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]


Peter Town is a born storyteller gifted with an ability to translate both everyday quirks and deeper philosophical musing through his work. Often using strong lines, vibrant colours and symbolism in his pictures, Town has combined a long and successful career as a designer and entrepreneur with a vibrant artist portfolio. Many of Town’s paintings use strong shapes and primary colours, such as the Stairs series, whilst others are quieter and more contemplative as they represent a more tranquil inner space. His abstract series of prints and paintings represent works where the narrative is more ambiguous but ever-present. He sees landscapes, interior spaces and natural forms as abstract shapes and colours and transcribes these onto canvas. Having studied at Bath Academy of Art, Corsham in the era when Michael Craig-Martin, Ian Hamilton Finlay and Jim Dine wielded their influence, Town went on to the Royal College of Art. Taking advantage of his brilliance for being able to communicate ideas through illustration, Town went on to have a hugely successful career over four decades as a designer. Throughout, he has continued to paint and to develop his artistic style through drawings, acrylics, photography, and printmaking.