My Inktober 2019

Being busy and, on some days, totally uninspired, my output for Inktober this year contained a lot of gap days and turned out to be a mishmash of different styles. I admire people who either followed all the prompts in a uniform way, thus creating a series, or didn’t but still kept to a personal theme (see my last post). However, nothing about this challenge is an obligation, and I still managed to have fun and experiment a little along the way. See below.

One interior, done in red ink:

 

 

A little urban sketching, looking out of a London hotel window:

 

 

Some kiddy stuff:

 

 

 

Autumn inspiration, my annual drawing of oak leaves. I added watercolor:

 

 

On the same theme, but trying out some new inks:

 

 

Playing about with ink on Yupo paper, which is shiny and and slippery, making things uncontrollable:

 

 

And, because I find being silly is good for the soul, I sprinkled in some limericks along the way:

 

 

There was a young woman from York

Who sat down to tea with a stork.

When he started to eat

With his very long beak

She said, Could you please use your fork!

 

Sometimes I did follow the prompts.

 

Day 28 prompt – RIDE:

A beautiful girl in an open car

Was sure she was going to be a star

A crusty old geezer

Who wanted to please her

Had told her he knew she was going far

 

Day 25 prompt – TASTY:

Let them eat cake!’ The Queen cries

‘It is tasty and wholesome besides.’

But the folk in the street

Have nothing to eat

So they riot for sausage and fries.

 

Day 12 prompt – DRAGON

 

Day 27 prompt – COAT:

 

 

Day 6 prompt – HUSKY:

 


Well, that’s all, folks! On to the next project.

 

Magical Leonardo

During my London trip I managed to get a slot to see the Da Vinci drawings in the Queen’s Gallery.

Marking the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, this exhibition showed more than 200 of the Renaissance master’s greatest drawings in the Royal Collection. There was but one word to describe them: they were magical.

 

 

 

Loving works on paper as I do, I literally did not know where to look first: there were the most delicate flowers and plants, drawn with the precision of a botanist, yet filled with life in a unique way. It was a known fact that if Leonardo had to put a few flowers in the corner of a painting, he made dozens of studies before deciding which to use. Look at those acorns below, they seem to glow on the page.

 

 

 

Then there were maps which must have made the adventure-loving amongst his peers long to go off and explore.

 

 

The drawings in the Royal Collection used to be bound up in a book that was acquired by Charles II. The pages have now been separated so that the drawings can be shown in their full beauty. They provide an extraordinary insight into the workings of Leonardo’s mind and reflect the full range of his interests, including painting, sculpture, architecture, anatomy, engineering, cartography, geology and botany.

See below his scheme on how to breach a fortress’s walls.

 

Continue reading

Farewell to Sophia Kokosalaki

Greece and the international fashion world are mourning the death from cancer of hugely respected designer Sophia Kokosalaki. She was 46.

 

 

Sophia was born in Athens in 1972 and, after studying at the University of Athens, she moved to London to enroll in the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design.
She eventually evolved into a widely admired designer who drew on her Greek roots in producing classical silhouettes and artful drapery, which won various awards during her career.

 

 

Sophia was designated chief clothing designer for the summer Olympic Games in Athens in 2004, where she dressed thousands of athletes and performers for the opening and closing ceremonies, honoring Greek myth, history and culture before a global audience. Most spectacular was singer Björk’s “Ocean Dress” with its frothy and swirling pale azure plissé pleats.

 

 

She worked as creative director for various fashion houses, including Vionet and the Diesel Black Gold label, but was mostly known for her own label. She also designed the cabin crew uniforms for Aegean Airlines, as well as fine jewelry and a bridal collection.

She is survived by her partner and daughter.

 

Björk photo from The Independent. All other photos Google.

Inktober 2019


Two years ago I wrote about Inktober, an Instagram challenge where people have to post a daily ink drawing. There is a list of daily prompts, which are in no way obligatory, and any ink medium goes: fountain pen, biro, brush, micro liner, dip pen. You can add watercolor, collage or anything else. There are no rules and no prizes – it’s a fun thing.

