bad head cold, no studio work today but will post later in the day / by Philip Tarlow

3:18 PM update  the parade 20  photo on the left; the drawing on the right. these are sections of a photo shot at MOMA. this is an experiment; the continuity of the image is broken , and the resulting shapes echo the triangles of the serra sculpture.

i came down with a pretty intense head cold yesterday. likely a result of spending so much concentrated time in the classroom with sneezing, coughing kids. i'll go to the studio just to make sure the heat is working, then come back & work in the house. i'll post a bit later, but for now, here's something i wrote yesterday for a journalist in athens who is doing an article in the lead newspaper on artists who have painted athens:

BELOW: a few of the paintings i refer to in my written piece, both exhibited in my 2010 athens cityscapes exhibition at skoufa gallery.

The light in Athens is unique. Much has been written about the Attic landscape and light, but nothing can give you the experience of the χειμονιατικη λιακαδα. (a sparkling winter day) The feelings it engenders. How it sings.

Over the course of the 15 years I lived and painted in Athens, I began noticing many differences from the colors I was used to in the States. Mainly, there was a pervasive warm reddish-yellowish tone, as opposed to the blueish tones in the U.S. It was as if, on a good day, everything had been doused in honey. 

But there is more to it than that. Never, in all my travels, have I experienced more “paintable” people than the Greeks. Which is why, when I painted my “Parade” series. based upon photos of a parade on Skoufa Street, even though they were done in my Colorado studio, it was so effortless and pleasurable to paint the figures observing and participating in the parade.

They were all in their bodies, relaxed in a very particular way. And why, when I painted my series of construction workers in my Plaka studio in the mid ’70’s, there was not one who came to my studio that I couldn’t paint. Or when, on the ferry to Andros, Niki Karagatsi and I would draw the voyagers reading their paper or lovers hugging, we were always transported to a magical, timeless space.

In 2009, when I was preparing for my exhibition of Athens citiscapes at Skoufa Gallery, Mikela and I would get up at the crack of dawn, leave our rental apartment just off Skoufa, and walk towards the university, stopping whenever there was something I wanted to photograph for use in a painting. It was early and the traffic was still very light. The weather was perfect, the light crisp, clear, warm. The people waiting at the bus stop on Panepistimou were bathed in honey-colored light. The sun, still low in the winter sky, raked the sides of their heads....maybe the tip of a shoe. Although Athens had certainly transformed from what I first encountered in the mid-60’s, the magic was alive and well