It has taken a couple of weeks to get this post online. Sorry for the delay.
Our trip to Santorini was absolutely gorgeous! Low of 70º; high of 73º; bright sunshine and a soft breeze. The painting was divine. Toscana Americana Workshops (TAW) hosted my workshop in oil, David Wells' workshop on photography, and Sandy Delehanty's watercolor workshop all the same week. Needless to say there was a lot of creativity shared between the groups.
As is always the case, Patrick and Angela from TAW hosted everyone to the max. Our hotel was wonderful, and the pool made a nice place for final critiques. My students are always amazed when they find they can order anything they want off of the menu at each meal. We dined on fresh lobster from the Aegean Sea, Greek yogurt dips, fish roe, fresh lamb, pork gyros, and yummy desserts. The best Greek wines and liqueurs started our lunches and ended our dinners. Thank you Patrick and Angela for your generosity.
Now, to the really important stuff . . . the class. I had 8 student painters and a couple of non-participating painters. (Yes, you can come as a non-participant and paint on your own for a lesser fee.) As an instructor, I don't usually get to paint as much as everyone else. It is important to me that the students get my attention during "their time." This means that I usually try to paint very early in the morning or later in the afternoon. As you know, that is the best light anyway.
I went out to paint an early sunrise and get super inspired for the day. After Greek coffee in the dark, I geared up and headed to a spot I had scoped out the previous day. While I invited others to come along, most were still sleeping away. My friend Toni came and she and I had peace and quiet in the early hours. At 7:30 the church bells rang, then at 9:00 the official class began.
Everyone was overwhelmed by the beautiful scenery, so we spent the first day learning to "crop in close" and chose simple subjects. That is often hard to do when there are so many things screaming, "paint me." Everyone had great success blocking in simple shapes of architecture, and it allowed me to have an opportunity to gauge each student's personal level of development. Image one is my demo from the day.
Day two we traveled to Imerovigli to focus on atmospheric perspective, and to paint the caldera and the white buildings that tumble down the cliffs to the sea. Image two is my demo from there.
We spent day three painting Oia. Paintings ranged from lazy dogs to blue domes, from flowering shrubs to unique architecture. The sunset was magnificent, but by then everyone was way too exhausted to even think about painting. We enjoyed rooftop cocktails and discussion instead.
By day four, everyone was feeling the effects of the long flight, early mornings, and late nights. We took a caldera cruise, heard the history of the volcano and islands, swam in the Aegean, and took a dip in the hot springs. While I encouraged students to make thumbnail sketches that day, most took the opportunity to relax a bit and take photos.
After another sunrise paint with Toni, we started day five of the class with group critique. The work was amazing. Everyone was really doing well. Then students had a choice of touring the island with camera and sketch book, or traveling to Akrotiri to paint. Angela went with the touring group; Patrick came with those of us who chose to paint. We stayed up in the town proper, rather than going down to the beach, and painted old structures, ancient ruins, churches, and hillsides. Glorious . . . just glorious.
Our sixth day of painting was back in Fira in front of the Orthodox basilica. Tour ships come in down below, and people come up the stairs and through the wide street here. This afforded some demonstration time for painting crowds of people. Despite a small altercation with a local sponge seller (what happens in Santorini . . .) the demo went well and painters broke off on their own to paint their final pieces for the workshop.
The exhibit, "It's All Greek" is now hanging, my tan is fading, and I'm moving on. Cannot wait to get to St. Lucia in January!