Sunday, October 6, 2013

Day 4 of the Croatian Artist Retreat: Painting in an Abandoned Town

"Morning in Malo Grablje"
12" x 14" watercolor

Day 4 was a fascinating day spent in an abandoned mountain town with a great story. Our sponsor, Marion, describes the day here.

The town was a pretty inconvenient place to live, so the entire population of Malo Grablje (GRABlia) made an agreement to move to the coast where they built a new town, Milne, seeking better economic opportunities. The villagers all agreed not to sell the properties. The old town has been abandoned since the 1960s with the stone buildings in various stages of disrepair. The town has proved to be an attraction, so descendant Bertie Tudor, has opened a restaurant in one of the old buildings for those who hike in or drive the narrow dirt road.

Old houses and buildings in Malo Grablje

Our intention was to hike from Velo Grablje at the top of the mountain, but it was pouring rain so we drove. Bertie was very welcoming with a large table set up near a window and he brewed some hot coffee for us. Many chose to sit at outside tables under a cover, but I was chilled. I set my easel up on the table inside the restaurant with a great view out to the limestone cliffs and mountains. I completed the painting by the time Bertie was ready to serve us lunch, which included fish done on the outside limestone barbecue.

Bertie Tudor preparing lunch for our group
at Stori Komen

A sunny afternoon view from outside Stori Komen
My painting is of a similar view from inside the restaurant

The beautiful sunshine returned in the afternoon and brought a few other hardy souls to town. I explored the empty buildings with Marion and set up my easel. I began another painting and liked the concept. The next day I started over in the convenience of my little apartment. But I save that story for the next post.

The village families return to worship in the church a couple times a year and the building is in reasonable shape. There is an intact olive press in another building. Most are family homes. It is fascinating to stand there in the quiet and imagine the generations of people who lived here.

The local church

In the very late afternoon, we left Malo Grablje for Milne on the coast. We spent a bit of time walking on the pebble beach very characteristic of Croatia.

Jenny and Marion in Milne, the villagers new digs


hmuxo said...

Excellent painting, Mary... and these photos are amazing.. beautiful landscapes.. and love that sky!!!

CrimsonLeaves said...

Absolutely stunning photos, Mary. I would love to visit places just like this one.