have paints, will travel

I’ve been on some amazing trips over the past six months and I always try to bring my paints along, so here is an update with the places I’ve been and the paintings I’ve made while traveling.  Enjoy!


JUNE 30. Two of my Greek friends just got married, and they invited a whole gang of friends from NYC to come on their honeymoon in Mykonos!  We started planning the trip a year ago and it was an incredible adventure to discover Greece with Greeks who knew all the secret spots.  The trip was not without a touch of anxiety, however. The morning after the wedding in Thessaloniki, I left my oil paints in a hotel, and spent the first few days on Mykonos mourning my absentmindedness… I was forced to experiment with my watercolors – a hidden blessing, perhaps?  Then I was saved when a friend who traveled after us brought my paints to me.  Anyway, that’s why theres only a few small oil paintings from my time in Mykonos. It could also be because we were busy hiking through ancient ruins, sailing, exploring beaches, staying out late, and enjoying the food!



Painting on the beach in Mykonos


reunited with my paints!


6″x9″ sketch from Mykonos, July 2014


exploring the ruins on Delos Island with the gang


Clean lines and colors in the local archtecture


Mykonos, July 2014


Portrait of the Groom, Leonidas Trampoukis. 4″x4″ oil paint and sand (it was VERY WINDY on the beach that day!)


Portrait of the bride, Eleni Petaloti … 4″x4″ oil on panel … less sand here because I was smart enough to put this one in the car right away! I gave these two small portraits to Leo & Eleni for their wedding present.


JULY 4th.  After Mykonos, I traveled to Volos where my friend  Joel has been living for the past 9 years.  Joel’s wife Anna is from Athens, and together they decided to settle down in this area where they are raising their two sons and restoring an old stone house in the mountainous region known as Pelion or Pilios.  Joel is an architect and a stone mason, and the house is a work of art, honoring old world tradition and full of personal details like custom woodworking and stone carvings, all made by Joel himself. It was really wonderful to see this project in progress and to see what Joel and Anna’s life is like in Greece. During this part of my journey, I explored a very different landscape in the mountains.  While Mykonos is extremely hot, dry and windy, the mountains of Pelion seem to be gushing with spring water everywhere I looked.  The forest felt like a jungle, which reached right down to the pristine white beaches of the Agean sea.


The view from Joel’s house in Paleskastron, Mt. Pelion region, Greece July 2014


exploring the village Agios Laventios, Mt Pelion region, Greece, July 2014


9″x12″ oil on canvas, Fakistra beach, Mt Pelion region, Greece.


painting in Agios Laventios … these villages are all built on steep mountain sides and usually have one avenue for cars and the rest is accessed by narrow cobblestone pedestrian walkways like this


painting on Fakistra Beach … happy to be in the shade! Temperatures were in the 90’s


this is Paleokastron, the tiny settlement where my friends Joel & Anna are restoring an old stone house


Joel & Anna’s house in Paleokastron


A typical view looking out over the village roofs of Agios Laventios, the Pagasetic Gulf in the Agean Sea and the city of Volos. This mountainous area is the mythical home of the centaurs, unusually lush and green for Greece.


June 1. I had a few days to paint on Plum Island, a magical spot north of Boston that is largely protected by the Parker National Wildlife Refuge. A few years ago, I sold my first big commission to a couple who have their permanent home here in Plum Island. I got to see my painting hanging in their house and spend a few days exploring the marshes and wetlands here. This trip was a real teaser, I only had a few days to paint, but I plan to go back later this summer for more!


The refuge is accessed by these boardwalks so that hikers don’t disturb the nesting birds



It rained one morning, so I did this sketch from the car …


then later I made this painting using my memory and the sketch as reference. fun challenge! The birds are plovers, which were nesting in the marshes. 


May 26th. Rob Gorski and I spent a few days on Rabbit Island doing some spring cleaning and preparing the camp for this summer’s artists in residence.  The Keweenaw peninsula endured one of the coldest, snowiest winters on record this year – for the first time since 1979 Lake Superior froze solid!  When we were there in late May, the ice was still breaking up, which is quite unusual. We spent 3 days on the island witnessing the melting icebergs.  I made a few iceberg sketches out there, and I took a fearsome plunge into the water, which was about 34 degrees out there!  You can see some of Rob’s pictures and read more on the Rabbit Island blog: http://www.rabbitisland.org



Rob navigating the icebergs on our way out to Rabbit Island


He left me on an iceberg!


A tiny iceberg sketch



Yeow! that was cold!



A rare springtime treat of wild fiddleheads. I stir fried them with garlic and olive oil, served on pasta it was a nice lunch!


Spring cleaning


February 2. These paintings are from a midwinter trip to Costa Rica!  I went with my yoga teacher Christine Hoar, who is also an avid surfer.  This was a very active vacation – we practiced Ashtanga yoga every morning, followed by at least two surf sessions!  The surfing was super and I also did these paintings, which were quickly snapped up as souvenirs by other people on the yoga retreat. It was a very successful vacation!









Surfing in paradise


waking up at 5 AM to paint the sunrise


up & at ’em! early bird gets the worm!




7 thoughts on “have paints, will travel

  1. Emilie! What a wonderful adventure. I’m so happy for you and thank you for sharing. Like I’ve said before, I live vicariously through your shared experiences. I especially enjoy reading them after getting off from work. Congratulations on the sales! I hope to be seeing you around GCA.
    Stay safe ; )

  2. wonderful work
    I’d love to see what six colors and brushes you use to generate such varied and beautiful land- and seascapes. Also what kind of rig you use to transport wet oil paintings!

    • Thanks Lydia! I actually use more than 6 colors … and I;m still experimenting with which colors I need and don’t need. On this trip, cerulean blue was really nice to have for the bright turquoise waters. For my easel, I use a tripod and the Open box M which is a great lightweight option for landscape painting. To transport wet paintings, I have to be strategic and paint them in the first half of my trip to leave a few days of drying time before packing my bags. I’ll post some pictures of my kit in my next blog post!

      • Thanks so much Emilie. I am comforted to know you have more than the six tubes I spotted in that photo! And I thought I spotted some manganese blue in that water – interested that cerulean did it.

  3. Beautiful work Emilie. I just returened from a trip to Santorini, Mikonos, and some other islands and will be starting a Mikonos image today. Still deciding on which one to focus on, but think it needs to include the turq water!

  4. Nice paintings. Especially your Pelion mountain village. I’ve been there and recently did one similar, but not as good as yours. Rick P.

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