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Karolina of Mykonos

Mykonos is special to me because of the Mykonians and their φιλοξενία and φιλότιμο

Very few people on the planet are recognized by one name: Cher, Streisand, Madonna, Picasso. Carol Wells of Boston, aka Karolina of Mykonos, belongs in that category. She is an artist of renown whose paintings have graced the homes of the international jet set for years and she is well known in European media, from Germany to Greece.

Carol Wells was unique from the beginning of her life. Born on Christmas day in 1939 into the highest strata of Boston society, she was blessed was talent, intellect, beauty, and independence. Her father was George Wells, Yale University graduate, board member of Phillips Exeter Academy, President of Skull and Bones at Yale, prominent businessman and Town Clerk of Lincoln, Massachusetts. Her mother was Katherine Wood Wells, Vassar College graduate and music teacher. Both were prominent members of their community and enjoyed membership in the Lincoln conservation society. Carol attended Concord Academy, an exclusive private girls school, followed by Colorado College and the Boston School of Fine Arts.

At age 21, she went to Europe to study art in both Paris and Germany. Living for 2 years in Paris, she learned to speak French and she is also fluent in Italian, Greek, and German. Karolina painted in the Parisian streets and then moved on to Salzburg, Austria where she studied with Kokoschka.. She plays classical piano and studied music as well as art. Living and traveling in Europe was more of an education to her than any formal training she had experienced and she considers it her true awakening to the world.

She fell in love with Europe and the lifestyle and traveled by backpacking all over the continent. In 1963, she took a boat from Italy to Greece and was christened Karolina on the voyage. Immediately, she was struck by Greece and the island of Mykonos in particular. The family life that she adores was important to the islanders and the culture contained values and a unique beauty that attracted her. She settled down in Mykonos, becoming one of its more prominent citizens, and her paintings reflect the simplicity of the Aegean isle.

Being childlike and displaying the light,landscape, blue sea and sky that attracts more visitors than any other island in Europe, her paintings have been purchased by the famous including Valentino, Romeo Gigli, Armani, Greek business magnates like Varthalogianni and Metaxa, Yehudi Menuhin, actors, and they are prominently displayed in homes, businesses, hotels and Olympic airports. International publications include Marie Claire, DownTown Magazine, Life and Style, Athens Time Out among others. U.S. travel channels have featured Karolina as have both Greek and German television and she can be found in Greek and German travel guides as well as books on Mykonos and art.

There is nothing Karolina cannot do if she puts her resourceful mind to it and she purchased a home in the center of Mykonos in 1968 as a single woman. Unlike her peers in Boston who chose to marry and follow a well worn path, independent and liberated Karolina broke with convention and followed her own vision and career. She feels comfortable in her own skin and trusted the inner guidance to take her to her highest good. It served her well and the world has benefitted by this choice for we have her art to enjoy as a reflection of this freedom and courage.

She raised her 2 children, Nitsa (Eugenia) and George (Theo) in both the United States and Mykonos in the 1970s. Nitsa currently resides in New York where Karolina spends her winters and George lives in Mykonos where she spends her summers. Adoring her children, she strongly identified with the family as do the Greeks and the community responds in kind where she has been granted a special standing among the locals. Visitors seek out her paintings and her delightful spirit when they visit Mykonos. Karolina says that she is grateful to have succeeded and reached the pinnacle of expression in her work. She has many years left to paint and travel and the art world looks forward to her next offerings.

Karolina is beloved by one and all who know her. She is a woman who was ahead of her time, was a role model for others who want to follow their dreams, and who has reached a level of wisdom and success that makes her example more inspiring than most mentors.

Truly, no other word than her name is required as an epitaph: KAROLINA.�

I first saw Mykonos in May of 1962 under a full moon from the deck of the Despina, a cargo ship 24 hours from Athens to Samos carrying soldiers, ladies in black chickens, and old men carrying of bundles of food and goods from Athens. They brought out their lunch and shared it with me. When the boat stopped we climbed down a long staircase and were taken by small wooden boats into the harbor of Mykonos spread out under a full moon a cluster of small white houses and churches huddled next to a pitch black Aegean sea. There was no electricity yet I stayed youth hostile Maria and Kostas Ξυζακι at Parapotiani church.

When I woke the next morning I couldn’t believe my eyes as I walked to the harbor followed by young brown eyed children curious about my every move. There were only local men and or fisherman sitting in the three cafes. As I walked by they invited me to sit down ( Τσούκας) and join them smiling and welcoming offering me orange soda and Kalakithakia. Everywhere I went people were charming offering their hospitality. I was one of ten tourists visiting Mykonos. Right then and there I something special in Mykonos. I had to learn the language and learn their secret of happiness and joy living together on that island.

The Mykonians captured my heart from the moment I stepped on that harbor they were beautiful people, charming, hospitable, φύλο ξένη, φυλοτημι,. There is not a little house in Mykonos were they haven’t shared their food with me. One family ( Μαριλο και Αθανάσιος Λυκουρης) invited me to eat with them at lunch, they had fire in the τσακι and made a simple pot of food for everyone – there was meat on Sunday in the ταπσει cooked in a big oven at the bakery. There were no ovens, ice boxes, and electricity had just arrived.
The Mykonians fed me, taught me Greek and looked after me. I can’t say enough of their love and kindness towards me for the past 55 years. I wanted to paint the Island and the people. The Mykonians and Mykonos has been an inspiration to me, my life, and my art work.
The Mykonians have worked hard and made very good lives with their φηλοξενια because of their acceptance of people and foreigners from all walks of life.
I appreciate them today as much I did fifty five years ago and will never stop wanting their love, support, acceptance, and validation.
Mykonos is special to me because of the Mykonians and their φιλοξενία and φιλότιμο