Corfu Review 2012

We hosted our second painting holiday in Greece on the beautiful island of Corfu. We were based at the North Eastern corner of the island near the village of Kassiopi. Our accommodation was a beautiful house, the Villa Bellina and also next door the beach house Christina situated on Voltana beach only feet away from the crystal clear sea. We had six painters of mixed ability, working in Watercolour, Acrylic, Pen and Wash, Charcoal and Pencil. Guests enjoyed painting the beautiful sea views and the villa with its pretty garden full of terracotta pots, spilling over, with brightly coloured flowers. The weather was glorious in the low thirties, each morning we would wake to the sound of the sea lapping on the shore, the sun already shining, it was a pleasure to go out and paint. The holiday was a mixture of painting, drawing and relaxing with plenty of swimming to cool off. We provide four evening BBQ’s during the fortnight. All breakfasts and some lunches if we were painting at the villa or close by. We also provided all transportation, transfers from the airport and shuttling guests to locations. At all other times guest went out to eat, usually in a group.

Painting Days 2 and 3

It was a relaxing start painting in and around the villa. The view across gardens provided tropical trees and pastel coloured houses. The paths were dappled with beautiful light and interesting shadows. Ahead, out of the main gate was a wide harbour where yachts moored overnight and wind surfers caught the breeze providing us with lovely subjects to draw and paint. Albania was just about visible, hiding in the misty distance. To the left and right of the house where beautiful views of the beach and coastline, the clear turquoise water, merged nicely into the sand as the waves gently lapped the shore. It was a challenge to paint and get a sense of distance, achievable by using aerial perspective, mixing delicate colours, blues and purples to help create distance. Two of the painters and tutor Peter walked to a secluded bay between Voltana beach and Kassiopi, making some preparatory sketches ready to paint the bay over the following few days.

Painting Day 4

A short stroll into the nearby village of Kassiopi, we spent the day painting ands drawing the harbour from one of the many lovely cafes. The Cafe owners were very obliging allowing us to use their space and facilities. We took advantage of the shade and sampled many a Greek salads and cooling drinks throughout the day. Challenging sketches of the busy shoreline, gorgeous boats posing, just waiting to be painted. A busy harbour full of houses, restaurants and shops. Tiled rooftops, nestled in the tropical trees. Clusters of boats, all shapes and sizes and abstract reflections.

Painting Day 5

Another glorious day – we headed off into the interior to a beautiful town ” Old Parithia”. A heritage site full of crumbly old buildings, lots of Tavernas and wonderful views to paint. The buildings are sat in meadows of wild flowers and the dramatic hills add drama to the pretty village. A lovely day spent painting, with kind Taverna owners allowing to paint from their restaurants, under a shade of bamboo, sipping cool drinks. Bliss.

Painting Day 6

Plenty to paint back at the Villa, a slight breeze today, lots of wind surfers took full advantage of it and wowed us with their skill and speed. The villa and houses next door are also good to paint. Lovely pastel shades. Just at the corner there’s another painting vista of beautiful trees, dramatic palms,with a backdrop of the sea – great colours. In the evening we had a BBQ at the villa, very relaxing, lovely food everyone chipped in with the prep. Plenty of wine and good company

Rest Day 7

Sunday is a rest day to relax and take a break from painting. Lots of swimming, walking, and rest. Some guests continued to paint others took a break.

Painting Day 8

Monday we took off to a bay the other side of the island, taking our time we enjoyed the route along the coast. Paleokastrista is a dramatic harbour with a sheltered bay. We pitched up on the beach with loungers and umbrellas. It was a hot day so we didn’t last all day in the full sun. The sea was turquoise, the rocks\r\nand vegetation dramatic. Plenty of people to paint, draw and sketch. In the evening we stopped at a mountain village to have dinner in a tiny restaurant, bar Taverna Elizabeth. It comprised of a tiny row of tables just outside the main entrance we were sat on the edge of the road. It was a lovely barmy evening and we sampled the local fayre, lovely wine and had a super evening.

Painting Day 9

We went to the next bay to paint in an olive grove. Perfectly situated just at the side of the road, easy access, we sat in the dappled shade. Great shaped trunks with holes and swirling patterns. An orchard full of trees, very atmospheric. Blankets of ferns on the ground and bright areas of sun causing high contrast. A lovely location. Did prep sketches in pen and wash, afterwards straight in with paint, paintings much freer.

Painting Day 10

Sat in the shade painting the view from the sea of the row of villas on the shore, focusing on composition. What to put in what to leave out, how to exaggerate and add drama. Painting fast and loose. Exaggerating contrast, finding a focal point. Pulling a complex study together as a painting.

Day 11 By boat to Corfu Town.

\r\nWent on a great boat trip from Kassiopi to Corfu Town. Gorgeous day, cool breeze, a good way to see the island from the sea. Lots of beautiful harbours and beaches, interesting rock formations. Accompanied by a few historical facts from the boat operator. Spent the afternoon and early evening in Corfu town, interesting lanes, beautiful architecture, good shopping. Some guests sketched the lovely building from a cafe on the square, others just soaked up the atmosphere.

Painting Day 12

Spent the day in Kasseopi, painting the boats and the harbour, small sketches capturing the atmosphere.

Painting Day 13

Saturday – drove off into the interior searching for pretty towns to paint. Many of the small towns were closed on Saturday morning, drove several miles and almost gave up when we stumbled on a lovely Taverna. It has the most stunning view for miles over the tundra and hills right down to the sea. Panoramic !! We stopped for lunch and some sketches and then took advantage of their infinity pool. It was so refreshing we all appreciated cooling down in such a wonderful spot.

Last day

Sunday – Packing, tidying and finishing up. We always have an exhibition of all the work produced over the painting holiday. It is surprising how much work has been produced. The culmination of two weeks work some guests work and work others enjoy painting as well as having a holiday. Its good there is a spread of abilities across several media. Painters can choose to work in different media to suit the subject.

A selection of work produced on the painting holiday in Corfu – June 2012

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