I lived in greece for 15 years.
i learned to speak the language fluently & love the country and it's people deeply. i was fully immersed in the culture, & didn't visit the states during that period. rather than feeling overwhelmed by this radically different culture, i felt i was remembering a past experience.
my teachers, all greek, including yannis tsarouchis, my then mother-in-law niki karagatsi and the painter yorgos manousakis , were also friends and mentors. over time, these relationships loosely developed into a what became known as the "athens school." the common thread was a realist portrayal of every day life. role models were byzantine icons and frescos as much as the nabis: vuillard and bonnard. i learned from the best to paint in the ancient greek & byzantine medium, egg tempera.
i exhibited in athens and salonica, as well as amsterdam and london. in athens, i showed exclusively at ora gallery, housed in a two story neoclassical building just off constitution square, brilliantly directed by the late assadour baharian. ora artistic & cultural center was ahead of its time, offering a rich library and presenting evenings of music and poetry as well as ongoing exhibitions; truly living up to the "cultural center" moniker.
the images on this page are representative of the large body of work produced during that period of my life, now in private, corporate and museum collections in greece, europe and the u.s.a.
i painted in my athens studio beneath the acropolis, overlooking the roman agora, as well as my studio on the sea in chora, capital of the cycladic island of andros. chora then had a population, now diminished, of about 2,000, and everyone knew what you had for breakfast.
it's main street, closed to motor vehicles, was paved in marble. every morning the fragrance of fresh baked cheese pies wafted through the air. what was then referred to as "turkish coffee" was served in characteristic tiny white cups at the coffee shop under the large plane tree. the sea surrounding the little peninsula that was chora was a deep blue and sea horses, now gone, pranced.
athens, now a city in distress, was at the time an idyllic dreamspace, filled with the fragrance of orange and lemon blossoms each spring. my studio for the greater part of that period overlooked the tower of the winds, which i painted many versions of. and i painted the construction workers who were close by. embodied in their beings and reflected in their bodies were their rich personal histories, as well their artistically brilliant byzantine and ancient past.
how they held their bodies was unique. i have never seen it in any other culture. there was a special blend of deep pride, fierce independence, humility, music, movement and a sweet, innocent goodness.