OPA! Celebrating Our Greek Heritage

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I was recently asked to create some Greek landscapes depicting Santorini, Greece for our church, Saint Anna’s annual Greek festival. In three days I produced four simple paintings.
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I first looked on the internet for ideas. I wanted a simple blue and white color scheme with a strong black outline to make the images pop. I purchased canvas drop cloths so they could be easily stored for future festivals. I tacked the large canvases on the wall of the back of my house with a plastic drop cloth underneath to prevent paint from leaking through. I began with pencil sketches.
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I used basic white craft paint for all the white areas and a Santorini blue latex I still had from last year. I quickly moved on to blue spray paint for the sky and water and grey spray paint for the stone walkways. I had to move fast because it was the end of summer and my kids hadn’t begun school yet and my husband was away at a conference. It was a busy time carpooling kids to the pool and arranging playdates.
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I outlined everything with a black sharpie pen.
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I added some fuscia and green to give dimension.
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We wanted to hang them in a way that wouldn’t damage the walls so we put a strip of duct tape on the back and then applied 3M adhesive strips to that.
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They were different sizes to accommodate the space.
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We hung the canvases in our church’s hall foyer where visitors entered the festival. I think they were a beautiful addition to the Greek panels I made last year.
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I hope you enjoyed seeing my simple Greek Santorini landscapes. Our festival was a hit, and it was fun to celebrate our family’s and our church’s Greek heritage!

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Remembering Athens…

As summer begins, the warm weather makes me think of my travels to Athens, Greece.

Street in Athens facing Hadrian's Arch

Street in Athens facing Hadrian’s Arch

Architecture of Athens

Architecture of Athens

In spite of the hustle and bustle of tourists, wild dogs and native Athenians, the beauty of ancient Greece shines through.

Hadrian's Arch

Hadrian’s Arch

The Plaka is an open air market at the foot of the Acropolis near the ancient market area of Athens, the Agora. If you know how to haggle over prices, you can find great souvenirs without spending too much.

The Plaka (open air market)

The Plaka (open air market)

After a day spent souvenir hunting you can relax at one of the Plaka’s restaurants for a good Greek meal.

Outside restaurant near The Plaka

Outside restaurant near The Plaka

Antique/junk store at the Plaka

Antique/junk store at the Plaka

The steps are ancient and the slope is steep but the long walk up to the Parthenon offers this view (below) as an award.

The Parthenon

The Parthenon

The Pediment of the Parthenon

The Pediment of the Parthenon

Notice (below) that the columns of the Parthenon are not a single solid piece but several drums placed on top of one another and originally covered with a veneer to give the illusion of it being a single piece.

Ionic column of The Parthenon

Ionic column of The Parthenon

The Acropolis (high city) is best known as the home of the Parthenon, but it also contains the beautiful temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion, and the famous Propylaia (the front gate), the complex of columns and rooms at the entry to the Acropolis.

The Erechtheion with the porch of the Caryatids

The Erechtheion with the porch of the Caryatids

At the foot of the Acropolis lies the Theatre of Herodes Atticus (below) and the Theatre of Dionysus, where the famous plays of Aeschylus, Euripides and Sophocles were first performed.

The Theatre of Herodes Atticus

The Theatre of Herodes Atticus

The area around the theatre of Dionysus

The area around the theatre of Dionysus

The Acropolis is just as beautiful at night as it is during the day.

The Acropolis at night

The Acropolis at night

This wonderful restaurant (below) on the very edge of the Roman era forum in Athens had food to match the glorious setting.

The Roman Forum

The Roman Forum

Even when the sun goes down the beauty of ancient Athens shines.

Eating dinner at dusk in the shadow of the Acropolis.

Eating dinner at dusk in the shadow of the Acropolis.

OPA! Greek Festival Decor

My church’s Greek Festival is rapidly approaching. To make things a little more festive, I volunteered to create some unique decorations.

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With the approval of the Festival’s chairperson and committee, I decided to make 4 ft. x 8 ft. panels from plywood. My daughter and I began by painting them all white with a primer/sealer.

