In 1984 when I was 40, I purchased a house in a village in Greece. It was a roofless dwelling used only to stable sheep. I did not ask myself whether I could restore the house; I simply knew I wanted to and would. Repairing the walls stone by stone with my own hands, I plumbed the depths of my ingenuity, I met the limits of my physical strength and endurance, I confronted my loneliness, I paid tribute to my father who brought out the builder in me, and I avoided my mother’s reach long enough to discover who I am.


Years after the roof went on and the door was hung, images of the house appeared in my paintings. But, ironically, I have spent surprisingly little time there since the structure became habitable. What, then, made me undertake the restoration? Possibility, I think. What have I brought away from the experience? An understanding that potential resides within each of us, and—if we are fortunate—we develop it into something wonderful.

photo credits:
top, Thordis Simonsen, 1984
bottom, Betty Hurt, 2004