Tuesday, December 30, 2008

looking around my home...


I discovered a truth on an embroidered cushion bought long ago...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Gabie's holidays...



I would have never guessed that dog sitting could be a form of therapy... Friday morning our friends delivered Gabie with all her paraphernalia to be with us during their two week vacation. It turns out Gabie loves us and we/I LOVE Gabie!!! We have been taking long walks-incredible amount of energy she has- and the rest of the time... we hug and kiss!!!
At least today I got away from the total attention she demands and managed to do certain things, including a whole bunch of these beautiful origami wreaths using scraps from my marbled papers. All in all a true emotional therapy day-long session, today! Tutorial for the origami wreath here
I hope you are also having a great last Sunday of the year!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas' thoughts


Mama is not suffering from old age anymore;  the sad image of her last years hopefully is going to fade from our minds... Thank God she gave us all lifetimes filled with her strong, inspiring and loving presence.  I hope soon my memories will be filled with just those images. I pray that someday I will see her in my dreams/in my mind the way we used to know her for most of my life: strong, leading, determined,  smiling and laughing out loud...

Still I have so many reasons for being happy this Christmas: Christiana and Scott were here for five days! Mark is still here for a few more days. All our loved ones are well and we manage to constantly being in touch. Our dear friends throughout the world are keeping us in their hearts as we do; the house is filled with Christmas colors, smells , tastes and sounds. We love and we are loved! 
Happy Christmas to everyone!
"Nature's gift"- etching and aquatint on Rives BFK - November 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

in my heart, in my thoughts forever


Athens - the morning of December 10, 2008: final farewell.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

around New York!

As they say "pictures speak a thousand words" and how true that is! I know that no words can describe the thrill of being in New York, spending time with Christiana and Scott, walking around, visiting museums and galleries, tasting the best of the best in the restaurants, bistros and cafes they are taking us and then being treated for THE best dinner in town: yesterday, at their home,  prepared by chef Scott! 
We are having an amazing super special time!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

my paste papers


Here is the result of my first attempt in the craft/art of paste paper. I know you can tell how much fun I had creating them. 
Tomorrow morning I'll be flying to New York; now time to finish packing and hopefully get some sleep. 
Goodnight!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

autumn in my back yard

Everything is still very-very green, not the right shade of green for autumn, but then we are in the south - this is Texas - and most of the time we have to look what the calendar says in order to "feel" the season... Then this morning a monarch butterfly showed up and gave me a tour of my back yard's season changes... I saw her from the window, grabbed my camera and started following her smooth, hungry flight from plant to plant; all of a sudden I realized that what I thought was still a persistent lingering state of summer, had been transformed into a fall backdrop: the seeding plants, the rust markings on the palm branches, colorful berries, acorns half eaten by the squirrels everywhere, and this butterfly stopping in my backyard for a rest on her long migratory journey to the south, showing me/reminding me that yes: fall is here!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

at the studio...


Here are the results of a good day's work!
Actually the  whole process has taken a few days... The final reduction on this linocut was done this morning and in the afternoon I did the third and final color printing at the studio. I thought it will be interesting to photograph the various stages.
from top: 
*printing of the 2nd color-plate on the left/print on the right.
*view of the plate next to the rolled ink and brayer. 
*completed prints next to one still at the previous stage.
*prints drying on the rack.
It feels so good completing a project, thinking and planning the next one, getting ready for a new week... I hope it's a good one for everyone!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

this and that...

It was one of those weekends that you think it's going to be lazy and non productive and then you end up doing so much!
Saturday I finally took the prints that need to be framed for the exhibit: I just made it! The poor guy promised me he will have them ready on time. Phew! 
I also did a whole bunch of marbling and now I have a good stack of papers to choose from! (Still cannot believe I am doing this and with such success!)
The weather looks like summer but starts feeling like fall and the evenings are getting cool... Oh, how I wish for a color change... everything is  still so very green!
More and more birds are coming back -I guess they are also forgetting Ike's noisy and brutal visit... exactly one month ago. 
A new week-a new start tomorrow.
Goodnight!
"Chrysalis" and "Autumn stories": mixed media monoprints 

Thursday, October 9, 2008

bringing autumn in...

