Archive | Paros

Possible show and travel draws near…

I leave for Italy and the Aegean Center Italian session in a little over  month-and-a-half. To be honest I am not sure, beyond the art history context, what I will be doing.  I am nervous about the fall and what it will bring to me.  Obviously ‘change’ will be a constant.  With all the drama of last spring behind me I hope to make a fresh start with the Aegean Center and build some new bridges in the local community as well as the school dynamic.  What my role will be as a third semester intern is unknown, but I have written of this already.  I have only the ability to let the Universe decide these things for me and act accordingly.  I have been emailing the people I know and so far no response.  Perhaps this is my own impatience since I tend to write back to those who email me all but immediately.  Other people have their lives to live and I cannot expect them to jump onto their keyboards and drop me a line.  The urge to begin ‘test packing’ is filling me and I have new gear to bring, namely a new laptop which is something I have never traveled with before.  I’ll see how it packs in my carry-on bag today, perhaps, and test the weight.

I am in negotiations with the owner of a great space for a small solo show.  I hope to hang the event for an August opening  running through Labor day, but I may have to skip that weekend as it would make it difficult for the owner to sign a lease with anyone else beginning on the first of the month.  I will be flexible with this and take what I can get.  I will also have to pay rent, which is a cost I had not anticipated, but in the long run do-able and necessary if I want this show in such a short amount of time.  I will have have 12 figure studies and twelve ‘rural views’, all medium format and all sized in an intimate manner that draws the viewer into the image.  We shall see, we shall see…I am ‘acting as if’, however, and prepping my work for the show.  This means matting, framing and having it gallery ready.  I will not push away any other opportunities for other viewings.  Once again, the Universe is in charge.  I can only do the footwork and accept the results.  Some of the new images can be seen on my photo site, so I won’t post them here.

More to come…JDCM

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Back in Athens…

How many times have I written that phrase?  It seems like more than it actually is.  In any event, here I am, back in Athens, en route to the US from my stay on Paros and the Aegean Center for the Fine Arts.  My time there was fantastic and tumultuous.  I created wonderful work but ended up losing friends and  connections for the future.  My own emotional needs steamrolled over the needs and lives of others.  I have made my amends to those who felt hurt.   I am sure that the bridges I help to build (and burn to the ground) will never be rebuilt.  As Shakespeare wrote, ” The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in the stars, but in ourselves if we are underlings.”

Athens is hot and full of life.  The EU is showing signs of wear and tear due to its unstable economic design and in Greece, as elsewhere, the protesters are on the street.  In Syntagma, in front of the Parliament, the Indignants have erected a small tent city.  There are marches daily by many political parties but  for the most part it is peaceful this weekend.  Last week there were firebombs, tear gas and police action but for now it is quiet.  The riot squad is very visible and in force.  I stay away form this kind of action as it could put me in danger some where down the line. I have avoided pictures of the protesters because it doesn’t feel right.  I am not a spy, snoop or the press so I feel uncomfortable possibly making them uncomfortable.  Plus that avoids any chances of violence coming my way.  Let’s avoid that, shall we?  Hawkers and food sellers have taken advantage of the small encampment and have set up their shops around the platia.  Economic irony.  Also ironic is the busy-ness of the McDonald’s across the street:  mostly protesters and so forth.

For now it’s museums, meetings with friends, and sleep in my over-priced hotel.  I’ll post a review of that on Trip Advisor when I get back to the US. For now some banking, a coffee and a meet-up with my mates.

More to come…

JDCM

 

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Amazing, simply amazing…et fini!

I’ll make this one short.  I sent three large boxes of stuff home to New York last week from Paros.  I have tracked them through the postal service and two of them have arrived  in Ancramdale as of today.  I mailed them on the 8th and they are there already.  That’s five days.  Amazing.  The third I mailed on Friday the 10th.  It is currently going through customs in New York.  Amazing, simply amazing. This means my portfolios, all my dark room notes, some odds and ends and all my sketchbooks have all arrived safe and secure in the USA.  I am thoroughly impressed with the Greek postal service, my hat is off to them and I will trust them to the ends of the earth.  Bravo!

I have shut down the dark room here at the Aegean Center until next fall when I return.  I had a flurry of printing to do last night, mostly snapshots for friends.  After I was done toning I realized I was absolutely finished.  I was spent, out of gas.  It felt like nervous energy burning off and suddenly I was free.  I left clean-up until this morning when I went in and dumped the chemistry, washed out the bottles and shut it all down.  Fini!  I feel complete.

In other developments, detente seems to be holding and my personal cold war seems to be thawing for the better.  We are talking and although I do not know her true feelings regarding what has ocurred I have come to a startling and sober decision: it is easier to be her friend, regardless of the circumstance, than to think of her in any other way.  We may never see each other again after she leaves in a few days, may never have any sort of contact at all over the rest of our lives.  She can hate me out loud.  She may even walk to the other side of the street to avoid me.  I will always refer to her as ‘my friend’.  It is easier on my soul to do that than to think otherwise.  If she were to call me out of the blue and ask for assistance, I would help her.   I ask for nothing in return.  No allegiance, no contact–not even friendship on her part.  There is too much conflict, hate and anger in the world as we speak.  I am not willing to add mine to the mix.  She has a friend in me.  There’s a song in there somewhere….

