Oil painting in Chios

Elli’s Garden 2021- Oil on Canvass 50×70

I loved the way the light danced momentarily on the walls before again being overtaken by the shadows, as the steps disappeared behind the trees, obscuring the secret orange grove.

Μ’αρεσαν της αλλαγές φωτισμού στην διάρκεια της ημέρας, και της καμπύλες που μου παρουσιαζοταν τα δέντρα και την κληματαριά, καθώς και τα σκαλοπάτια μου έχουν μια, αίσθηση μυστήριο.

Stone Steps in Elli’s Garden. Τα Σκαλοπάτια στο Κήπο της Έλλης.

Αυτό το έργο έχει το ίδιο θέμα με το προηγούμενο προηγούμενο, αλλά με με πιο γλυκό φως και από μια άλλη πλευρά. Έτσι έχει γίνει πιό ποιητικό.

This painting is of the same subject as the one above, but is seen from a different angle and at a later time in the day so has a gentler light, making it seem more poetic.

Τοπιο στην Νέα Μονη Χίου. View from Nea Moni, Chios

A friend of mine wanted to visit Nea Moni to light a candle in memory of her late father, so while we were there I enjoyed this view so much, that I chose it for my next painting. The late morning light was very strong so each segment in the composition is clearly defined. The monastery itself was directly behind me, so anyone who knows it will recognise this view..

Η Παρέα στο Καρνάγιο, Dimitri’s Boatyard.

I’ve watched Dimitris over the years, working and socialising in his boatyard, so to celebrate my tenth visit to Chios to see my long-standing friend Elli and her family, it seemed fitting to create this painting of an everday scene forever rembered. I finished it just in time as my flight was due to leave so it’s staying where it will be loved.

Πηγαίνω στην Χίο κάθε 2 ως 3 χρόνια, και μια αφού ήταν η δέκατη φορά φέτος, διάλεξα να ζωγραφίσω και που είναι κοντά στην καρδιά της φίλης μου, την Έλλη, και να ζωγραφίσω το χώρο όπου παλεύει καθημερινός ο άνδρας της, ο καράβομαραγκός Δημήτρης. Έρχονται συχνά και οι πελάτηες του, και οι φίλοι, να κάθονται κάτω από την κληματαριά να πιούνε ένα καφεδάκι παρέα.

Oil Painting by Ask Artist in Greece Παλαιό Αρχοντικό Σπίτι στη Φούρκα, Κασσάνδρα.

As I walked into the nearby village, this battered old house struck me, as it is reminiscent of traditional houses from the last century, that were the prerogative of the well to do. It now lies empty, unloved, but its grandeur lives on. Its on the main road so although I knew I wanted to paint it, when I came back the next day alone, I set my easel on the opposite side of the road, on waste ground overlooking the garden of another property, so was able to paint in peace and also to include the blue and the pink flowers.

A cluster of local children soon gathered around me with the usual 5, 000 questions. “Τι ζωγραφίζετε;” – “What are you painting”, and ‘Αν επιτρέπετε, πόσο χρονών είστε;” – “If I may ask, how old are you”! And that from a ten year old!

When they heard the reply they politely said “Δεν φαίνεστε” – “You don’t appear that old” which I guess compared to the Greek γιαγιάδες (grandma’s or simply old ladies) is probably true, as I was in a skimpy dress and not all in black!

Anyway night fell before I had finished, but I was still putting the final brushstrokes for that day when a man came up in his car, and insisted that I move, so he could park in that particular spot, even though there was plenty of room at the side of me!

So I packed up, feeling a little deflated, but fortunately was able to finish the painting two days later.

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

Μπουγανβιλλια, Bougainvillea

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!

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.

Pastel Drawings in Greek Taverna

"Greek Taverna at Night"
 "Ελληνική ταβέρνα τη νύχτα"
Pastel Drawing by Elaine Ask 1986 410 x 290 mm unframed


“Greek Taverna at Night”
“Ελληνική ταβέρνα τη νύχτα”
Pastel Drawing by Elaine Ask 1986
410 x 290 mm
520 x 420 mm framed
"Greek Taverna"
 "Ελληνική Tαβέρνα"
Pastel Drawing by Elaine Ask 1986 410 x 290 mm unframed
520 x 420 mm framed
“Greek Taverna”
“Ελληνική Tαβέρνα”
Pastel Drawing by Elaine Ask 1986
410 x 290 mm
520 x 420 mm framed

I don’t often draw in pastel, but fortunately these two favourite pastel drawings have survived 33 years to date!