Christopher Johnson | The Walk to Helena's Church
'Helena is the daughter of friends of mine from Zimbabawe,whose Anglo Greek father has a family home on the island of Ithaca which I have spent time painting on over the past ten years.
A part of the routine of having time on Ithaca is visiting the favoured swimming spots,this one having a double significance as the church is named after Helena's great grandmother, whose husband was a ship's captain and the church sits to the side of the estuary of Vathy Harbour. It is tiny, but beautifully and simply kept.
Walking out of it into the sun,you are swallowed up by the landscape tilting against the waves. A few steps down from there are some rocks which launch you into the sea, brightly cold from the current. Some strokes in and looking back at the church, there is no mistaking the iridescence of the Mediterranean, and the undercurrents of its mythologies hustling you.
Thinking about being there and now wanting to describe how I have painted it feels fatuous in comparison. Helena, who is a painter would laugh at me writing this, and she would agree, as she is passionate about this place. Perhaps that is why the paintings take so long, often over years because the spell of the place resists an easy definition. Why one returns again and again, the walk through the hot thorny path, the coolness of the chapel, the waves breaking against the steps and the plunge into the water. This water cleans the dust off your eyes and helps you to see the world anew, and the world aright.
The medium on canvas is oil/beeswax mixed by Christopher called Maroger which he uses by building and scraping back thick layers of paint. Sculpting this wonderful texture to produce these beautiful paintings which are often worked on for years.'
85 cm h x 100 w.
Click here to read Christopher's biography.
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