More to come…

JDCM

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The ghost town…

It is quiet here.  Although there are small knots of tourists, mostly retirees, the nature of Paroikia has changed with the departure of many of my fellow Aegean Center students.  There’s no more back and forth from classes or the digital lab, the darkroom or painting studios.  The cafes are no longer host to small throngs of eager-eyed art students from abroad, at least from my perspective.  I am still working in the dark room, though, at night when the air is, conceivably, cooler.  This is really not true since the ambient temperature in the room itself is upwards of 70*F.  I have had to begin cooling down the developer with ice packs made from 500ml bottles and even then it takes a while for the soup to drop to 21C.  I am currently printing snapshots from my time here: landscapes, hikes and street scenes.  Mostly for memory’s sake than anything else.  Tonight I’ll enlarge a small landscape from a hike: olive groves, stone walls, rocky hills behind and puffy white clouds in an azure sky.  It should be a pretty little piece and if I get it down I’ll make three copies for gifts.

I am having my horoscope read today by a fellow student from Belgium and it will be interesting to see if the reading matches up with my current life changes and bio-rhythmic waves. I am packing boxes for storage and shipping having already shipped my portfolios and a box containing my 4×5 back to the US already.  The shipper said 3 to 5 days, which means a week at least.  I hope they reach Ancramdale in good shape.  The weather has been odd.  The scirocco that has been coming through the Cyclades as of late has brought with it dust, hot Saharan winds and a general laziness that speaks of even hotter climes than Paros.  Yesterday was hot and cloudy most of the morning and I lay on the beach enjoying the heat without the direct sunlight.  Back at my flat and after my siesta I awoke at 4:30 to find that the clouds had rolled away and the sun returned in all of its blistering glory.  ‘Hot’ is a relative term, but it was that alright.  By sundown it had cooled a bit but I slept with the air-con blowing so at least I was able to get a full night’s rest without sweating.

I have been given permission to update my photo site with some of the figure studies I have created.  I call this series ‘Opus’, which in Latin means ‘work’.  They will be in series and I will have to have the prints scanned when I get home.  It will take some time, but time I have.  Strange…Many years ago I was in a rock band called ‘Furnace’.  I wanted to create a larger, longer piece called ‘God-Family-Work’.  This idea was pooh-poohed by the other band members and I was eventually drummed out of the group for being too irresponsible and lazy.  Now I am creating a piece I call ‘Opus’.  Perhaps this is a philosophical thread that has always run through my life.  Today I search  family, or more precisely a community of fellows; I continue my seeking for guidance from a Power greater than myself and I labor for the results I wish to attain.  Am I living the design I hope to create?

More to come..

JDCM

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In the Aegean Center digital lab…

This is an update from Greece, from the digital lab at the Aegean Center for the Fine Arts.  I feel like a ship at sea calling ship-to-shore on the shortwave.  An update from Greece, indeed.  It has been a tumultuous three months.  I have created some amazing work and I am grateful to have been here.  Personally and emotionally, however,  I have been put through the ringer.  I have been called a friend by some, ignored by many, ostracized by a few and even, I think, been thought of as a suspicious character by at least one or two people.  Throughout all of this I have made a couple of friends with some of the younger students and lost one as well, someone who I treated decently and cared for deeply.  Such is life.  I will never get used to that gut-sick feeling of grief and loss.   I am not ashamed or upset about how I have behaved:  I was honorable  and righteous in thought and deed.  But I digress…

We are all wrapping up the term: painters are painting their final strokes; digital printers are slipping out the final pieces of Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Matte, Pearl or Baryta.  In the darkroom my commitment to the four portfolios is finished but I still have to print some copies for the models I have worked with.  The Ensemble begins it’s short series of 4 performances this week.  Next week most of the students begin to leave, some directly back to the USA although some are loitering in Europe for a week or so, myself included.  I’ll stay on Paros until the 17th and then head to Athens for about  4 or 5 days in the relative comfort of a hotel in the Plaka area of town.  I’ll see some friends, watch some movies and catch some museum exhibits that I have seen before.  I will be coming back for a third semester in a few months:  more emotional stress, artistic expression and personal angst.  What am I thinking?

More to come…

JDCM

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Working, sunning and in the depths of loneliness…

Perhaps I am on the pity pot.  Probably.  We’ll see…

Here I am in a wonderful geographic place, making beautiful photographs that, in my mind, show the grace, power and delicacy of the female form.  The sun is out (finally) and the temperatures are perfect.  I have had a relaxing and pleasant Sunday, with some good reading, some beach time and a decent conversation with at least one person.  Nevertheless I am terribly lonely and feeling increasingly isolated from the rest of the students here.  Is it my age?  It is because I do not drink alcohol? Do I threaten them in some way?  I have noticed that more and more often I have not been invited to join anyone for a meal, idle companionship, or even to share my car-anything.  I have to actually go out of my way to invite myself.  It is humiliating for me to continuously ask if I can join someone for a simple cup of coffee.  If the shoe were on the other foot, which it has been before, I would be the first person to invite someone along for the ride.

