Afternoon Jazz

Last Sunday Nicole, Michelle and I spent a hot afternoon at a Jazz Festival in Santral Istanbul.  It was a very relaxing day, sketching, looking through records, drinking Efes and sitting in the grass.  The music was great and the people were fun to watch and draw.A sunbather
The bandMichelle drawing me


Late Night Sketching

Last night Nicole, Michelle and I arrived in Ortaköy around 8pm and found that the natural light had faded, but the lights on the mosque were just lighting up.  We sat down in the busy courtyard, ordered three çaylar and a baked potato while we got out our drawing materials.  I gave Nicole and Michelle a short lesson on ink and guache and loaned them my materials while Nicole let me use her markers.  It was very interesting to draw the mosque as the sky grew darker and darker and I found the drafting markers to work in a similar way to watercolor.  We had a great time discussing history, movies and books while we worked and ate and drank our tea.  I love Istanbul nights, and Istanbul neighborhoods like Ortaköy, and I love having new friends to draw with!  You can see Nicole and Michelle’s drawings on their blog about Istanbul…

Random Meetings in a Giant City

One of the things I love about Istanbul is the people you meet and the way you happen to meet them.  A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to meet two lovely girls who are working towards their Master’s Degree at the University of Virginia.  Both are Architecture students who came to Istanbul for the summer to conduct research on two specific neighborhoods of the city.  I first heard of Nicole and Michelle through an artist from New York city who invited me to an exhibition opening on Istiklal Cad. over a month ago.  This artist, and might I add extremely warm and friendly traveller, passed onto me the contact information for “two American architecture students living in Istanbul.”  This was basically all the information I had.

After weeks of playing phone tag with Nicole and Michelle, we finally decided to meet in Cihangir for a late night dessert.  This proved to be much more difficult than it originally sounded  given my poor sense of direction and lack of my Istanbul map that I usually always cary with me.  Nicole, Michelle and their friend Harun instructed me to meet them at a Cafe called White Castle, situated somewhere within the windy streets of Beyoğlu.  After getting pretty lost I called the girls who put me on the phone with Harun.  I’m sure Harun gave me perfect instructions, but it was nearly impossible to hear him due to the hundreds of Istanbul fun goers all around me.  After several phone calls, we all ended up on the same street, however none of us had a clue what the other looked like.  So, for the next 30 minutes I walked up and down Yeni Carsa Cad. seeking either a guy in white shorts and a pink button down or two young ladies, one wearing a black and white dress…I couldn’t remember what Michelle was wearing.  I walked up the street while they walked down and I’m sure we must have walked right past each other because soon I was turning around walking back down the street asking the girls on the phone what kind of things on the street they could see.  “Okay do you see the banner, what does it say?” “Um I’m not sure, what does the banner your looking at say?” “The banner I’m looking at doesn’t say anything, it just has wholes in it.”  And so on until I finally met my new companions at the taxi station.  We had a great evening drinking kirmizi serap in a jazz cafe and discussing our lives, work and travels.

Since our first meeting, Michelle, Nicole and I have already shared some great Istanbul adventures.  I only wish I had some more time with Harun who had to depart us early for Australia.  More pictures and links coming soon!

I unfortunately have no photos of the night I met Nicole, Michelle and Harun but here are some pics of a bbq/painting party/birthday party at Nicole and Michelle’s place next the the Galata Tower.

Istanbul Sunset

I had a lovely evening a few days ago, sitting by the Bosphorus and watching the sun setting over Aya Sofya and Topkapı Sarayı.  Drinking a çay and watching the boats pass by was very serene and I felt like it was one of those moments that I never wanted to end.  These moments happen often for me in Istanbul, especially when I am drawing.  I managed to do a quick sketch of the scene before the light faded completely.

From the Sketchbook

Some very quick sketches…Arsah CarpetsViolin Player at KumkapIYeni Camii FountainRelaxing by the Galata TowerSketches from the road trip
Aya Sofya…When I was drawing this, there was a guy sitting next to me the whole time, watching what I was doing.  He grabbed my sketchbook from me several times and tried to scribble on my drawing!  I finally had to tear out a page and give him a pencil so he could practice on his own.A magnolia and a street in Taksim…and below, Arsah Carpets.