Oil paintings in Greece -Makyneia.

Σπιτάκι με μπουγάδα. Little Greek house with washing line and grapevine.
This is how it started out, as a charcoal sketch, directly onto the canvas.
Avyi’s magical garden. Ο μαγικός κήπος της Αυγής στην Μακύνεια.
Moody Mountains from Avyi’s Garden

Τοπίο Μετά από την βροχή

How a painting begins… midsummer in Greece!

Its scorching hot, in the middle of the day in Greece, but have found a shady spot underneath a fig tree in a secluded corner of Galaxidi. The easel is up and the painting sketched out in charcoal directly onto the 80 x 60 cm canvas, underpainted in cerulean blue oils. Semi-squishy fallen figs get stuck on my sandals, but at least I found a subject quickly and have made a start. Its my last full day in Greece so need to work fast!

Charcoal sketch for an oil painting. Light and shade creates fascinating patterns on the ground beneath an olive and a mandarin orange tree.
Photo of the scene taken at the start.
Easel set up in a shady spot
Paints laid out neatly
The first few brushstokes indicating the most exciting areas of light and colour. This is contrary to how I usually work, building up from one section to the next, but am too excited to see it begin to take shape.
Its coming on slowly…

Oil painting in Samos, Greece, by Ask

I love Greece, and all her people, but most of all love the old ways of life, and the old traditions. As I used to live in the north of Greece, in Thessaloniki, I read and write and speak fluent Greek, so its easy to feel Greek too!

This painting though was initially captured as a photo on my phone, as it was my last day in Samos, and was actually on my way to the airport, but had diverted on the spur of the moment, to take one last look at Manolates and to try to track down the lady I had heard wove traditional rag rugs on a handloom. I was standing outside her little shop while she package up my parcel, when I spotted this delightful old man walking up the hill, using a walking stick, so quickly positioned myself to get the ideal shot on my phone, as he approached the blue doors but without covering the view of another man casually sitting in front of that same door. Success!

It was several months later though when I finally got round to turning that initial idea into an oil painting.

Greek oil painting by Elaine Ask
Oil on canvas 41x61cm. Finished Oil painting by Ask in Μανωλάτες Samos, Greece.

It starts though by underpainting the canvas in diluted blue oil paint, then sketching out the image in charcoal.

Greek painting as it is sketched out in charcoal
First Ask sketches the subject in charcoal on a blue underpainted canvas
Oil painting in Greece by Ask
Oil painting in the making by Elaine Ask, in Manolates – Μανωλάτες – Samos, Greece. 2020

Then gradually adding the main features of the people in the painting

Oil painting by ASK , nearly finished
Oil on Canvas by Ask, as the oil painting nears completion

Its for sale at £850, though I now prefer to keep all my work!

Contact Elaine Ask on +_447990867058 to arrange the purchase or buy it and pay online on Etsy https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ElaineAskArtist

Samos – Oil Painting by Ask: Misty mountains, sunlit house, and three short-sleeved black shirts.

Its mid October on the Greek island of Samos. From the terrace above my little Airbnb house in Palaio Karlovasi, the views are perfect in every direction for painting.

The mountains opposite have a dreamy layer of mist floating below the peaks. Below that olive trees grow in red earth, and to the right a whole forest flourishes. Its the next level below that, that really catches my eye. A glowing white, red roofed house has three black short-sleeved shirts paraded like flags below the balcony. A large church building, Aghios Isidoros, hides the rest of the foreground from view. I make the church of lesser importance, and bring the house with the washing line much closer, as that is really my main subject.

Today the sky is flecked with clouds looking like horizontal brushstrokes, so that is where I start after sketching out the main outlines.

View as the camera sees it, later in the day.

The painting in situe on my easel

Now you see the view through my eyes!

Oil painting by Elaine Ask in Nottingham

"Garden in Nottingham"
Oil on Canvass 410 x 410 mm May 2011 by Elaine Ask
“Garden in Nottingham”
Oil on Canvass 410 x 410 mm May 2011

This garden is in Washdyke Lane, Hucknall, Nottingham. The owner, who sadly has since passed away, was holding an artists’ get together . We were encouraged to be productive so I brought along my oil paints, and this smallish square canvass and set up my easel in his garden. Fortunately it didn’t rain and it was warm enough to be comfortable standing outside all afternoon. I was forced to think carefully about what to leave out in order to make this painting work , using only his garden as the subject. The bench, the garage and a few flowers were enough to create what you see here.

Little Fishing Boat in Samos

Little Greek Fishing Boat in Samos - by Elaine Ask 2019
300 x 400 mm Oil on Canvass
Little Greek Fishing Boat in Samos – by Elaine Ask 2019
300 x 400 mm Oil on Canvass
Little Greek Fishing Boat in Samos – by Elaine Ask 2019
300 x 400 mm Oil on Canvass
Ψαροκάϊκο στη Σάμο

Sometimes the canvass you have to work with, doesn’t quite match the proportions of what you wish to include in it. See a photo below of the actual scene.

Photo of the same scene taken before starting on the painting above. Here you see that the boat is more elongated than eventually depicted in the oil painting, and of course my favourite ultramarine blue predominates moving away from an accurate colour rendition of the sea.

Pencil and Watercolour Drawing of Saskia Aged 3

Pencil and Watercolour Drawing of Saskia aged 3, by Elaine Ask 1982 owned by Saskia Kouyioumtzi 300 x 200 mm
Saskia aged 3 eating her supper at Hare Park Lane where we lived in the 1980s

This style of drawing is one of my favourite where the lively pencil sketch from life is the main element of the composition , then overlaid with a light watercolour wash to allow the structure to still be viewed while also adding a dimension of colour.

Oil Painting Every-Day Life Scenes

In this oil painting by Elaine Ask, Saskia sits in an armchair, staring at the TV, though you don't see the TV.
“Saskia Aged 15”
Framed Oil on Canvass
1994

This is a homely domestic scene. The teenager has an almost vacant, look, as she sits watching TV, and certainly doesn’t appear to be that happy. You can’t see what she is thinking, as she is wrapped up in her own little world. Its evening time, and in the top left hand corner of the painting, adjacent to a small plant, the little lamp on top of the wooden desk casts reflected colours onto the desk itself and the wall to the right, on which a painting of a child playing the violin hangs. The armchair on which she sits has a yellow cellular blanket draped over it, while the second armchair next to her is adorned with colourful cushions. On the far left is a patterned carpet/rug.

So many colours and patterns, yet somehow they all hang together!

Greek villagers in Sarti, Halkidiki.  An oil painting by Elaine Ask 
oil on Canvass 1984
Greek Villagers Sorting Out Their Crop of Beans
Oil on Canvass 1984
610 x 457 mm

Another painting from life , created ten years earlier than the one shown above, depicts Greek villagers going about their business in the summer of 1984