Mediterranean Door Paintings to fall in love with

A large number of buildings in Greece and the surrounding islands are painted blue and white. These can often be seen in photographs or postcards. Many believe that the colours are taken from the flag. But the flag as it presently exists was adopted in the late 70’s after going through many changes throughout previous centuries. To revolt against the ruling class Greeks started to use blue in their flag. 

The blue also originated from a cleaning agent called Loulaki. It is a sort of talcum powder. This blue powder was found across every home in Greece. The mixture of Loulaki powder with lime produces the bright blue colour that we often see in Greek homes today. 

door paintings, an oil painting of a blue door in progress by Theo Michael

But, it is fair to say that blue is a significant colour for the Greeks as it reflects the colour of the seas and skies in their everyday life. The widespread use also emanates from an ancient belief that the sky blue shade of turquoise has the power to keep evil away. It is believed that the radiation of the colour composes an invisible shield which prevents the approach of bad spirits. 

Blue is used everywhere in Cyprus, from churches, windows, doors, walls, staircases and fences which according to custom provides protection against evil. Greek Cypriot boy scouts wear a sky blue scarf around the necks for the very same reason.

 In the Greek islands the combination of blue and white is also a matter of law. Since 1974 houses have had to be painted white and it is said as a patriotic gesture to represent the colours of the Greek flag. More recently some island authorities have begun to permit some other colours like light ochre, pink, and some other pastel colours.

Blue Doors

 The custom of painting doors blue extends way beyond Greece and is common across the entire world. Even today in the provinces of Spain buildings are decorated with blue bands and designs. Also houses in Egypt, in the Arab villages of Israel, and entire villages in Morocco have blue fences, walls or doors.

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door paintings, a blue door with bougainvillea oil painting by Theo Michael

The Blue Door

Theo’s painting The Blue Door features an entrance to a bar and restaurant of the Art Cafe 1900 in Larnaca. The painting is solemn and evocative. The doorway is overpowering in its intricate design. While it looks like something from a Doctor Who episode, a portal to another time, it remains a delicate and beautifully inviting painting with the sprawling bougainvillea decoratively winding up the white walls guiding us as an audience.

The Blue Door, oil painting by Theo Michael December 2009

Door paintings, blue door in summer light by Theo Michael

Blue Door In Summer Light

The Blue Door in Summer light is another similarly evocative perspective.
Opposite this simple wooden door is a restaurant in Larnaca. In the foreground you can see a glimpse of the table, plate, cutlery, and chair. This painting is
like a moment in time and transports the viewer into the outside seating area of the restaurant, while the blue door fills up the space with energy and

Blue Door In Summer Light, oil painting by Theo Michael October 2013.

A Mediterranean Blue Door, Stavrovouni

This Blue Door is one of my favourite paintings by Theo. All the little details of damage and
time in the building contrast sharply with the elegant sky blue door. The light casts down at an angle, and the age of the scene can be felt if not known.
This picture is a timeless portrait. To the right of the damaged building is the sheer majesty of the Cypriot landscape, with a beautiful view of the desert terrain and mountainsides of Stavrovouni on the horizon.

door paintings, a blue door with balcony in summer light, an oil painting by Theo Michael

The Door, The Balcony, and The Blue Shutters

The Door, The Balcony, and The Blue Shutters is another beautiful depiction of Cypriot life as told through the simple but complex architecture of a house. The balcony is sublime and one can begin to imagine what it would be like to wake up in such a home with sunlight pouring
in through the shutters. Again this blue door is covered by shadow, conjuring the sensation of a long restful morning secluded from the day's beginnings in the surrounding city. To the right is a lone solemn plant creating balance and the blue pot connects to the door to create angles and shapes in
our minds that we consciously don’t realise, making the image more appealing.

The Door The Balcony and The Blue Shutters, oil painting by Theo Michael October 2018.

Cyprus Blue Door

Cyprus Blue Door 

features the entrance to the Larnaca restaurant the Campanario Steak House. The view is more oblique than Theo’s other paintings here with harsh and brooding tones of red on the walls contrasting with the deep and dark blue of the door.
Where the other paintings are serene and tranquil this perspective is more dramatic and eye-catching. Plants on one side of the doorway are balanced by a small lantern. The pavement in the foreground is almost alive with noise and city life inviting us to step forward into the painting and enter the blue doorway.

Cyprus Blue Door oil painting by Theo Michael August 2017.

door paintings, blue door an oil painting by Theo Michael featuring the entrance to the artist's studio in Larnaca Cyprus

The Open Door

features the entrance to Theo’s art studio and home. A series of potted plants guide the viewer to the open doorway and we are left to imagine for ourselves the couple or family inside, perhaps, beginning their day in the Cyprus sunshine. This is another painting of carefully constructed lines and angles. The perspective is reaching left to right, guiding our eye-line and satisfying our palates with the rich tones of blue.

The Open Door, oil painting by Theo Michael November 2019.

Beautiful Doors in Summer Light

Theo’s artwork is always a celebration of his surroundings.
His signature noir motifs take a back seat here, replaced by the magical simplicity of Cypriot architecture and the colour blue. The individual beauty of these houses is emphasised by the uniformity they share. What we are left with is a sublime and intoxicating tranquility that encourages us to enjoy these paintings for longer than we expect considering the restraint and innocence that Theo has employed in simply displaying a series of doorways.  

While the reasons behind the blue colour choices in Greek and Cypriot architecture may be varied and full of history, in the end they merely tell a story of Mediterranean culture and everyday life. When we are restless or agitated these are pictures that can bring a kind of quietude and stillness. They are enriched by the colour blue connecting them all to each other, as a kind of sequence, but also making each picture entirely unique and remarkable unto itself.

Author Marc Michael, February 22nd 2022