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The Well-Travelled Painting: Sailing around the Saronic Islands, Greece

This series of Well-Travelled Paintings is designed to share my progress re-learning to paint, draw out the memories of the places and travel destinations I paint, and also keep myself accountable to my goal to paint more often. Each painting featured comes accompanied by a mini-guide to the place depicted – a taster to whet your appetite for when we can travel once again. Other paintings in the series so far include Hurst Point Lighthouse in Hampshire, Cefalu and Palermo in Sicily, the French Alps, and all paintings can be found here.

What does this painting depict?

Today the series continues with a painting from Spetses, a Greek island in the Saronic Sea, which I spent week sailing around in July 2016 with three friends, as part of a Medsailors holiday which I reviewed more thoroughly here. There are 6,000 islands in Greece and, although only 227 of them are inhabited by humans, the beauty of sailing is that it allows you to explore them all regardless of their settlement, as you can drop anchor virtually anywhere and swim ashore to explore. Our week with Medsailors was a bit more structured than that, as our yacht was part of a flotilla of five other yachts, but the feeling of exploration was the same as our skipper sailed us into pristine deserted bays, little fishing villages and in between these sun-baked islands.

One such island on which we spent a day was called Spetses. We four girls had befriended the five others also on our yacht and spent a day exploring the island on quad-bikes. Spetses is a hilly island so the road gives you an elevated view over crystal-clear bays home to superyachts, over deserted coves, over the natural countryside of the island, and you can peel off the main road to visit various beaches. We spent the afternoon first at Anargiri beach (walking along the beach to dive off the rocks and find the spooky Bekiri’s cave) and then at Vrelos Beach at a great cocktail bar. This day was our favourite of the entire week and I have such vivid memories of the beach on which I took this photo. I’ve recommended sailing with friends in my list of ‘20 trips to take in your 20s‘ and I thoroughly suggest you add it to the travel wishlist post-pandemic.

For context, this trip was 2016, one of my favourite years of my 20s: I’d just finished my 7-month sabbatical from work, I’d recently handed in my notice at work after 4 years at the company, and I was shortly going to move abroad again to start my Master’s. I was excited for this new era in my life! That holiday also proved particularly monumental for one of the girls in our group – who is happily loved up and now has started a family with one of the men we met on the yacht!

What about the painting itself?

It’s painted in my favourite palette of blues and greens and I really enjoyed working on the surface of the water. The wisps of white in the bottom-right corner were last minute touches that don’t feature in the photo but they give the painting more depth and animation, in my opinion. Painting water is great fun because you can’t really get it wrong – it has so many forms and colours and motions that anything goes. Looking at bodies of water is also known to help with mental wellbeing and I’d happily fill my house with endless images of water!

In terms of areas for improvement, this painting has many. The yacht is fairly amateur and I need to work on these delicate silhouettes, with a thinner brush also. Silhouettes should never really be painted in black, no matter how they appear in the photo, and in this case it should instead be a shade of grey. I decided to skip the red buoys for fear of getting the proportions and dimensions wrong. The colours I painted are much more vibrant and saturated than the original photo, which on reflection looks much more pastel-toned. Overall, this was the simplest and quickest of my paintings so far due to the lack of intricate details, and that’s probably why it looks so different to the original photo.

I gave this painting as a birthday card to a friend of mine who was on that wonderful trip with me, so it’s no longer in my possession, but I’d happily paint it again if there were interest. The places I paint hold memories for me but also no doubt for others who have visited or have a special connection to a place. If you’d like to discuss purchasing a new version of this piece, or any of the other Well-Travelled Paintings, then just hit the ‘Enquire’ button below and I’ll be in touch. 

This piece was acrylic on card but could be reproduced on another format or dimension. Price upon enquiry.

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