Status of Original Painting – For Sale
All prices are in Canadian dollars
Size: 13.25 x 20 inches
Medium: Watercolour on 300 lb Arches
This is the Temple of Poseidon, which is located atop a cliff at Cape Sounion, about 60 kilometers southeast of Athens, Greece. It is a wild spot with winds funneling through, making it a treacherous passage for sea vessels. It made sense to build this temple to pacify Poseidon, and for captain and crew to pray that he would make the ocean waters calmer for the voyage. It also served as a very recognizable reference point for navigation, just like a modern day lighthouse. It was constructed between 444 to 440 BC. Today 16 of its 38 columns are still standing, with four of them reconstructed during the 20th century. While painting the columns I recognized smoother segments that must be modern construction.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, I am painting scenes that I’d photographed during my international travels. This particular one has been on my mind since 2001 when I first visited Greece. The structure was awe-inspiring and majestic against a perfect blue and cloudless sky. I knew I had to paint it…and I looked at photos every year or two since, wanting to but deciding against because I felt there’s not enough in the scene to make it interesting. And I returned to it again two weeks ago and finally went through with it, and I’m glad that I’ve done so after 19 years. Is that dithering or dedication? It certainly shows how long a scene can haunt me until I put it to rest by recreating it with paint.
I was using film in 2001 and took my zoom lens only, to avoid carrying extra things around. That was a mistake. I quickly realized there was no way I could get the temple and any surrounding scenery without toppling off the cliff. From the vantage point I had, armed with a zoom lens, it’s a few inches from oblivion. Hence, the photos were of the temple only.
I was able to walk around the inside of the temple and could see graffiti etched into the columns. The words and names date back hundreds to thousands of years, and took much time to do with chisels and hammers; it certainly wasn’t the quick work of a modern graffiti artist with spray paint. Lord Byron’s name is there but apparently he didn’t do the deed; a friend did. But there were also some modern names in pen and marker too, which was disappointing to see. Judging from more recent photographs, I think the temple is now roped off so that tourists can only walk around the outside and not touch or deface it.