I have never yet managed to post something on all the days, and I’m only intermittently inspired by the prompts, but I always determine to take part, because I enjoy the whole camaraderie going on. It pushes me to experiment, and I always feel I’ll do better next year. At the end of the month I’ll share some of my masterpieces with you, but meanwhile, I would like to present some exceptional artists and illustrators, who mostly follow the prompts with humor and imagination. I’ve noted the particular prompt for each drawing.
So, without further delay, here are:
The incomparable Nina and her stripey men. Prompt: Enchanted.
Simon Curd whose small monsters come with a little poem each day. Prompt:Swing
Kate Richardson with more monsters, happy ones. Prompt: Swing
Monica Rathke at Whosebirthdayisit. Prompt: Husky
David Bülow at bulow_ink with his architectural perspectives. Prompt: Bait
And for something a little more gothic, Aleks Klepnev. No prompt. 

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Click on the URLs if you want to see more of each – definitely worth it, and a fun way to pass the time on a Sunday afternoon. There are many others to be found, some follow prompts and some not, but it’s always fascinating to see the different reactions people have to the same prompt.

More Gormley

The British sculptor Anthony Gormley seems to be everywhere these days. Sadly, I never managed to get to Delos to see his fantastic installation (for those who missed my post on this, you can find it here), because Delos is not easy to access. However, I took the opportunity to see his lovely exhibition at the Royal Academy  in London.

 

 

There were many of his ubiquitous depictions of the human body in various forms:

 

 

Some upside down

 

 

Walking on the ceiling.

 

 

But also some large and impressive installations:

 

Visitors were invited to walk through this one.

The one below looked like an alien vessel – an impressive 6 tons of steel rods suspended from the ceiling, dwarfing the people  beneath.

 

 

 

You could also walk through this next one, via the rectangular opening leading into a narrow steel tunnel, in almost total darkness – if you weren’t claustrophobic, that is.

 

 

But I mostly loved its architectural shapes, framed by the arched doorway.

 

 

 

Another installation featured a room flooded with Atlantic seawater on a bed of clay from Buckinghamshire. In general, the installations were  site-specific, fitting beautifully into the shape of each room.

 

 

Wall art included the work below, made with clay on a blanket, which had a fleeting, haunting aura.

 

 

The one below was not one of my favorites, but intriguing nonetheless, since it was made out of slices of bread dipped in wax:

 

 

 

Finally, for someone like me who loves works on paper, there was an abundance of treasures on offer, including a multitude of small spiral notebooks where Gormley recorded his ideas (these proved impossible to photograph, since they were presented in glass cases).

 

 

 

These drawings were made with charcoal and casein.

 

 

Deceptively simple,

 

 

But very evocative.

 

 

And there was a whole, luminous series made with earth mixed with linseed oil.

 

 

I came away most inspired.

 

 

Highly recommended, if you’re anywhere nearby.

 

Revisiting a sunken village

Forty years ago, the inhabitants of Kallio, a stone-built village in Fokis, saw their houses slowly disappear underwater. In 1981, a dam was built in the Mornos River in order to create an artificial lake that would supply Athens with drinking water. The villagers were given no choice: their village was expropriated, and they could only watch silently while the river water flooded their gardens, while the church sank, while the last chimney vanished. The were forced to relocate elsewhere; but they didn’t forget.

Now 27 year old Athenian visual artist Sotiris Tsiganos and his colleague Jonian Bisai have made a short film, NEROMANNA, in memory of the drowned village and the dispersal of its community. They filmed the ghost village underwater, and collected testimonies from its former inhabitants, whom they managed to locate by scouring Greece. “Our village was beautiful”, says an elderly lady, speaking in old fashioned Greek. “It had springs, cold clear waters. We couldn’t believe it when they told us we had to leave. We took the icons from the church, we had to pack everything up and go. We lost our homes.” They also lost each other, as neighbors and friends dispersed to different places.
A lot of the antiquities found locally were also dispersed, some to the museum in Lidoriki, some remaining at the bottom of the lake.
Since that day, this lake has been the main source of water of the Greek capital.

