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