In Homer’s ‘The Odyssey’ there are only a few point where Odysseus is truly alone.  His men are lost, he has been imprisoned–things along those lines.  A teacher I know taught me that, to the Greeks, being alone is seen as a type of illness.  This is why the Greek traditions are always jammed with people.  No one eats alone, sits in cafes by themselves, no one.  I can identify with Odysseus.  It feels as if I am a pariah, banished from the pack and destined to do nothing but walk from my apartment, to school and back.  I feel as if I have been cursed.  So what have I done to deserve this?  Am I deluding myself into thinking that I am a nice guy when everyone else actually considers me a shit head?

To be honest I have much to be grateful for.  It would be nice to have some other folks around to share it with me.  There is a dark part of me that wants to say, “Fine.  No more love from me.  You all want it that way, then go away.”  I do not believe that this is the correct way to think though.  I must believe that, deep down, it is not me that this is about.  Unfortunately it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so.

More to come…

JDCM

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Halfway through and coming down to the crunch…

This weekend is the Easter celebration. both for the Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholic churches.  This means that Paros is jammed with holiday travelers as well as those returning to the island for a traditional family get-together.  I could do without all the traffic, throngs of tourists and everything that comes along with it, but let’s face it–religion is Big Business and Bug Business needs money.  I have always been uncomfortable with any group or ideology that tells me what to do.  Big Religion is just as bad as Big Government.  More shady deals based on power, money and the acquisition of More.  But I digress…The events will be colorful and ancient, full of meaning for many.

My photography is progressing.  I have several lovely images from the figure sessions (both film and digital) and will be cranking out more in the next two weeks.  In the past few weeks the digital lab has increased its output and a couple of people who had been spinning their wheels seem to have had a fire lighted under them.  This is good.  To be honest I was growing disillusioned with the student body (my problem, not theirs), but hey, they are young and full of beans.  Everyone is working at their own pace and they will all receive a wonderful gift of having been here.   I can focus on my own work from here on and finish my portfolios.  The group show is on June 3rd or 4th, which isn’t a lot of time…

More to come…JDCM

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The Aegean Center, my work and the future…

It has been 25 days since I last blogged.  So much has happened, so many paths have been established through the possible wilderness of my life and the future I have before me, but first a basic update:  Paros is wonderful and the Aegean Center isboth challenging and warm.  The weather the first few weeks was very much like the end of winter anywhere-changeable.  It rained, became downright cold, even snowed but there were brilliant sunny days interspersed with the gloom and clouds as they rolled over the hills into Paroikia.  There has been a shift in the past few days and the sun has been shining with highs in the mid-60s F.  I jumped into the cool blue water the other day and paddled about for a bit then beachcombed for a spell.  This was time off and I have been working very hard in both the darkroom and the digital lab.  The big surprie has been in Basic and Figure Drawing.  I have been enjoying both immensely and learning more about ‘seing’ than I knew I could.  It has already paid off in my photographic work.

Other big news:  I have been offered a chance to return in the fall for the fall term here, which begins in Tuscany for September and then returns to Paros in October for another 2 1/2 months.  This is something I wanted to do last year but could not let go of my responsibilities at home, emotionally speaking.  Now I can and I am grabbing hold of this chance with both hands.  This term will be more historical in nature and will obviously focus a great deal on the Italian Renaissance. So I will return  to America on June 22nd and turn around and leave again on September 1st or close to it.

More to come…

JDCM

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Athens greeted me with cool rain and grey eyes…

If I stand on the balcony of my hotel room and look to the left I see the Acropolis and the Parthenon through a small canyon of more modern buildings.  I am back in Greece and I feel like I have never left.  I know the streets, the alleyways and the mood of the people.  It is still winter and the economy is in shambles, so they are very dark and full of woe–Wednesday’s Children one and all. 

I didn’t sleep on the flight from New York, so I hit the sack when I checked in to the Hotel Attallos, just off of the Monastiraki.  I slept for 6 hours then I went out for a coffee and met up with some Greek and ex-pat friends closer to the city center.  I came back, grabbed a gyro and hit the hay.  I have slept for another 4 hours and am now wide awake at 1:40 in the morning.  No worries.  I am in town for another day so I can use that time to re-aquaint myself with a museum or two.  I need to buy my boat ticket for Friday also.  I am meeting up with some returning students today and we’ll all go to Paros Friday morning. 

I have an idea for a photo shoot based on the pre-Olympian gods, the Titans.  It might make for interesting subjects for carbon printing or at least large format printing.  I invision Edward Steichen’s images of sculptor Auguste Rodin and I see gods and goddesses in his place…

More to come,

JDCM

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