Idyllic days for we sketchers in the Dodecanese islands way down near Turkey in the Greek isles. We begin our tour meeting in Rhodes, some already having sketched during their days exploring Athens.
To wake in the morning and breathe that clear air, with the aroma of herbs growing on the hillside, hear the goat bells – and look out at the circular harbour – makes you feel so grateful that this moment can be yours.
To share the beautiful Greek Salads, fresh baked vegetables, fish and tasty dips at lunch and dinner with our sketching companions. To see the fresh catch of sword fish being pushed along the quay in a wheelbarrow and knowing that’s what you’ll be choosing tonight.
The delightful and friendly locals who tilt their heads as we pass. This chattering excited group on our way to yet another unbelievable sketch location.
The girl in the local bakery who made a birthday cake for two of our students. So big we could hardly carry it out of the shop and we already knew it would be delicious and exactly where on our hips it would end up.
To have freshly picked camomile flowers as our first watercolour technique subject.
And a glass of wine when we spread out our work to see what we have achieved so far.
It doesn’t get much better. Plus weather out of the box. Perfect every day.
Meantime, a small group of refugees are here too and I’ll do another article about them. They are the lucky ones but it’s heartbreaking stuff. Young professionals, mothers and small children. Fathers and brothers. All being given food and shelter in the town. Shy and a little smile is all you’ll get when you wish them ‘kalamera’. But they will have a chance to move on.
So far we’ve covered all sorts of local subjects and looking for that Greek Isles influence in all our work. The houses are lovely Italian influence style which all have similar windows, balconies and doorways. So it’s easy to quickly get the character.
The clear water below the quay is such an unbelievable aqua cerulean with touches of sap green and jacaranda. You can see the pike fish, little schools of black fish and turtles. We love peering down and get terribly excited when we see turtles.
The walk around the point past the 400 year old Islamic minaret with the steep rocks below going straight into the turquoise water, is where we sketched and swam.
And above the 4th century BCE tomb of the Lycian King.
The red rock castle built by the Ottomans are in ruins high above, but this is where the military boys do their daily lookout. Turkey is within view. Over there you can see the township. Hear the dogs barking. It’s an easy truce. We have no idea how that feels but to us it’s remarkable to be here and learn the stories.
Our sketching students are a delightful mob. So lovely seeing new people bonding with the regulars. We won’t talk about age but there’s quite a range. Doesn’t matter. Everyone adores sketching now that they’ve learnt the ‘how to see’ bit.
Getting to know each other’s quirks and personalities. Laughing till we can’t hang on! Sketching from morning to dark. Just can’t stop. This is living.
Kastellorizo we will be back. It’s been 14 yrs since my last visit and I’ve been wanting to this return all that time. I’m so delighted I’ve been able to introduce it to our sketchers.
Take a look at a selection of work from the days we’ve been together so far. A personal sketch journey never to be forgotten.
DAY ONE. KASTELLORIZO
DAY TWO. KASTELLORIZO
DAY FOUR. KASTELLORIZO
DAY FIVE. KASTELLORIZO
We’re on the move now to the beautiful island of Symi. Watch this space.