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....
So, just to catch up with what's going on in my life at the moment...
Last Thursday, the 16th February, saw the launch of the project "Forgotten Landscapes" curated and organised by Mark Magro assisted by Kristina Quintano. Mark chose four abandoned locations in Malta and asked four artists to work in them. He chose Marika Borg, Mark Mallia, Caroline Said Lawrence and myself. He documented our progress in film and words, producing a book and a feature film from the experiences we shared.
I produced four large (70 x 50cms) pastel works on embossed paper working in the enigmatic dereliction of Fort Cambell, the last fort build by the British at the end of WW2. Its fabulous location overlooking the intense blue of the sea and Malta's wild northern coast made its abandonment feel even more intense.....
The exhibition is at St James' Centre for Creativity in Valletta until 2nd April. The paintings were not for sale at the opening because it was a funded project, but they will now be sold in aid of Dementia Research, a subject close to many of our hearts as so many of our loved ones wander into their own forgotten landscapes. Please contact Kristina for details.
Meanwhile, I'm experimenting with textural surfaces in my work, and encouraging my students at Villa Bologna to do the same on Friday mornings
Today the Painting in the Park classes begin - Sunday afternoons in and around the Majjistral Visitors Centre drawing, painting and generally having a creative time together.
In March I will be running a Crash Course in Drawing Skills - three classes to get you going! They will also be held at the Majjistral Centre on Wednesday mornings from 10am - 12.30pm on the 8th, 15th and 29th March.
I'm also planning to start a life class on Tuesday evenings at the Centre, but more of that another time!
I am looking forward to two painting holidays in May. We are going to Trapani again; I think we only scratched the surface of the endless locations last time!
May also sees the first Malta Art Fair in aid of ALS. I will be taking part by remote control as I will be away in Sicily.
In between all that I will be playing happily in my studio or out in a field somewhere splashing paint around.... and also obsessing about my latest Big Idea which isn't really painting or drawing at all. If it works, I will tell you all about it.
If it doesn't, well ssssssssh !!
Please contact me for more details of classes or paintings
The Veg Box selling genuine organic produce will be open too, plus a new chic little cafe in the grounds.
23 euro for a one-off session, 20 euros if you book for more than one.
Please contact me to book
Saturday Morning Art Club starts this weekend too - on the
27th September at 10 am til 12.30 pm. We will continue to concentrate on good drawing skills, but also work with colour this autumn. I like to mix media and explore new ways of making pictures, so expect some fun!
Classes are held in my studio in ManikataSingle classes are 20 euro or 5 classes (to be taken before December 13th) 85 euro
Again, please contact me to book
I also have a lot of exciting projects in the pipeline - one will be in Sliema and open to children 14 -16, helping them to draw figures in motion. The last class will be at the rehearsals of a Flamenco performance and their pictures will be exhibited in the foyer of the theatre afterwards. More details soon!
I would like to run this course for adults later but I need to find a suitable venue first.
I am planning art classes at a venue in Sliema too, which many people have asked me about. It seems that Manikata is 'too far' for some :-) So I will come to you......
Again, more details coming soon, but please let me know if you are interested, and whether evening or daytime classes are what you are looking for. I will start by running my popular course of basic drawing and watercolour techniques, which helps everyone to start seeing differently and to begin or continue their Art adventure with added confidence and joy. I will add other courses later.
I find that it is always beneficial to work in a group as well as practice on your own. It's always good to see how other people tackle the same or similar subjects. Creativity grows and expands by sharing ideas and inspiration. Always working alone can be stifling and our work may become dull and repetetive.The more candles we light from our own flame the brighter the whole world becomes!
I am really looking forward to cooler weather and to meeting you at my autumn classes.
There is yet another use for your pencil that I haven’t mentioned yet; measuring. That’s the OTHER thing that artists are doing when they hold a pencil out and squint past it. It’s yet another useful and simple skill that makes all the difference to your drawings and also helps to override your left brain.......
Find two identical things – cups perhaps. Put them on a table in front of you with one about 20 cms further away from you than the other. It’s easier if they are directly on your eyeline, so maybe sit down to do this exercise. Hold up your pencil at arm’s length in front of you and close one eye. Hold the top of the pencil so that, in space, it is in line with the top of the nearest cup. Slide your thumb so that it is in line with the bottom of the cup. You now have a measurement of the cup. Move your pencil and compare this with the second cup. It is probably half the size!
This is quite a revelation to your left brain, which knows that the cups are the same size, and will refuse to ‘see’ that one now appears smaller. Unless you prove it wrong, you will tend to draw the cups the same size.
You can either stick to the exact same size, making marks on your paper and joining them dot-to-dot, ( called ‘sight-size’) or you can reduce or increase the first mark you make on your paper and then keep everything to the same ratio. So a cup may be half as wide as its height, no matter how big or small you draw it.
The more you practise measuring the less you actually have to do it; in time you will begin to make accurate calculations, and your left brain will leave you alone to go and do what it does best - writing lists and planning what to have for dinner!
This can get a little tricky, holding things still, squinting and then transferring the angle to your paper without your sneaky left brain jumping in to distort everything, so I give my students a ‘gadget’ to help.....
You hold the longer edge either horizontally or vertically, which corresponds to your paper’s edges, and then move the shorter arm until it matches the angle you want to draw. Hoorah!
This doesn’t look quite as mystical and professional as squinting and waving your pencil around of course, but it works!
After practising with the pencil, viewfinder and the gadget for some time, you will find that you can estimate perspective lines quite accurately and just use these techniques as back up. Perspective is an optical illusion; we really don’t need to go into the mechanical workings of why and how it works. It is much simpler to just draw what we see in front of us, exactly as it appears to be. Don’t process it, don’t ask questions, don’t say ‘well it CAN’T look like that!’ – it does, so draw it!!
I will be Artist in Residence at Villa Bologna for the month of April, plus my First Friday Gallery on the 4th April - and I am also preparing for an exhibition of paintings in Mellieha in May. I’m taking names for the Saturday Morning Drawing Club too, which starts on the 5th April....... phew!
Contact me !
I love to paint - and draw - and help others to discover their creative side too.....
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