 

 

In 1993, a drought shrank the waters of the artificial lake, and part of the ruins emerged. Some of the villagers, who had gathered to see this sight, compared the occasion to a memorial service. It just made everyone sad. “Better not to have seen,” mused one old man. Then the houses sank back under the waters, and only memories remained.

 

 

 

The film was shown at the Athens Biennale 2017, as part of the whole project, Latent Community, whose aim was to present the history of Kallio and to briefly reconstitute its lost community. The filmmakers invited the villagers to a feast, so that they could meet up and tell their stories, thus creating an environment of narratives based on the community’s experiences. A public archive of documents and records, much of which had been provided by the village residents themselves, was also presented.

The two artists described their visual arts research project as having been very emotional, because while doing it they realized that the sacrifice made by these people had never been properly acknowledged. They had become refugees, they had lost their community, and some who could not adapt to the new situation had died. Some of the inhabitants still believe that when they die, they will all go back there to be together again.

The hauntingly beautiful photo below is by photographer danos kounenis (Trek Earth)

I first came upon this story in an article in the newspaper  Kathimerini

And here is the link to the film NEROMANNA / http://vimeo.com/latentcommunityproject

Athens Anniversary

Exactly 185 years ago today, Athens was proclaimed the capital of Greece. I found this very interesting article by Greek journalist Philip Chrysopoulos in the GREEK REPORTER. As it was possible to reblog onto Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, but not to WP, I copied it verbatim, including the photos.

 

September 18, 1834: Athens Becomes the Capital of Greece
By Philip Chrysopoulos -Sep 18, 2018

 

When Athens was officially declared the capital of the newly established Greek State on September 18, 1834, it was a small village of 7,000 residents living around the Acropolis Hill.

Following the assassination of Governor Ioannis Kapodistrias in the Peloponnesian city in 1831, Greece’s first politicians had to decide where the new government and first parliament would be established. At the time, Athens was an area of ancient, Byzantine and medieval ruins with makeshift houses around them, all around the Acropolis Hill.

The decision was far from easy. Personalities of the time, politicians, as well as architects and city planners took part in the debate, trying to influence developments and the final decision. The cities proposed were, among others, Corinth, Megara, Piraeus, Argos, as well as Nafplio again.

Eventually, Athens won the race and in September 18, 1834 it was officially proclaimed “Royal Seat and Capital”. The main reason was the city’s glorious history as the cradle of Hellenic Civilization. According to historians King of Bavaria Ludwig I was influential to the decision as he was a great admirer of ancient Greece.

Athens circa 1890

However, the city was not prepared to carry the weight of the capital of the new state. It was more of a town than a city, with 7,000 residents and 170 regular houses, as the remaining Athenians were living in huts. Furthermore, the battles that took place in Athens had left many ruins. By comparison, at the time, the population of Patras amounted to 15,000 thousand, while Thessaloniki had 60,000.

Athens stretched around the Acropolis (from Psiri to Makrygianni), having as its center the area of ​​Plaka (the Old Town). One of the major problems of the new capital was the lack of a water supply system, as well as the absence of public lighting and transport, while there was a complete lack of social services.

Greece’s first king, Otto of Bavaria, commissioned the reconstruction of the devastated city to Greek architect Stamatis Kleanthis and the Bavarian Leo von Klenze with a strict order not to damage the archaeological sites. For the protection of antiquities, Otto issued a decree prohibiting the construction of limestone at a distance of 2,500 meters from ancient Greek ruins, so that antiquities could not be damaged.

Within four years, about 1,000 houses were built in Athens, many of them makeshift, with no architectural or street plan. Otto banned quarrying in the hills of Nymphs, Achanthos (Strefi), Philopappou and Lycabettus and issued decrees with the strict order to immediately demolish every house built near archaeological sites and everything built on the outskirts of the Acropolis Hill.

The strict measures regarding building houses made Otto lose his popularity with the poor masses, but he insisted on issuing other decrees.

In the years to come, Athens became the pole of attraction for Greeks, who arrived in the capital from all parts of the country. In 1896, Greece hosted the first modern Olympic Games. By that time, the picture of the capital was radically changed. It had expanded and now was a city of 140,000 residents with great buildings and important archeological sites, and the commercial and cultural intellectual center of the country. A true capital.