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Portrait of Lucrezia Borgia by Bartolomeo Veneto [Wikimedia]

Portrait of Lucrezia Borgia by Bartolomeo Veneto [Wikimedia]

At some point in the 1980s, life was going particularly badly — plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose — and my dear, late friend, actor, writer and director Bill Moody, decided that to be reaping so many challenges, I must have been Lucrezia Borgia in a past life. I now begin to think he was absolutely right!

Some of you may have noticed that I was visiting your blogs again yesterday. Has my sight been restored? Nope.

There’s good news and there’s bad news.

The bad news is that I learned from the British ophthalmologist that the cataract operation on my left eye that was done in Crete a year ago was so out-of-date that the Isle of Wight specialist had not performed that particular procedure for twenty years.

The good news is that he was able to remove the stitch at the front of the eyeball. This, sadly, has made only minimal difference to the vision but enough to be able to read a little better and see pictures in more detail. The difference was not immediately apparent but became clear (pun intended) about lunchtime yesterday.

The bad news is that all the other stitches from that operation are still in the eyeball and deeply embedded.

The good news is he doubts these are affecting my vision and would prefer to leave them untouched unless later events change his mind.

The bad news is that should the need arise, it’s major surgery for the eyeball.

The next piece of news is good and bad. There is scar tissue that’s developed over the months from, I think, that one stitch he took out but it can be removed by laser and within the month.

In the meantime, I am now on the waiting list for a cataract operation on the right eye. Hurrah!

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

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Oh, the frustration of not being able to see clearly enough to create some new art or read all your blogs! In the meantime…

Original & vintage art © First Night Design [www.firstnightdesign.wordpress.com]

Source: At the Going Down of the Sun Round Clock | Zazzle

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


FROM THE ARCHIVE 15/11/2013

The other day I was studying an old photograph that I had taken while on holiday in Crete of the Venetian Harbour in Chania. I was wondering what I could do with it.  In fact, I’d been lookin…

Source: Four Works: Digital Art, Master Photographers & Vintage Delights


The last time I visited Knossos, it was a school cruise in, I think, 1973. Since moving here, I’ve not been. This has to be rectified but in the meantime, here’s a lovely post from my blogger friend, M.L.Kappa, describing her visit accompanied by her grandchildren.

On the island of Crete, which lies nearer to the coast of Africa than to the Greek mainland, a brilliant civilization flourished from approximately 3650 to 1400 BCE. It was rediscovered at the begi…

Source: The Minoans | Letters from Athens


In the mid-1990s, after a delightful holiday in Crete with a dear friend, she and I decided we wanted to buy a bolt-hole on the island. I planned to spend half the year in Crete to give my health (or lack of it) the warmth it desperately needed.

At the Going Down of the Sun 
At the Going Down of the Sun (coastline, Chania, Crete)

But life, as John Lennon and others before him said, has a way of happening when you’re making other plans and we never did buy that bolt-hole.

Lighthouse in the Mist Post Cards
(Chania) Lighthouse in the Mist

Cut to September 2008 and Mr FND and I went on our first proper holiday after thirteen years together, prompted by my having four TIAs (mini strokes) in the May. We knew we had to change our lives and a holiday was a priority.
We settled on Chania and the rest is history. I think that even before we got on the plane at Gatwick, we knew we would move to this glorious island permanently. It may, at this time in history, be part of Greece, but there is something different about the island and an atmosphere that is quite unlike the mainland.

Lighthouse in Chania iPad Mini Cover
Lighthouse in Chania iPad Mini Cover

DAKOS

Dakos

© Sarah Vernon

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Crete has the healthiest diet in the Mediterranean. The island has the agriculture, the chefs and the recipes to make your stomach and your doctor very happy! The tavernas and cafés in the tourist areas of Chania, the nearest city to the village of Chorafakia — primarily round the Venetian Harbour — are, alas, not the place to find great Greek or Cretan food but venture into the cobbled streets of the Old Town or up into the mountains and you will often find places to eat that can fulfill your every Cretan dream.

We’ve probably all heard of Moussaka and Tzatziki but unless you are partly or wholly Greek or have spent many years having Greek holidays, you may not have heard of many of the staple mezes or snacks. One such are Dakos, which originated in Chania.  These are barley rusks (twice-baked bread) topped with fresh tomatoes, feta or mizithra cheese, olive oil and oregano. Simple but delicious … and healthy!

Details of how to create Dakos at home can be found at Maria Verivaki’s blog, Organically Greek. She writes:

‘This is the healthiest salad snack you can imagine. It has been immortalised all over Greece and is famous for its Hania origins. It is served in practically every single restaurant, taverna, café or kafeneio in the province. It is extremely easy to make. I don’t know why it’s called dackos (or dakos, or dako for that matter); the same name is also used for the troublesome fly that infests olives and ruins olive trees.’

