Thunderstorm over Meteora, Greece. by F.A. Moore

Thunderstorm over Meteora, Greece. by 

Oil painting on 2 inch deep-sided cradle board
Knife painted rock, brush painted hills and valley.
12 × 12 inch
scanned: 6000 × 6000 px @480 dpi
June 20, 2012

Solo’s Juried Invitational Exhibition,
June 2012

Sally Sargent Fine Art Award
for Excellence in Oil Painting Techniques
SoJie 16, June 2012

SoJie 16, June 2012

2012-11-04 in Women Painters
2012-10-19 in Southern United States Artists

Oil painting of thunderstorm over Meteora, Greece, by F.A. Moore, 2012. Pictured is the Monastery of St. Stephen, overlooking the valley, soaked in a thunder shower. The Monastery’s cross is reflected strangely in a cloud formation; but this was unplanned by the artist. The Greek flag braves the downpour. The oil painting, on board, is based on a panoramic photograph of the Monastery of St. Stephen by Peter Hammer, under written agreement, completed during Solo Exhibition’s Landscape and Light Workshop. Peter also graciously provided additional photographs, which I was able to reference for rock shapes and textures, and the detail of the monastery rooftops and cupolas. Credit below.

Meteora and the Monastery of St Stephen
by Peter Hammer

Thunderstorm over Meteora, Greece.
by F.A. Moore
oil on board

Since Greece is on the sea, and Meteora is mountainous, I imagined that the area would create its own weather; and thus painted it in a heavy downpour, with the sun breaking through to the rock, from which we are taking in the view.

I have only just now read about it, that “Rainfall is generally heavy all year round, especially at higher altitudes.” I’m so glad to have gone with my instinct on that one, even though it took a few days to work up the guts to paint darkness and rain into a fine shadow and light landscape.

This was painted in layers over seventeen sessions in twelve days. The original edifice for the Monastery was knife painted over four hours, including one hour for mixing colors. At the last I rubbed browns over the subtle coloring, as rock takes on a very dark quality when it’s wet. The foreground was painted last and was also primarily knife-painted, to capture texture and light, without detail.

I hope you enjoy both Peter Hammer’s original panoramic photograph and my liberal interpretation; taking you further down the rock for a closer view of the valley and the pinnacle on which the Monastery of St. Stephen is built. Enjoy the refreshing rain!

About the Monastery and Meteora
The Monastery of St. Stephen was established around 1540. Six monasteries remain in the Meteora from the twenty or so built in the 1300’s. Meteora means “suspended in air” and describes the sandstone and conglomerate rock pinnacles thought to have been formed 60 million years ago. Carbon dating of a cave at the foot of the cliffs indicate man’s presence there 50,000 years ago.

While hermit monks moved up into the pinnacles in the 9th century, it took until the 12th century for a state to form around the Monasteries, as ascetics began to gravitate to the Meteora. More than 20 monasteries were built in the beginning of the 14th century to protect Greek Orthodox monks and nuns from Turkish raiders threatening the fertile valley.

The Meteora was bombed in WWII and treasures were lost. Nuns occupy two of the six remaining monasteries; St. Stephen is one of those.

The area is commonly referred to as “Meteora” and the complex of Eastern Orthodox monasteries on “suspended rocks”, collectively as “the Meteora”. The town below is Kalambaka.


  • Birgitta   †
    Birgitta †almost 3 years ago

    You did a fantastic job on those houses. Lots of work went into this, I can tell. I think you added some playfulness to it and lightened the overall mood significantly. And I like your rain. :) So pretty..

  • I did work a lot on this and enjoyed it too. Thank you, Birgitta!

    – F.A. Moore

  • Martin Dingli
    Martin Dinglialmost 3 years ago

    fabulous piece love it

  • Oh, Martin, I’m so pleased with your response! Thanks for stopping in to let me know!

    – F.A. Moore

  • Ina Mar
    Ina Maralmost 3 years ago

    Frannie, this is an amazing painting. I believe that landscape fits you a lot! In fact I like your painting better than the original photo, because of the square format that creates a double perspective. The village is seen from above while the monastery is seen from the side. This double perspective evokes a kind of movement – it’s like the viewer first sees the monastery from far and then flies from above the village. This kind of perspective is often seen in naive art and I really love it. Your painting has nothing to do with naive art of course! I have been in Meteora and it’s one of the most stunning places on this earth. Even if I had seen it on pictures, the feeling of awe and respect towards nature that overcame me as I stood there between those huge rock formations is unimaginable. Your painting captures this feeling through this shadow and light play and the stormy sky.

  • Ina this is such a great compliment, especially from one who has been there. I can only imagine the awe you must have felt before nature in that place. That’s exactly the perspective I wanted to evoke, as if we standing on one of the neighboring rocks, at a spot that was to the side but slightly below the Monastery, but still above the valley. I had not considered that we would be looking both directions; but of course we would be! Thanks again, very much, Ina.

    – F.A. Moore

  • edy4sure
    edy4surealmost 3 years ago

    Everything about this painting is beautiful. At what impressed me most was your commitment to better yourself. This is evident in all your WIPs and this inspired finish. Dramatic clouds & the effect of a strong shower over the area is not something that can be pulled off lightly plus, the red roofs provided a balancing for all those hues and tones of green. Congratulations Frannie, you have outdone yourself this time :)

  • Eddy, this is a really special comment. It’s great to hear what works, and I’m tickled that you have noticed my determination. It’s one thing to collect, recognize, appreciate, and even curate fine art; and another thing to pick up the brush and do something worthy of notice. Thank you!

    – F.A. Moore

  • Beatrice Cloake Pasquier
    Beatrice Cloak...almost 3 years ago

    Frannie, this is a fantastic work!
    So much details on such a small scale, I can appreciate how difficult it must have been to work in Oil.
    I love the sky and the mood of the scenery, the execution on the foreground with subtal details gives great depth to the painting. The colours are brilliant too!

  • Beatrice, thank you for your generous comment. The detail was tedious. I thought I would go blind. :)) Yet, I felt it important to the story I wanted to tell of the nature of the place. Thanks for mentioning the foreground. As it is what we are ostensibly “standing on”, looking out and over, I felt the details should be an impression, only, as it wouldn’t be in our total focus range. Thanks so much for noting these things, Beatrice!

    – F.A. Moore

  • Antionette
    Antionettealmost 3 years ago

    Frannie, I think I mentioned in one of your posts that landscapes seems to be your way to go, if not, I certainly think it is! I love your textures, colors and interpretation of the painting. The white cross in the photo is quite small, but yours draws the eye into the painting. Well done, and congratualtions!

  • Antionette, I had no idea that I would have an affinity for landscapes. I guess you are right about the cross. It’s actually a focal point in the painting. Thanks very much for the encouragement, Antionette.

    – F.A. Moore

  • Qnita
    Qnitaalmost 3 years ago

    Lovely details…

  • Thanks, Qnita!

    – F.A. Moore

  • helene ruiz
    helene ruizalmost 3 years ago

    How nice! wow! Frannie! You go Frannie!

  • Awww, that feels so good. Thanks, Helene!!

    – F.A. Moore

  • Susan  Kimball
    Susan Kimballalmost 3 years ago

    Powerful work Frannie and a wonderful translation. I enjoyed watching your steps which were inspirational! Thank you for another wonderful workshop! ♥

  • Susan, I’m so glad you participated, and in more ways than one! Thanks for your comment here, too, Susan. Much appreciated.

    – F.A. Moore

  • vadim19
    vadim19almost 3 years ago

    interesting work!

  • Okay! Thanks! :)

    – F.A. Moore

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