This old fellow is the cover photo of the collection of madinathes I mentioned in the Thanatos post. I had originally intended to only sketch for 10 minutes or so…but I found myself adding more and more detail to his face, as evidenced by the difference in pencil marks that make up his clothes, vs his neck, vs. his face. I find his face to be fascinating… because he reminds me of a line in a Greek song I have on a cd, a song whose lyrics are a series of madinathes. The particular little poem roughly translates to “In a Cretan’s eyes, you can see Psiloriti” (the slang name for the tallest peak on Crete, which appropriately translates as “tallest one”).
What I like about this face is that the guy looks as old as dirt, with his deep wrinkles and big, steel-wool mustache… but his mussed up, rain wet hair and the mischievous eyes hint at an inner youthfulness. It is because of the obvious age coupled with the spark of liveliness that I actually am reminded of hiking down the mountain through the Gorge of Samaria ( I believe it is a 13 kilometer hike if I remember correctly). Starting at the top of the mountain, down thru its pine covered peaks to the rocky gorge below, passing ancient and abandoned towns along side of a stream of water whose source is melting snow from the mountain top, en route to the southern coast of Crete. Its one of the top ranked hikes in Europe. It is one of my favorite places on the planet… picture the sense of nature’s majesty you get when you see an image of the Alaskan wilderness, but with the added bonus of being under a Mediterranean sun! (Google Samaria gorge, then plan your vacation!)
Anyhoooo… the old man looks to me like something funny just popped in his head and he’s savoring the thought before letting us in on the joke. You may not see this, but that is my fault as my sketch falls short of the original photo: