Sunday, November 26, 2006

My Computer is Ill

Got back from Cyprus and found there are major problems with my hard drive. Consequently I can't get online. So the Blog will be silent for a while. Should be up and running before Christmas. I hope.
Needless to say The Draughtsman will not be updated either for the time being.
So.. watch this space.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

...and now, the end is near........ goes that song sung by Shirley Bassey. "I did it my way." Only three days left of this spell in Cyprus. I am winding down the programme. A fair bit of art has been made, more postings to follow.
I started with the mediterranean frieze and after that did a few experiments with Cypriot style art. Then followed the Aphrodite series. Now full circle, I am doing what I usually do.
The above is the latest pentych, but of the Med this time. I am leaving it here along with one of the Aphrodites for the Cyprus Studios Christmas Exhibition. Not surprisingly it is called "Cyprus Pentych".
So what will I return to? A much colder Blighty, that's for sure. And, for the moment no Luneside Studios either. The developers have now moved in and we had perforce to move out with indecent haste. However it is hoped we will have new premises by the spring of next year.
But for now, I am going to spend these last few days soaking up what sunshine time is left to me. I fly home on Wednesday, alas.
Still, it was nice while it lasted.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


The weblink I posted yesterday takes you on a convoluted journey to the images. So here is the Botticelli Birth of Aphrodite. Many of you will know this image already.

Friday, November 17, 2006


Readers will have by now realised I have not kept this Blog running on a daily basis while here in Cyprus. It has been a rather busy time here one the one hand and the computer time is at something of a premium. I have to book a "slot" and quite rightly, the students here have preference.
Apart from my art projects here, there has been a number of important exhibitions and art events in Limassol which as artist in residence I am obliged to attend. Not that I'm complaining, I get wined and dined and get to see some good art. The Cyprus authorities take their visiting artists very seriously indeed.

You may have noticed a lot of Aphrodite images on the Flickr badge in the margin. This is part of a supplementary project which started as a joke but finished up something of a major project. These things happen.
It all started last year when a "biblical storm" hit Limassol and we at the studios had to do something about the drainage system. We all got soaked through almost immediately and afterwards we all sat with steaming mugs of tea/coffee in our wet tee shirts. It was here that I got the idea, why not do a painting of the birth of Aphrodite after the famous one by Botticelli but have her rising from the sea in a tee shirt. Sort of bring it up to date.

Well, I did some drawings, threw around a few ideas, did a couple of paintings and the final image is as shown here. The gossammer material idea came from work I have seen of Aphrodite/Venus by the fifteenth century German painter, Lucas Cranch the Elder.

Beach Cairn

Last year at this time I embarked on a cairn building programme on a Limassol beach. This involved several of the students in an installation project. The upshot of this has seen me building cairns on seashore locations from time to time. this particular one is on a Limassol beach.
But I didn't build it.
I don't think it was intended as a cairn as such but more likely a makeshift seat for one of the many anglers who fish on these shores with their long beach casting rods.
Functional? Yes. Aesthetically interesting? Well, I think so.
The sands of these shores are constantly shifting. I don't think this structure will be a permanent monument.

A Cypriot Mystery

Just across the road from the corner shop near the Studios in Limassol there stands an imposing looking building with this tympanum above the main entrance. From a distance it look Byzantine. Nothing strange in that. There are Byzantine designs everywhere here. But this one, as can be seen, is distinctly Celtic. There are no indications around the building to tell you what purpose it serves and all the locals can tell me is that it had been blown up during the Turkish invasion in 1974; a rather bloody period in Cyprus' recent history.
So what this beautifully restored building is, I don't know. It looks as though it has a wesh/Scottish/Irish connection. If I can find out more I'll post it here.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

From My Sketchbook

Another image from the current sketchbook. I filled the last page of that book today so I guess I can call the Mediterranean project completed. For now. I have started a new sketchbook and am putting ramdom images in it. Some from thelife as it were, others impressions of Cyprus and others as dream images with a mythological content. There are only two weeks left of this residency so whether I get this book filled before I return to the UK is questionable.
But, we'll wait and see.
These images are also in my other Blog Link

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Ikon Studio

Next door to the Limassol Studios is The Ikon Studio. An example of their work in progress is shown here. They work strictly in the Byzantine style and their principal clientelle comes from the Greek Orthodox Church. Hardly surprising in this country where this is the main religion. It is run by two artists; Yoannes and Spillios. There is no shortage of work for them. There is always a commission waiting for them at the end of each project.
They come across to our studios from time to time for a coffee and sometimes one or two of us go to their place for a metrios and a natter. Two streets away from here there is another ikon studio where you can learn about ikon painting and the Byzantine art tradition for a fee of Cy£20 an hour. At our next door neighbour's we get this for free, well, we keep them in coffee. In the course of conversation I've learnt quite a lot about ikon painting. They are only too happy to tell me about it.
They prepare their own gesso panels and now I can do it properly. I can make a pretty resonable gesso board now. They use materials from scratch. No commercially prepared stuff for them! Colour is applied directly with pure pigment and a medium made up as tempera.
The subject matter is treated somewhat differently to that of the Western Catholic Church where the stress is on how the various saints died; certainly when dealing with those that were martyred for their faith. In the Greek Orthodox tradition they are more interested in how they lived and what contribution they made.
For example, St. Paul who was executed with a sword is shown in Rennaisance art carrying a large sword. St. Catherine is identified with a wheel. But in the Orthodox tradition, St Paul carries nine rolls of parchment to indicate the nine epistles he wrote and are part of the Christian Bible.
I could go on ad nuaseam but I think you'll get the picture, (no pun intended).

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Dharma in Cyprus

LinkThe Buddha is believed to have said it is better for people to come and ask for the Dharma rather than have it preached to an unwilling crowd. It seems that here at Limassol we have the beginnings of a meditation group. The students at Cyprus College of Art asked if I could do a "meditation evening" for them. We did this last week when I taught them how to meditatie in our [Soto Zen] tradition. I told them about Throssel.Afterwards we sat for a while. Now they want more. So, this Thursday we will look at the Precepts and other parts of Buddhist doctrine, i.e., the four Noble Truths and the Eightfold path. In true Cypriot fashion this has become something of an event and I have to lay on some catering! So I will prepare a buffet meal of eggs, rice and Greek salad. Lots of olive oil and lemons.
Usually, each evening, someone in this artistic community organises something. Sometimes a game of Scrabble or we watch a DVD and central to all this is the meal organised by that particular host.
The above picture is from my current sketchbook. It is a scattered group of pebbles on the beach after the tide has receded.
Tidal vatiations, by the way, in this part of the Med is about one to one and a half metres. Hardly registers compared to Morecambe Bay's 7 to 10 metres!