Thursday, December 31, 2009

wishing...


Health, peace, goodness and inspiration for 2010.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

christmassy, still...

My Santas and angels are everywhere in the house and can't get enough of it!

Of course back in my homeland Santa doesn't come until the first of the year, so having the Christmas feel in the house it's very normal for me. So here it is, a glimpse of a Greek home far away from Greece during the holy days.

Through the years I have embroidered a series of Santas, all dedicated to my children; together with my quilts they bring a traditional color to our home representing traditions I've borrowed from all places I have lived...

Every year I place the angels by the wall where most of our Byzantine icons hang.

A few of my very special, very loved and very Russian Santas!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

and the angels sing...


There is something about certain Christmas decorations that through the years make their existence and presence so important, so totally essential to the completion of the festive landscape at my home.  This is definitely the case of my angel carolers. Somehow I can't consider the house ready for Christmas until those three take their place, a sure indication that we are now ready to celebrate! Here they are all dressed up with their silver crosses, heart pendant and pearl adornments, their seasonal wreaths on their heads and the Christmas ribbon swirling around them. This year they are standing next to a photo of little Mark and Christiana in front of our Christmas tree of so long ago...

Monday, December 28, 2009

smile




Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it's breaking.
When there are clouds in the sky
you'll get by.
If you smile through your pain and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun shining through
For you.
Light up your face with gladness,
Hide every trace of sadness.
Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying.
You'll find that life is still worthwhile-
If you just smile.


How come that certain songs come to mind on such contrasting occasions?
Charlie Chaplin's "smile" started playing in my mind this morning and with all the cheerfulness around me and all the best reasons I have to feel happy, somehow this special tune's consoling quality seems to be what I need this time... The definite sadness of the melody, drawing the perfect landscape for the lyrics with their simple wishful optimism ending, feels totally soothing whatever seems to be aching... Is it nostalgia, yearning of times past or is it the after the high of the holidays blues that may be starting creeping upon me?
My beautiful Christiana's birthday is today, and I am so thrilled she was with us until yesterday. Mark is still here for another couple of days and I am so grateful for who they are and for being with us this Christmas. Therefore I need to follow Charlot and...
Light up my face with gladness, Hide every trace of sadness and be exuberantly happy!


"that kind of dance", monotype with chine-collé on Rives BFK
Anna Mavromatis, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!


To all my friends wherever they are, I send my very best wishes 
for a happy Christmas surrounded with love.
Merry Christmas, Buon Natale, Joyeux Noël, Καλά Χριστούγεννα! 

Friday, December 18, 2009

christmas correspondence!

I still have a few more to write and I will be done!

For the last fifteen years or so I have been designing our Christmas cards. It has become a tradition I fully enjoy and it seems lots of my cards' recipients do as well. It's very special when visiting friends, to find my cards from past years framed and displayed at their homes. I see their love for me and at the same time I get a feel of how my own view on the Christmas card's image/message has been evolving through the years...
Here are some cards from years past with my warmest wishes for a very happy Christmas!


Thursday, December 17, 2009

totally domesticated!

in a very 'arty' fashion!


Today was one of these days that when night falls you look around, you see what you've done and although there is nothing earthshaking..., just looking at the fruits of your very basic domestic work... you realize that life is all about the simple down to earth things and you appreciate them a ton more!
I am  done with decorating the house for Christmas, I am almost done with wrapping the presents and I can see the end of writing the Christmas cards! For a break I even made THE most wonderful candied orange peel, now all ready dried crisp and sweet to add to festive fruit salads and ice cream. It has been a great stay at home day!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

ink stained paper and folds experiment!

getting lost in the infinite possibilities that ink, paper and that particular state of mind lead me to..

Sunday, December 13, 2009

looking on the walls...


snippets of a city's persona through the street postings!
As seen, drawn to them, challenged to think beyond the gloss, engaged in its multi-faceted culture and mood, these photos represent certain moments of reflection while walking in the streets of New York during this past week.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

from a distant past, always present!

