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Bill painting in Hydra.

Evening Landfall, Mykonos.

Living the dream’ – painting in the Greek islands.

In 1973, I left my successful, but very stressful graphic design practice, to live with my wife and four-year-old son on the Greek island of Rhodes. We stayed there, in the village of Lindos, for six months, right through their spring and summer. We quickly settled into the pace of ‘island life’, making new friends – a little band of fellow expatriates, as well as our Greek neighbours. We found ourselves living in a beautiful 400 year old stone house with a pebble courtyard and a lovely painted ceiling, but no bathroom or hot water. We heated water on a little gas stove and bathed in a plastic dish in the courtyard.

A typical day in midsummer – rise at 6 to go out painting – back in the cool house by 11 to work on the kitchen table – late afternoon, down to the beach, swimming and collecting coloured pebbles. Dining with friends in a village taverna, dancing to Greek music. I was able to sell my paintings in a gallery in the main town of Rhodes. It was a life-changing experience.

Upon our return, I established a painting school in Eltham, only to be lured back to the graphic design industry after 5 years, although still painting and exhibiting in Sydney and Melbourne. Over the years, we returned numerous times to the village that we had come to regard as our second home. Our old landlady, Eleni Filipou adopted us like her own children, in spite of the fact that she could not speak a word of English, and today our house in Mount Martha is named in her honour.

In 2004, I was invited to become a member of the Twenty Melbourne Painters Society- an honour that continues to be the greatest honour of my life as an artist.

Now, in the cold grey days of Melbourne’s winter, a single chord struck on a bouzouki still calls to me, back to those sun-filled days of ‘living the dream’.