Trying to describe the process of drawing in words has clarified and distilled it for me. It has also shown me the simplest ways to teach drawing to anyone who wants to learn.
Perhaps it’s too easy. There are endless books, YouTube films, DVD’s and online courses about art; some are really helpful, others not at all. The temptation is to read or watch the demonstrations and step-by-steps and not actually DO them. There’s no-one there to guide us by saying ‘just look again at that shape, that curve, that form’.
We try to be our own tutor and our own student too, and it can be hard inspiring ourselves and keeping ourselves going. It's difficult to even notice your own mistakes and shortcomings, let alone what to DO about them! Bit like life, really......
I will be forever grateful for my own college tutors and for every artist I have had the pleasure of working with. I think it’s always a good idea to join a group and/or take classes or workshops to keep you inspired and moving forward. There's nothing wrong at all with being 'self taught', but we all learn and grow by looking at other artist's work that we admire, and learning from their experience and knowledge.
Creativity and inspiration are like lighting candles – once you have lit your own you can spread the light far and wide by lighting others. If you keep it to yourself you’ll have no-one to relight your flame if you lose your way!
Here's to a CREATIVE 2015!
In much the same way, small children make marks to represent what they see around them. They start with scribbles and random dots, but as they gain control of their hands, the marks become recognisable as people, animals and other objects. They are also happy to copy things that other people draw for them, which is why Maltese children usually draw houses with pointed rooves!
Learning to draw is similar to learning to speak in that it is a perfectly natural thing to do, but for some reason we don't think it should be a slow process of making mistakes and learning through practice. We seem to have an unrealistic expectation of being able to learn a few basic techniques and then turn out masterpieces for everyone to admire.
If you go to a singing teacher he will give you breathing exercises first, not a song. No one would expect you to sing those exercises before an audience.
Do yourself a favour - don’t expect to turn out ‘proper’ drawings when you are doing exercises. They are designed to help you learn to SEE and are steps to being able to draw well. Your progress will show in how differently you start to see things around you, not necessarily in the drawings themselves.......
Never be afraid to make mistakes; they will teach you much more than anything else.
“The sooner you make the first five thousand mistakes, the sooner you will be able to correct them” Kimon Nicolaides 'The Natural Way to Draw'
It all depends on you, and how much you are prepared to invest in practice.
I love to paint - and draw - and help others to discover their creative side too.....
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