After researching Greek scenes and clipart online, I sketched out four different scenarios on paper, which included churches, a windmill, a tavern and monuments in Athens. With pencil, I lightly repeated the sketches on the painted plywood. Then using a royal blue paint, I outlined the images.

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I decided to keep the images simple using a blue and white theme with a little bit of other colors added. The blue and white is reminiscent of Santorini.

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I had to overcome a few obstacles to get these panels done. Because our basement is being renovated, I couldn’t paint in my old spacious studio/office/basement without having to combat flies and bugs and wind. I had to work in our driveway in between bad weather, contractors asking me questions, and kids coming home from school. I also wanted to get these done quickly because my calendar was filling up with end-of-the-school year kids’ activities/commitments. I completed this project in 4 days. Needless to say, I spent the 5th day recuperating!

Opa! Greek Festival Art Panels.

Opa! Greek Festival Art Panels.

I let my kids help with some of the easier images. My daughter Julia painted the green trees in the Athens monument panel and my son, Constantine filled in the cobblestones. My 12 year old son Nicholas wasn’t really into helping.

Greek Taverna

Greek Taverna

 

Monuments of Athens

Monuments of Athens

Greek Windmill

Greek Windmill

Santorini churches

Santorini churches

I hope you like my Opa! Greek Festival Décor. I think they added a little bit of a Greek atmosphere to the festival (below).

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www.nj.com/hunterdon-county-democrat

www.nj.com/hunterdon-county-democrat

 

A Little Bit of Heaven in a Frigid World – Patmos Aktis

The Frigid temperatures of winter are upon us here in Princeton, NJ. As I look out my window at the snow covered landscape, I am reminiscent of the warm summer days at the exquisite Patmos Aktis Suites & Spa. It is a 5-star luxury hotel situated on Grikos Beach on the the island of Patmos … and my husband and I were lucky enough to go there.

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The amenities include private townhouse pools, indoor and outdoor emerald-colored pools and a pristine outstretched beach along Grikos Bay.

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The all-white exterior and interior exude a sleek, modern atmosphere while blending perfectly with the traditional architecture of Patmos.

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Natural hues reflect the surrounding sandy landscape.beach1warm

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Rustic touches combined with luxurious elements make for a relaxing atmosphere. cafetableswarm

Views of the outstretched beach and indigo bay are enjoyed from every angle.

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The monochromatic colors and simple design elements exude luxury and comfort.

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The breathtaking views of Grikos Bay penetrate the interior of the hotel through large paned glass windows and doors.

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The minimalist interiors and rustic style of this Greek getaway have inspired me to recreate it in my own home. The white textured walls and Mediterranean blues of the ocean create a relaxing and down to earth atmosphere. I’m excited to embark on my own Greek inspired master bathroom makeover. Stay tuned! Opa!

The Beauty of Patmos

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I recently visited the beautiful island of Patmos, Greece. I was in awe of the breathtaking splendor of its magnificent charm. Patmos is a small island on the Aegean Sea and is one of a cluster of ten islands (Dodecanese) southeast of mainland Greece.

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The island’s main attraction is the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian and the cave where John the Evangelist was inspired and wrote the Book of Revelations. Hence, it is an island of Orthodox faith and devotion.

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On a long walk along Patmos’ jagged coastline I discovered bits and pieces of paradise.

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The island is enveloped in quaint picturesque architecture that is typical of the Greek style.

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Blues and whites along with a natural earthly hue dominate the landscape. The colors depicted on walls, windows and canopies contrast exquisitely with the blossoming clusters of flowers, the Aegean sea and the ultramarine sky.

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The simple yet exquisite island landscape emulates perfectly the ethos of the Greek culture. Say a simple “para kalo” (please) or “efcharisto” (thank you) and you’re invited into a relationship and have made a friend for life.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my modest depiction of the beauty of Patmos. For more information, I would recommend visiting http://www.patmos-island.com/