Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Creating Watercolor Memories of Santorini

I titled this workshop "CREATING WATERCOLOR MEMORIES OF SANTORINI"  because I knew the trip would be memorable for my students and me.   The location is beautiful, romantic and a little exotic in a way, so a perfect place to create watercolor journals or small paintings. 

But it is always my students that make the best memories for me.   My students were each a joy to be with, and we shared lots of discoveries and lots of laughs.  Their desire to discover the culture, history and beauty of the island equaled my own.   Our curiosity and our passion for painting propelled us up those steep steps to find the perfect spot for the next  painting or photograph.

In addition we got to know photographers and oil painters who were also doing workshops with Toscana Americana as we shared all our meals together and the boat ride and exploring of the monastery and traditional villages.  All these wonderful and creative people made our time on the island of Santorini even more memorable.

Thank you Patrick and Angela for all of your planning, coordinating, thoughtfulness and hard work that made this such a special workshop.

Some of my Santorini memories are....

fun times with good friends,



teaching students who were passionate painters and a joy to be with

photos 0ps for future paintings,


the locals,

famous photo ops,


blue gates,

delicious Greek food


crazy waiters,

famous sunsets.


any wonder why I teach travel workshops? 

Next year... Cortona, a perfectly charming medieval village in the Tuscany region of Italy.  Want to join me?    Here is the link to the website that will tell you all about my workshop scheduled for September 4 - 11, 2010.   www.toscanaamericana.com/sandydelehantytuscany.html.

Cortona 2008 001

Cortona 2008 010

Pink Chair, Cortona
"Pink Chair, Cortona Italy"

Monday, October 5, 2009

Collecting Santorini Churches


Everywhere in Greece there are churches, and Santorini has hundreds of them.  Many are family churches, some are memorials to someone who died or a tiny church may be built where a miracle happened.  Big, or small, they may be hundreds of years old but there shapes are somehow strangely modern.

On Santorini many churches are decorated with pieces of lava rock adhered to them.  Often the rock is left black, but on this church it is painted the blue of the dome.

Artists that paint Santorini always paint some churches, and my students and I were no exception.  Below are some of our impressions of the Santorini churches.

Berna did a lovely painting of this church from the rear view.  A lazy Santorini dog lay down beside her, making itself comfortable on her brush holder.  When she got up to leave it refused to move so she had to pull the brush holder out from underneath him!

Berna's rear view of the same church pictured above.  

Here is another church painting by Berna. 

Crew did this beautiful pencil sketch of a church, but my camera did not pick up the light pencil lines very well.   It is a sensitive drawing, just lovely in real life.

Berna did this little watercolor in her journal from her hotel balcony.  This church had red and yellow trim instead of being all white or white and blue like most Santorini churches.  I did see this color combination on several tiny churches on Hydra island before coming to Santorini.   Scroll down to see previous post written on Hydra. 


I sat on some stairs and did this very quick sketch of this tiny bell tower in my journal before the hot sun drove off in search of a cool drink. 

Toscana Americana Workshops take to the sea


We commandeered this boat from Captain Jack Sparrow and toured the Santorini caldera on a beautiful sunny day. 

Captain Patrick, is he saluting or does he have a headache?

First Mate Angela, looking  like Jackie O. cruising the  Greek Islands on a yacht.

First stop, the volcano that Judy fell in two years ago and broke her arm.  She returned to Santorini again, but skipped the hike up to the top of the volcano this time and painted on board ship instead.   

I took this photo over the lava on the island of a huge cruise ship parked in the caldera with the cliffs and the village of Fira in the background.  The cruise ships unload thousands of people onto the island and all seem to walk the same street (called the "street of gold") due to all the jewelry shops there.   You learn quick how to avoid the crowds by taking the tiny streets the locals use.

We stopped for a swim near the hot springs.   These cute boats were there with their laundry hanging out to dry.

I did this quick sketch of the "laundry boats" in the photo above while the boat stopped for swimming.

The poop deck crew.  Doug, Sara, Crew and Pat, Mary is there somewhere.

The boat pulled up to a seaside village of about 20 buildings, 3 or 4 were restaurants.   The owner of the restaurant we chose displayed the food on the grill by the entry.  Good way to entice customers.

Mousaka and other casseroles waiting for hungry tourists.

Catch of the Day

Crew did this beautiful drawing back at the hotel from memory!

Watercolors of Santorini's villages and rocks

Santorini is a group of islands that surround a sunken caldera from an ancient volcano.  It is famous for its tiny villages that seem to drip down the rocky cliffs towards the sea in the center of the caldera. 

Each artist approaches this scenery in a different way.

I did this ink and watercolor sketch in my Watercolor Travel Journal.  For me it was all about the proportion.  Nature created these fabulous giant cliffs with their multi-colored layers when the volcano exploded and then collapsed into the sea creating the caldera.  In comparison, man's villages around the rim of the caldera seem so very small and insignificant to me.

Debbie had a colorful whimsical take on the village on top of the rocks.

Pat had a totally different take on the scene.  She did a very serene abstracted painting of the islands in the middle of the caldera.  Her colors are delicious!

Here she is at work on the above painting;  check out that look of concentration!

Pat and Crew and I at our "studio".  The nice lady who owned the restaurant where we had lunch let us stay and paint there all afternoon. 

While Berna's painted this painting of the village of Fira, she was visited by a tiny kitten and was cut off from Debbie and I by the Pooper Scooper Man sleeping on the stairs. 

Crew loves rocks.  He did not paint or sketch the villages on the rocks but chose instead to do this wonderful ink drawing of the rocks themselves.  He began the sketch, while standing by the side of the road and completed much of it while the rest of us were exploring a monastery on top of a hill.

Pat did not have time to complete this painting but she got off to a good start and had fun doing it.