Scorched Earth Greeting Card
Scorched Earth Greeting Card (Chania’s Venetian Harbour)

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Decaying Light © Sarah Vernon

Decaying Light © Sarah Vernon

After the success of Scorched Earth both here and in my galleries, I couldn’t resist trying the same process with the 2 Lil’ Owls texture—2LO Distressed 21—on my Chania lighthouse photograph. However, instead of Photoshop’s Overlay mode, I used Soft Light. I tweaked the tones of both the photograph and the texture so that the overall effect had more red than in Scorched Earth, or a Titian tone as I like to call it: such a lovely word.

Regular readers will know I do a lot of tweaking but I haven’t mentioned it for a while. I’m saying this just in case you experiment with the same processes I describe using similar photos or textures and discover you end up with something that doesn’t come close! For exact descriptions of what you can achieve in Photoshop, do visit Syd at DigitalLady. I don’t like to give away all my secrets!

I dedicate this post to the friends who commented on The Magic Lighthouse by saying how fond they were of lighthouses, a passion I share, as I think you may have guessed. Do visit these lovely blogs, all very different to each other. In no particular order I give you:

Beetley Pete
Yesterday After
Just Olga
Aquileana
Living with Batman

Available at the following galleries:
Redbubble
Crated
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK
Fine Art America
Fine Art England
Saatchi Art

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Venetian Harbour, Chania © Sarah Vernon

Venetian Harbour, Chania © Sarah Vernon

This photograph of the Venetian Harbour in Chania, Crete, was taken by me on this occasion and not Mr FND! My idea was to create a watercolour with the gentle lines of a preparatory drawing showing through.

My first layer was the bluewatercolor from Angie Makes in Photoshop’s Normal mode. This I followed with the Beguiling-18 texture from 2 Lil’ Owls in Linear Burn. As you can see, I’m getting a lot of mileage out of those two backgrounds! Next came the Venetian Harbour which I put in Screen mode. To create the line drawing, I used the Trace Contour tool; this is not the best tool in the world but since I wanted the bare minimum showing, I knew it could work. To top it off, I used another 2 Lil’ Owls texture, 2LO Confetti 8. Putting the latter in Multiply mode was the perfect finishing touch.

The original harbour photograph © Sarah Vernon

The original harbour photograph © Sarah Vernon

The last time I tried to create a watercolour effect with this photo — some years ago now — it was disastrous and very obviously ‘Photoshopped’ using their ‘watercoloor’ tool. Not a good idea. I’m much happier this time round!

Incidentally, the mosque in the centre of the picture is the Mosque of the Janissaries, now an art gallery. If you ever find yourself in the harbour, by all means have a drink but don’t, whatever you do, eat a meal. The quality is appalling and you would be better off going up the side streets to find good, authentic food. Most important of all, avoid the taverna that sells very pink and very green cocktails — coloured fizzy water at best! We were each offered one for free having allowed the owner to do a quick run round the harbour on my mobility scooter. Never again!

Here, for your delectation, is a recipe for what looks and sounds like an excellent green cocktail from MyBestCocktails.com:

minttu

Minttu

Ingredients
1 oz Malibu Rum
1 oz Cuban Rum
1 oz Batida de Coco
2/3 oz Midori
1 oz Pineapple Juice
6 leaves Mint Leaves

  1. Shake all ingredients in a shaker with ice.
  2. Pour into a tall glass with some ice.
  3. Enjoy!

No, I’ve never come across Midori either!

Available at the following galleries:
Redbubble
Crated
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK
Fine Art America
Fine Art England
Saatchi Art

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


One can get very sick of sunsets. At least, I can. It’s rare for me to find a sunset photograph exceptional. I find Silhouette Sunset exceptional and I can say that with impunity because it was captured by Mr FND and not me! He took it from a beach on the Akrotiri Peninsular in Crete, near to where we live. Looking at makes me exceedingly peaceful.

Silhouette Sunset Laptop Skin © Sarah VernonSilhouette Sunset Laptop Skin © Sarah Vernon


‘When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator.’ Mahatma Gandhi


sunsetcushionfaa
Silhouette Sunset Cushion © Sarah Vernon

Available at the following galleries:
Redbubble
Crated
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK
Fine Art America
Fine Art England
Saatchi Art

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Nous sommes arrivés © Sarah Vernon

Nous sommes arrivés © Sarah Vernon

This is another of my moody ocean pieces. The original photograph is one taken by Mr. FND of a small boat off the coast of west Crete. Adding the 2LO Haunting 14 texture (multiply mode in Photoshop) from 2 Lil’ Owls (bought via Design Cuts) created such a mysterious and dream-like feel to it that I wanted to do no more but display it for your delectation or otherwise!