We are first shaped to who we are by the people who bring us up, hopefully with love and good intentions; then we begin forming our own texture and eventually our own patina sometimes acquiring a special luster -if we are lucky-, resulting from the mirroring of certain people we meet and get attracted to, friends we grow to trust, admire, love and respect, the ones we feel this special affinity and who years later we recognize in who we have become.

For me, one of these very special people I was so fortunate to meet and who I feel has influenced who I am, the person who left an indelible mark in my being is the girl in this photo. I met her in my late teens, she became my very best friend and although we have lived in different continents with no contact most of these past decades, her presence has remained in my mind, my thoughts and heart uninterruptedly.

Getting into this Thanksgiving season's mood, I feel the need to express thanks and gratitude for so much good I have been so fortunate to have known, to have felt, to have received. Among other things, I am also so thankful and grateful to be able to talk about this friendship and know that the girl in the photo is going to read it: Thank you Carla! Happy birthday my dearest friend, with all my love, always!

Friday, November 13, 2009

fold, fold, fold and... voilà!



One sheet of paper folded, refolded and ending up with a self bound book; the pages resembling envelopes, ready to accept and store whatever one's heart desires! I inserted samples of imprints from my collection of Chinese seals, ending up with a content fitting perfectly with the materials used to form and illustrate my "envelope" book. I used a washi type of paper marbled by me using the suminagashi method. The cover comes from a stack of some of my not so successful monoprints...
This structure was "invented" by the genius Hedi Kyle, the most respected bookbinder/designer/restorer/ paper expert I so much admire. She named it "blizzard book", because she constructed it during a blizzard, while stuck in her Philadelphia home unable to go out... I call it "envelope book", a more prosaic name but with that charming aura brought by the endless number of possible messages it may contain, store and hide! I know I will be making many more...

Friday, November 6, 2009

autumn everywhere...


"L'automne est un deuxième printemps où chaque feuille est une fleur"
Well, what can one say about the change of colors, the feel in the air, the mood reacting to nature's aesthetics of automne? As far as the color palette change, for sure I cannot express it better than the simple words used by french writer Albert Camus. Yes, I so much agree with the simple and elegant  statement that autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower!
For the rest... like the crispness in the air that one morning suddenly tells you of the season's change? The mood that also suddenly takes you to the familiar reflective state, progressing to the deep awareness of life's cycles' presence, so amazingly illustrated by nature's plan? I certainly have no words for such magnificent happenings, but only the joy and thrill to fully participate and enjoy the magic surrounding me. And yes, I do end up looking outside my window much more frequently!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

this morning's reflections


Since I was little I saw reflecting images taking a mythical dimension, evoking worlds from fairy tales I had either heard, or I had made up before going to sleep. Depending on the available light I saw these reflections belonging to either happy worlds, or scary, hard and dark situations worlds. This reflection belongs to the "lived happily ever after" story book, and it's all too real. In my morning "getting lost following the different canals" walk, I got totally pulled by the magic of light and color dancing on the surface of the never ending water paths of Haarlem... This magical dance is now all mine; a recorded treasure in the form of digital images that I know I will be looking over and over again, revisiting these happy encounters and drawing inspiration for the beginning of future works!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

and now rain...


Yes it's raining; and raining, and raining, and raining... It's the kind that you don't hear, you almost don't even see; the misty kind, the million per square millimeter spraying droplets kind, the penetrating to the bones kind, the one that makes you truly feel the autumn entering all your senses in this silent, colorless, still way. And it's also Saturday: the day I was planning to go and photograph some outdoor markets full of colors, noise and smells.
Oh well, this is the normal weather in this part of the world and once you accept it, the next step should be to act as norm as possible! Therefore... I need for sure to follow the planned schedule, enter this gray cold misty rainy world outside, accept it and become part of it!
So, off I go for my rainy Saturday noon walk-about in Haarlem!

Friday, October 23, 2009

yesterday's sun, today's fog...




