the birthplace of western civilisation

#mythicalseascapes – myth and legend

Cephallania, to give this Ionian island its name from antiquity, is forever linked to Homer’s Odyssey as the birthplace of the wandering Odysseus. Although the small neighbouring island of Ithaca is often credited with this honour, it is generally accepted that Cephalonia is the island from which he set out on his epic journey. Here, stark white hills rise from the clear blue sea, and small towns and villages crowd into rocky inlets along the coast. Evidence of the devastating earthquake that struck the island in 1953 is everywhere, with ruined buildings still rising from the tangled undergrowth that has reclaimed them. Alongside new whitewashed buildings one can still find evidence of the Mycenaean era (c.1500-1100 BC) in the form of ancient tombs, as well as Roman burial sites and theatres.

An area steeped in myth and legend encourages reality to shift, and distant islands appear to float above cerulean seas; the distant haze flattens any sense of distance or perspective, creating a natural abstract. The lack of scale makes the islands appear both far way and close in turn, inviting the traveller to cross over and set forth again just as the ancient Greeks did on their epic voyages. It was something of this mystery that I was attempting to capture in my paintings.

studies exploring space and distance
One of a number of studies exploring space and distance [Cat: 0275, Cephalonia # 2, 5 x 7″ / 13 x 18 cm, Oil on canvas, 2012]