I love nature's ways of preparing us for the new season: the show of colors, the special perfumes and smells, the dramatic change of temperature... Where I live fall is late to come -some  years it just doesn't come at all!
Well, living here you have to put a helping hand in order to somehow participate in this, you need to do whatever it takes in order to truly feel that the days and months of summer have ended; you have to find a way to physically, psychologically and emotionally feel, accept and become in tune with the progression of time, with nature's way of showing the transition path from the intense and brilliant summer colors to the calmness and coldness of winter's grays...
So I do what most people here do, I decorate our home for the season; in my own kind of particular way I display my pumpkin, rooster and vegetable watercolors all over the house as a backdrop to nature's true chef d'oeuvres: gourds of all kinds, multicolored pumpkins, seasonal indian corn; this is my way for truly bringing and welcoming autumn to our home!
"making friends" , colored ink on xuan paper by Anna Mavromatis / swan gourd by mother nature!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

All in a day's work!


Can you believe it?
These beautiful patterned papers were created by me!
Yesterday I took a super exhilarating Master Class on the art of paper marbling at the Museum of Printing History.
The class was given by Galen Barry whose work is absolutely amazing! My end of the day's colorful paper stack (and all of the other participants') proves that Galen is not only a superb marbler but also a first class teacher! In 5 hours of super intense work he transformed us from wide eyed ignorant observers to paint dripping paper marbling artists. I can't wait to do more on my own!
The last few weeks have been rather foggy; hurricane Ike's misery and the passing of my good friend's mother have made us feel the fragility of our sunny reality; creating once again brings back the thrill and joy of existence.
prints from my new work: "stages"

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ike: the morning after...



These photos are showing part of our new reality since the dramatic visit of hurricane Ike.
What I can not show is life in a humid, dark, without power, without phone lines, without any phone signal for our cellular phones to function chapter in our after Ike's visit lives. The piles of debris are getting taller and taller; the cables hanging and interlacing torn trunks and hanging tree limbs and the absence of squirrels and the colorful birds and rabbits visiting our yard is our new landscape.

Ike: five days after the storm




the bright side: we are cleaning up!!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

new project: the art of bookbinding!


this is my new adventure: hands on in the centuries old, noble art of bookmaking.
Second week into the course and here are two examples of my 1st class project: the creation of a portfolio! I first started by making the brown and black one using hand made paper from my collection and then I had the brightest idea of using an inkjet print of one of my rooster* paintings for the second; impossible to describe how "high" I felt with the result!!!
* original painting sold and now hanging in its new home in China!!! 

Thursday, August 28, 2008

befriending a rooster...


... somewhere in the ancient city of  Pingyao
Although back home for 2 weeks now, I am still thinking and dreaming about the days in China. I am looking through the pictures and it all seems so surreal, almost as if I flip through a book of fairy tales, as if I watch a historical movie...
Well, in a way Pingyao comes as close as it can be to just that: a place that is still the way it was one hundred + years ago, completely untouched by modern times. The city of Pingyao is the only Chinese city with an intact city wall hundreds of years old, with over 3,000 courtyard houses, numerous Buddhist temples miraculously saved from the red army's vandalism attacks, and also the birthplace of a national draft banking system formed in the 19th century. Pingyao is where the home of the Qiao family is, the only "common" people who's life style was as close to Chinese royalty's as it can get! The Qiao's Compound is the location where Jhang Yamou's Raise the Red Lanterns was filmed. We spent a good day walking through its ancient streets, the wall, the temples, the markets. We met some very friendly locals and one not so keen to form a friendship rooster!
 Well, knowing my interest in roosters or at least in their form, shape and ego(!) (as subjects for my paintings), you will understand why I insisted in following him around his courtyard's favorite spots; although not welcomed by him -there were times I felt threatened...-, I did manage to photograph him in different poses of interest, annoyance, persuasion and attack: what a success!!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

encounter with an ancient army!