Hard to believe how different autumn feels from one day to the next. Justified difference perhaps when you consider that yesterday's blue sky and sun bathed ancient monument is in Athens, Greece, while today's densely fog covered green is in Haarlem, Holland.
I've spent the last two weeks in Greece visiting family, celebrating a nephew's wedding, revisiting situations and memories still unsolved and feeling longings for loved ones sadly gone... Regardless the sadness that this type of return most often has, I believe that the memory of the last two weeks' visit in my hometown eventually will be shaped by the joy and promise of the new start that marriage symbolizes and the bright light of Attica's warm autumn sun.
And now, in the quiet stillness of this cold afternoon, I need to rethink and recap some whys, some hows some whens, and also find a way to unwind. I plan to use these next two weeks in this highly inspiring for me environment to do just that, and hope to move again towards the challenging road of understanding and accepting without further postponing questions...

Friday, October 2, 2009

the story behind the young girl...

... on that old photograph.
Everything I make is usually influenced by a "story"; sometimes the inspiration is generated by the story, other times the resulting sentiments take me to a direction that in the process the starting point becomes unrecognizable, perhaps lost or totally forgotten. Of course there is also the unexpected and unplanned wave of creative inspiration that usually in inexplicable and unexpected ways translates into a work that generates more starting points for further artistic investigation. In this case it's the actual story who came to life and in a direct way demanded from me a certain documentation. And I responded by creating this latest work in a form of a concertina structure book using monoprints with the image digitally generated and color altered for this purpose.
The photo of this young girl belongs to a great aunt of mine, long gone. I remember her as a very old woman, dressed in black, smiling with my dance performances choreographed by my sisters for the occasion of her visit . Growing up I learned more and more about her and her rather sad, shadowed by tragedies life. The photo of her as a little girl intrigues me. It's almost like trying to tell me something, ask me of something, almost pleading. She was always dressed in black and this in my mind represented her "black" (dark) life. So in this book I gave her a life of colors and I used a few simple sentences handwritten also in color to document the existence of her photo, of her life and of this book:


Her name was Fotini.
She grew up, she fell in love, she had children.
I've heard talk about dark times; I've also heard tales of goodness.
Her life was hard, bleak, difficult.
Now she is gone, her life... done.
So many years later this old photo is here with me.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

falling leaves...

These leaves come from a vine growing wild at the side of my house. I noticed it about a month ago and before I knew it it started blooming beautiful dainty bell shaped flowers... It reminds me of the garden at our home in London. Anyway, I cut some of the leaves and dried them. The other day at the studio I decided to try some monoprints on paper and fabric. Can't wait to do some more...

Friday, September 18, 2009

rhythms...

It's always so interesting to discover associations, links, or as in this case a very predictable evolution, or sequence of thought in one's work. Here is an example. All of last week I have been working on a series of monoprints, while thinking that I was starting something so definitely different from previous work. Then, at a certain moment, I lifted my head and looked towards the other side of the room; and there it was: "interruption", the paper structure I completed last week! In the warm light of an afternoon ray of sun, it appeared as an apocalyptic revelation; suddenly it was so evident the starting point of this week's ink movement experimentation! Last week's "interruption" changing into these current rhythms of light!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

interruption...


in-ter-rup-tion; what a word, what a meaning, what a gamut of sentiment generating situation! It can be a surprise; it can be a relief, it can also be a break from a state of concentration and then it becomes an annoying disturbance. An interruption of a perceived state of harmony and peace? A bang of emotions generated by misunderstandings, miscommunications, wrongly perceived and accepted truths? A certain kind of interruption occurred recently that brought me into a state of absurd need for concentration, almost into a meditative needy state that translated into a frenzy of paper cutting, slashing, tearing and finally into a composition titled: interruption. What a satisfying consolation when art becomes a safe cocoon!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

wall stories...

Have you ever felt the history of a place appearing through the aging walls of a city's buildings? The older a place is, the more I feel images and sounds emanating from its homes; the more ancient the towns or their sacred ruins, the stronger their history's narration fills the surrounding space. Maybe because I was born in a very old country, surrounded by remnants of thousands of years history, maybe because of that I always feel by walking on the streets and alleys of an old town that I truly touch its past and almost become part of it! Here are some images portraying excerpts from the stories I sensed while walking in the streets in Holland.
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