Tuesday, April 30, 2013

heaven is

The roar of the Atlantic. The smell of wild thyme, rosemary and sea salt. Green hills dotted with violet, blue, magenta, and yellow. Cerulean skies with white wisps of clouds that form elongated fish.

The wind in your hair, the sun on your face. A loved one's laugh.

I'll say it again: Portugal is intoxicating. Now, Spring in Portugal...
My, oh my.

Friday, April 26, 2013

where i am

The air is sweet with esteva blossoms and lavender, with notes of rosemary.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


You know the traffic is bad when weaponry is being sold on the road.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

and then there's this:

A portrait of a Nepali man, that I've also been working on for the past month.
Stippling with a dip pen is both meditative and exhausting— exhausting in a good way.
It's been a rough couple of weeks. Diving into these drawings has been so soothing.

Untitled (so far).
61 cm x 91.5 cm, India ink.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

feeling it

So I've let this drawing sit incomplete for far too long, and decided I'd better finish it once and for all. I got up real early today, made myself a cup of cardamom coffee, and grabbed some India ink and my dip pen. It took me eight hours to finish his face. I started this drawing in December of 2009, worked ferociously on it for a spell, then left it to gather dust. I don't know why, but I wasn't feeling it anymore. When I look at it now, two bottles of ink and many, many hours of controlled breathing later, I am feeling it. It's time.

You can see the very, very slow progress I've made here, and here, and here.
I'll take a higher quality photo soon. When I finish.

70cm x 100 cm, India ink.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

merchants and thieves

To the left of the Spice Bazaar stands a ramshackle animal market, which both disturbs and fascinates me. Sad creatures, mostly birds and bunnies, in cages too small for their bodies... but then there are the leech sellers and the thieving Laughing Doves. Seed merchants guard their abundant sacks with plastic scoops, with one eye out for any feathery intruders. The minute their attention is pulled toward a friend, customer, or çay glass, the doves descend.

They feast in a gluttonous frenzy, often immersing all but the tips of their tails into the seed sacks. When the plastic scoops start waving in their direction, accompanied by expletives, our little thieves casually fly to safety, where they watch in mockery for another chance to dine.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

blue beauty

Another humble beauty is the previously blogged about Rüstem Paşa Mosque, a favourite of mine. The patterns and colours of the Iznik tiles which cover the walls of this little mosque are beyond exquisite, and the quiet space offers breathing room in this hectic city of nearly 20 million.

Monday, April 8, 2013

wonder and curiosity

I often try not to get tourists in my photos so I can focus on the setting— but why?
Why not make them the focus? That sense of wonder and curiosity is so human, and so wonderful.

byzantine beauty

Another great thing apart from the obvious goodness of having family in town, is that you get to play tourist. Yesterday, we went to the Chora Museum with Pedro's sister and brother-in-law. I haven't been to the Chora, known in Turkish as the Kariye Camii, for about ten years or so, and vaguely remembered it as being home to some of the most exquisite examples of Byzantine art.

The Chora Museum was once the Chora Church, a Byzantine beauty which went through a series of reconstructions since its earliest form in the 6th century. It wasn't until the 14th century, towards the end of the Byzantine era, that this humble building was covered in its finely detailed frescoes and mosaics. After the Ottoman invasion, the Chora Church became the Kariye Mosque, and in 1945, a museum.

While the Hagia Sophia is sure to impress by its sheer size, this much smaller church will astound you with its colourful artwork.

Monday, April 1, 2013

across the golden horn

He claimed he wasn't a dolmuş, but we paid this grey-moustached gentleman five lira to ferry us across the Golden Horn from Karaköy to Eminönü in his little red boat.