I am way behind on uploading my images to the various galleries so this one is not yet for sale.

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Originally posted on First Night Design.

Stormy Weather @ First Night Design

Stormy Weather @ First Night Design

The other day I was studying an old photograph that I had taken while on holiday in Crete of the Venetian Harbour in Chania. I was wondering what I could do with it.  In fact, I’d been looking at it and wondering for some years because it doesn’t stand alone as a photograph.  It wasn’t until I was going through my cache of background textures for another piece that inspiration struck. I chanced upon a photograph of moss-covered rock which,  combined with the harbour, formed the basis of an image I could work on.  A number of tweaks here and several blending changes there (in Photoshop, as usual) enabled me to create this kind of dirty Canaletto-crossed-with-J M W Turner, if you will!

The Gloria Swanson Tattoo was inspired by Edward Steichen‘s well-known headshot of the Hollywood actress covered in lace and held by the Museum of Modern Art. I had remembered it as an image by Man Ray so it is just as well that I checked.  Both photographers were renowned for their Hollywood and fashion photography in the 1920s and 1930s. The Swanson photo (Hello-Tuesday) and the vintage wallpaper (MGB-Stock) image  I used to create the lace effect…

via Four Works: Digital Art, Master Photographers & Vintage Delights | First Night Design.



“Books are carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculations at a standstill. Books are the engines of change, windows on the world, ‘lighthouses’ (as the poet said) ‘erected in the sea of time.’ They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind. Books are humanity in print.” Barbara Tuchman


Available at the following galleries:
Redbubble
Crated
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK
Fine Art America
Fine Art England

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah



Never talk to a client about architecture. Talk to him about his children. That is simply good politics. He will not understand what you have to say about architecture most of the time. An architect of ability should be able to tell a client what he wants. Most of the time a client never knows what he wants. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe


Romance in Stone Postcard
Romance in Stone Postcard

This is one of my earliest efforts with textures and handwriting over a photograph of a street in Chania. I knew so much less about how to use Photoshop in those days but it still pleases me that it came out as it did. Another of those happy accidents.

Available at the following galleries:
Redbubble
Crated
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK
Fine Art America
Fine Art England
Saatchi Art

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah



“Gently the waves would break (Lily heard them in her sleep); tenderly the light fell (it seemed to come through her eyelids). And it all looked, Mr. Carmichael thought, shutting his book, falling asleep, much as it used to look years ago.”
― Virginia WoolfTo the Lighthouse

I’ve been at it again with lighthouses. I do love them. If I had my way, I’d live in a lighthouse. Mind you, it would have to have a special lift all the way up to the top. I envy anyone I read about who buys and renovates a lighthouse as a family home. Heaven!

The original photograph is one I took last month when my niece was staying. It’s the lighthouse that juts out from the Venetian Harbour in Chania which is twenty minutes away from our home in Crete. I plan to make this available for sale also.

lighthouseblog


“Man must behave like a lighthouse; he must shine day and night for the goodness of everyman.” ― Mehmet Murat ildan


Available at the following galleries:
Redbubble
Crated
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK
Fine Art America
Fine Art England
Saatchi Art

See also:
Lighthouse Impasto
Lighthouse in Chania

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


My title says it all. I’m too weary to struggle so unless I can brave the cold for the local taverna with a WiFi connection, I won’t be visiting, liking and commenting on your blogs at the moment. Forgive me.

I worked out a long time ago that I’m on this earth to learn patience but this amount of patience? Give me a break!

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah (cold, miserable and really very pissed off!)


A direct contrast to the feel of yesterday’s Song for Freedom, Land, Ho! is another design from a few years ago that centres on my photograph of an abandoned fishing boat in Nea Chora in Chania on the island of Crete, and to which I added textures from Shadowhouse Creations.

To say ‘abandoned’ is, perhaps, to stretch the truth since one sees many apparently abandoned boats  (and houses) on this island that have not been abandoned but have been worked on for years without any sign of improvement! When it comes to the dilapidated houses, it can be assumed that the owners are a disparate collection of family members who have inherited the property and who can’t agree on what should be done with it. It is so sad to see them going by the board as they are often three or four hundred years-old and beautiful examples of Venetian or Ottoman Empire architecture.

Land Ho!
If I get my hands on a dollar bill
Gonna buy a bottle and drink my fill.
[Lyrics to Land Ho by The Doors]

Available at the following galleries:
Redbubble
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

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