A Virginia-based artist has released “The Lost Summer,” a new collection of saturated colors, textural layers and gestural marks inspired by her 2020 Greek summer plans which were cancelled due to the global pandemic.
Theodora Miller’s soulful creations from this collection go beyond her expression of Greek identity and carry universal themes of hope, perseverance and love.
“I’m very excited about ‘The Lost Summer’ because it is an authentic reflection of my artistic voice,” Miller told The Pappas Post. “The global pandemic put a halt to travel plans and family adventures that were years in the planning.”
Miller said the only way for her to travel to Greece this summer was to escape through paint and paper, reconnecting with “indelible memories” of the Greek sea and sand, ancient ruins, island hopping sunsets and meals on the edge of the Aegean.
The Richmond-based artist created all of the works at home from her garden surrounded by potted olive and fig trees — “instead of an olive grove in the Peloponnese,” she said.
Included in her collection are meditative abstract calligraphy paintings.
The artist calls these paintings “Perseverance,” a quality which she said is “greatly demonstrated” by so many people today. Her paintings come in colors inspired by fig leafs, fiery sunsets and every shade of the Aegean Sea.
“Throughout the tense months of stay at home orders and civil unrest, I chose the words of Greek poet Nikos Gatsos (1911-1992) who wrote, ‘And if you thirst for water, we will squeeze a cloud,'” Miller said.
Miller provided an explanation of her creative process when making her paintings:
“I need to detach myself from the heaviness that I feel. I start with handmade paper, the prettiest kind that you save for a really special project. I start by brushing solid blocks of color. As the base layer dries, I get lost in research about Greek poets (connecting with my heritage makes me feel brave). I search for wise words for modern times. When I find one that speaks to my heart, I memorize it and paint the words in the language of my ancestors, over and over in a meditative rhythm. My breath slows. My mind stops racing. For a moment I feel peace and hope.”
Another series of works included in Miller’s collection are her “Paradeiso”paintings.
This series is inspired by Greek writer, Nikos Kazantzakis who wrote, “You have the brushes, you have the colors, draw paradise and get in.”
“Isn’t that what we all dream of?” Miller said. “Creating the life that we want to live — with health, courage, philotimo and love?”
Miller says her favorites from the “Lost Summer” collection are an ode to her namesake grandmother’s birthplace — namely, the paintings “Vessels of Olympia” and “Dinner by the Sea.”
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