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Korcula Island, CroatiaTuesday, June 03, 2008 by Steve Hill
Filed under: Travel
Korcula Island, Croatia

Each island we visit becomes even more beautiful than the last. Since Krk(Kirk) we have been to the medieval ccoastal city of Zadar for two days then off to Dubrovnik, where we stayed nearby in a little village called Slano, nested on a fantastic small bay of the Adriatic. I didn't paint for those 5 days as we were simply awestruck by the visual impact of both cities, as well as the war (1992-96, when they were attacked by the Serbs and Monte Negro forces). Even Dubrovnik, which was heavily hit and is still re-building - although the casual visitor wouldn't really notice - as they are doing such a marvelous job of restoration. That city has a very long history of seiges, inflicted by both man and nature (huge earthquake in 1665 wiped-out most of the city, as well as another in the 1970's). It is the wars, though, that underscore the resilience of these people and their innate ability to always adjust. Hundreds of residents of Dubrovnik hid-out for weeks in an old fortress of the city wall (several feet thick, built of stone) in the 90's war while hundreds more were killed and thousands wounded. Hundrds of buildings were completely destroyed - one notable stat is they have replaced 490,000 roof tiles since 1996 and are still working.

Croatia Korcula old town
Croatia Korcula old town
The most poignant moment for me came when I discovered that the small village of Slano, where we rented an “apartmani” had been completely fire-bombed by the Serbs. Every building in the village, including the only resort hotel was fire bombed. The older buildings survived, structurely, as stone doesn't readily burn and roof tiles and interior walls can be replaced, which they have been doing for 12 years now. Even the church tower survived, which was a prime target all over Croatia for other villages, as we have observed. This comment made by the owner of our apartment (which was likewise nearly completely destroyed, but has been re-built to fine standards with more modern conveniences) that he is Croatian and his wife of 40 years is Serbian “You know, because we are who we are, (serb and Croatian) it is not good for us now in either country. We have these damned wars every 50 years and maybe this one will be the last.” He looked fifteen years older than his age and is obviously weary of the processes involved in “these damned wars”. While we see it on TV and read about it in the news, these small countries get a hands-on experience in real-time and it is ugly. Roadside signs here and there, still warn of land mines, with a skull and cross bones image.

It's very beautiful in Croatia again, most everything has been restored to it's former glory and it is all because of the strong spirit prevailing in these people. While they are a little trepiditous about joining the EU, which will happen in just months, they are also willing to look at a new union that might help to preclude “a damned war every 50 years” or so.

Croatia Korcula village
Croatia Korcula village
We have now taken thousands of photos (at least 400 just in Dubrovnik) for painting references and I am looking forward to using those in the studio. I am back to painting on-site again and have a couple of images here from the islands of Murter and now Korcula, where we are staying for one week. Today, it's off to Vela Luka, a town on the far west side of this island, ironically, the sister city of Anacortes, Washington, near where we live. The “Vela Luka” dancers of Anacortes, share a cultural weave through their native costumed dances and language preservation.

OK, I know I said these blogs would be only about the paintings, especially after the opus from Spain, but a lot of the painting process for me includes an added dimension, beyond just form, color and light and has much to do with human elements as well.

Reader Comments

1. Tuesday, June 03, 2008 @ 9:21:08 AM by Jim Bowra
Steve, Sounds like you are having a great time. I was excited to hear that you are in Korcula. Patrice and I were there the summer before last. We are anxious to see your paintings of the town. What a magical place. Lopez is doing just fine! Take care Jim
2. Tuesday, June 03, 2008 @ 10:49:06 AM by Trish
Hello Steve & Judy, I am loving the quickness that I feel in your paintings. They are a great way to vicariously travel with you. Sounds like a blast. We have rain again today but had sun yesterday. It is so green and beautiful when the sun shines. I am in the studio working on neutrals in large paintings. Must get out doors when I can. Keep up the good work. Have been trying to get to Lopez to see Penny but Haven't for the time yet. Peace trish
3. Tuesday, June 03, 2008 @ 11:37:15 AM by Aurore maren
Hi Steve and Judy, I am very very moved this morning, Tuesday June 3rd, reading your descriptions......What a blessing a add such a feeling perspective to your vivid works on canvas.........Yes, as the others have said it is raining very hard today......good for the fruit trees and the Robins pinching worms from the softened earth! Aurore

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