May 19, 2014

Rain By Any Other Name. . .

By now I'm on a first-name basis with the friends who are painting the wall at the high school.  Today, as it was quite cloudy, I put on my painting clothes and went down to help.  It's a community project, so anyone is invited to participate.  I was assigned a spot and I studiously painted my section while I chatted with two others who were also engaged in their own areas.  So many people speak English here.  Others shouted encouragement out their car windows as they sped by.

The design of the mural is by Olympias Kelaidi, (find her on Youtube well worth viewing, see links below) the art teacher for the grade and high school, who had painted Icons in the Greek Orthodox style in order to earn a living in art until she developed a hump in her back from being bent over a table for twenty years.  She gave it up and became an art teacher first in Lesbos and then in Serifos.  She was born in Athens and then in her early years, she went to Brussels to study Mexican style mural painting, her first love and of which she has extraordinary accomplishment.  In addition, she went to Korea around 1992-3 (some of the same years that I was in Japan) where she studied traditional Korean brush painting.  Korea is an Asian leader in progressive modern art techniques in brush painting completely modernizing and experimenting with the forms.  She also paints using egg tempera which she makes herself.  Six years ago she came to Serifos, loves it here, and has remained ever since.  She feels she is making an important contribution to children's lives teaching them the values of aesthetics and artistic expression.  I haven't gotten her permission to use her photo here yet but I will soon along with the finished mural.

As we were painting, it began to rain and there was no choice but to close down and go off for a coffee which on Serifos means a beer.  Olympias told me that the weather patterns have changed in Serifos.  They had a very wet winter because the direction of the wind has gone from north to southwest bringing much humidity and clouds with it.  The air is also about ten degrees cooler than usual.  I found it a relief to have a change of weather and especially to enjoy the smell of the hills in the rain which added an herbal, medicinal tinge to the air.  For the rest of the day, I'm quietly tucked in to read and write.  Land art with Olympias Kelaidi  Klimpt 30 second video with Olympias Kelaidi's face

Another Youtube video I recommend is not Olympias' but is a very sweet video, about 10 minutes and tells a story of the children who live in Hora, the top of the mountain.  The scenery is also lovely.