stepping on China's ancient pavements...
Xian, July 22 (from my traveling journal)
weather: cool,  rain,  fog
Morning: bus ride to the Terracota Warriors site: incredible, enormous in size, proportions, effect. Michelle-our local guide- is very good; she told us more aspects of the Chinese cruelty through the ages...
Afternoon: back to the hotel- a couple of hours free time; walked on the streets surrounding the Hotel and saw the locals, their incredible poverty, filth and despair. ..
After dinner: took a walk on the Muslim street: very colorful, I wish we had more time...

at the Muslim street - night market

Friday, August 22, 2008

goods for sale!




How could I resist?
(photographed somewhere in China)

sweeping China!

(discovering, photographing while in China)



I fell in love with these brooms, made by hand, following centuries old tradition... Everywhere we went, from the big cities (32 mill. population), not so big (16 million), small (4-6 million), to rural and ancient sites, for sure there was one of these on the side, ready for action!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

signs!




Couldn't help being mesmerized by the numbers, shapes, colors, dimensions, intensity of the signs everywhere we went! Couldn't tell what they were screaming about, I just know they were extremely inviting!
(photographing while walking the streets in China)

Beijing: the classics!


July 19 (from my traveling journal)
Visit to the Forbidden City! We drove to Tiananmen Square and then walked the whole width of it through crowds of tourists - mostly Chinese from the country side - army guards marching, peddlers, locals wanting to take their photograph with us, endless umbrellas, kids, thousands of Chinese families visiting and us westerners getting our first encounter with Chinese pride China!  Mao's mausoleum on one side, Mao's picture by the front gate on the other.
The front gate: the entrance to the Forbidden City!!! Hot, hot, HOT!!! Sweat dripping and exhilarating! In the heart of Beijing, stepping so close to the cruel past of China.
Afternoon: Summer Palace - summer retreat of the imperial family during Qing Dynasty. Amazing landscape. The mile long painted corridor waiving along the lake shore with the most magnificent views, the lotus in bloom, the buddhist temple on the hill, the empress' CiXi marble boat... The heat still in unbearable levels but we survived!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Beijing: out and about!

July 16-17 (from my traveling journal)
Breakfast at the Hotel, then taxi to Qianhai Lake to visit the old Beijing's Houtongs: tiny narrow alleys, smelly shops, street sellers with the most amazing fresh vegetables, outdoor barbers, tiny and not so tiny streets bursting with everyday local life; connecting lakes with side parks their benches filled with locals seeking breathing space and cool air. Ancient men and women, old people sometimes alone, sometimes accompanied by grand kids, young people, busy people, people resting or just waiting for the day to go by..., some practicing Tai Ci, others giving music lessons, staring at the beautiful lake, the lotus in bloom, the tourists passing by on super loud and super "speedy" rickshaws. Hot, noisy, smelly, incredibly old in the shadow of the ancient Bell and Drum Towers, in  the center of a city growing modern, bigger, flashier by the second! 

QianHai at the heart of central Beijing's houtong.
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afternoon: taxi to the Museum where we first saw a so-so modern paintings exhibit with a general "Olympics" theme and then spent time immersed into THE most amazing classic Chinese Brush painting exhibit from the Palace Museum collections: fantastic!!! 
Later we walked down Wangfunjing, stopped by the mega department stores, haute couture designer "temples" and Malls, street food market - the street later turning pedestrian only with the buildings covered with Olympic Games logos, promotional photos and of course a super giant Yao Min!!! Then we finally reached the old Beijing Hotel and had magnificent tea at Raffles Hotel; such old world elegance, so very close to Tiananmen Square!
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-------------------------------------Raffles Hotel Beijing

July 18 - Space 798: Thanks to Weihong's "must seen" list, Friday evening we did make it to the magical super charged in creative energy, super cultural modern art paradise of Beijing's Dashanzi Art District. Walked through the gallery packed streets and although late we did manage to visit the Ullens Center where the very best of Chinese art is showcased: the most thrilling contemporary art place in China!!!
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