Gece Çizimler/Night Drawings

Ibrahimpaşa is stunning at night; when everyone retires into their homes, the streets are quiet, and dim lamps reflect yellow and orange hues against stone houses tumbling down the hill.

The last time I did a night drawing was in Istanbul 2 years ago, with fellow sketcher Nicole.  We sat awkwardly at a tippy table in Fener, using çay as medium while street cats walked across our drawing paper and the light rapidly faded.  I remember how uncomfortable the situation was, but also how all of these challenges brought about unexpected energy to our drawings.  For me, another layer of difficulty brings another layer of exhilaration, and I find that my work often benefits from a bit of chaos.

One way to add a great deal of chaos to the drawing process, is to work at night.  Finding a good light source, sitting in the cold, trying to capture the infinite lights and darks that appear within shadows, being able to see the colors you are using….all difficulties in the night sketching process.

In the early Kapadokyan summer, I sat under a dim street lamp with frozen fingers. Drawing shapes that had become so familiar to me during the day, and so mysterious at night.

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“Gece Çizim/Night Drawing 1” Mixed Media on Paper, 2013

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“Gece Çizim/Night Drawing 2” Mixed Media on Paper, 2013

 

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“Gece Çizim/Night Drawing 3” Mixed Media on Paper, 2013

 

Kiliseler

Kilise means church in Turkish.  It was a new word in my vocabulary this summer in Kapadokaya, as the landscape is littered with churches and monasteries carved into its soft volcanic stone.  Some of these sanctuaries date from the earliest periods of Christianity, and many contain richly colorful frescos painted onto the stone walls and ceilings.

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In previous years, I visited the popular cave monestaries of Göreme and Ihlara Valley.  However, during my Babayan residency, I found myself hiking to more remote locations with local guides (and sometimes a donkey)…off the beaten path and away from Kapadokya’s ubiquitous crowds of tourists.

How wonderful it was to draw in such an an ancient structure; to feel to the dampness of the cave around me, to imagine who had once dwelled or worshiped within these walls,  who had painted these images, and who had later vandalized them.  I considered all of this as I was drawing, with no tour groups or clicking cameras to distract me.

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"Kilise" Ink on Paper, 2013

“Kilise” Ink on Paper, 2013

Local News

On an early morning in late May, I caught a ride to Nevşehir with some Ibrahimpaşa locals.  I found myself sardined in the back of a van, soft bodies surrounding me on every side, bumping along the road to Nevşehir with a group of Turkish women.  We were on our way to make gözleme and other Turkish goods for the first day of a 10 day long food drive.  I had been invited on the excursion, and was eager to help as well as spend a day in some new surroundings.

I spent the morning rolling out paper thin dough with the village women, practicing my Turkish and eating way more than I ever thought I could.  When my attempts to turn down more gözleme or baklava seemed to be failing, I decided to take a break from rolling  dough (which I was embarrassingly terrible at) and walk around the city in search for a good place to draw.  Unless you want to go to the mall, or eat some American style pizza, Nevşehir is not the most interesting place to visit in Kapadokya.  However, there is a Byzantine castle on a hill above the town, and plenty of shady spots to sit on the streets below.

I settled myself outside of the Nevşehir Belediyesi (or local government building), where there was a perfect view of the ruins, and began work on an ink and watercolor sketch.   I had been working for about an hour when I heard the snap of a camera from behind me.  Before I knew it, I was surrounded by a small news crew that had seen me drawing on the street and rushed over to ask me questions.  There can be an awkward moment when you are talking with people whose English is about as good as your Turkish and it becomes confusing which language is the best to communicate in.  So, we switched back and forth, speaking Turklish, as I explained where I was from and what I was doing in Kapadokya.  When the interview was done, they thanked me and rushed inside the Belediye building to bring me a fresh cup of Turkish coffee that I enjoyed as I leisurely finished my drawing.

It was a matter of days before the paper circulated in Ibrahimpaşa with the short interview I had in Nevşehir.  There was a bit of excitement at the local bakkal as I passed around the paper with locals and we all read it together.  Apparently, my Turkish isn’t as good as I think…because there were a few facts that were a little off…but I was so pleased and honored to be mentioned in the local news.  I love Turkey, in all its spontaneity!  To see a digital version of the article click here.

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“Nevsehir” Mixed Media on Paper, 2013

Street Drawings

Working on the streets of İbrahimpaşa

While in residency at Babayan (though I had a beautiful cave studio) I spent most of my time perched on the neighborhood streets, and the town became my studio…

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"Neighborhood Scene 2" Graphite on Paper, 2013

“Neighborhood Scene 2” Graphite on Paper, 2013

"Neighborhood Scene 3" Mixed Media on Paper, 2013

“Neighborhood Scene 3” Mixed Media on Paper, 2013

"Neighborhood Scene 4" Mixed Media on Paper, 2013

“Neighborhood Scene 4” Mixed Media on Paper, 2013

"Neighborhood Scene 5" Ink on Paper, 2013

“Neighborhood Scene 5” Ink on Paper, 2013

"Manzara 4" Ink and Watercolor on Paper, 2013

“Manzara 4” Ink and Watercolor on Paper, 2013

"Mavi Kapısı" Ink and Watercolor on Paper, 2013

“Mavi Kapısı” Ink and Watercolor on Paper, 2013

"Tractor" Mixed Media on Paper, 2013

“Tractor” Mixed Media on Paper, 2013

More Market Sketching

I have been sketching on location now for…well for as long as I can remember really.  Though there are definite times in my life when it feels as though I am constantly drawing, there are also those times when I let it drift away for a while.  My time in Kapadokya at Babayan was a peak in this artistic cycle, and no matter where my daily activities brought me, I was constantly prepared to draw.

However beginning the process can be a bit difficult, especially in a busy Turkish marketplace.  I always feel slight anxiety as I pull out my sketchbook and pens, trying to capture the rows of color and energy of the market, while the weekly shoppers swarm around me.  As the drawing develops, my self conscious feelings slip away and I realize how endearing people find the art-making process.

I drew in almost all of the Kappadokian markets this summer, and nearly always found myself with a handful of free fruit, a crate or a pile of corn that had been offered to me as a seat, endless glasses of çay and a number of eager models.  Every time I feel slightly nervous to draw, I have to just do it, and when I am sketching anywhere in Turkey, I inevitably end up with new friends, and a satisfied appetite.

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“mısırcı 1” Pen and Watercolor on Paper, 2013

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“Avanos Market” Pen and Watercolor on Paper, 2013

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“Nevsehir Market” Pen and Watercolor on Paper, 2013

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“mısırcı 2” Graphite on Paper, 2013

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Collaboration

One of the great things about being in a residency program, is connecting with other artists; sharing ideas, learning about different processes and methods of working.  While in residence at Babayan, I participated in a bit of collaboration with fellow artist Olivia Valentine, helping her with documentation and participating in one of her shoots.  We spent several early mornings, and late evenings together; walking through the stunning valleys, gardens and winding roads that surround Ibrahimpaşa; discussing life, art, processes, and finding ourselves in disbelief of surreal beauty that surrounded us.
IMG_1192 IMG_1197 IMG_1199 IMG_1202 IMG_1206 IMG_1210 IMG_1211 _MG_1371 05-16-GA-Untitled1My contribuation to Olivia’s landcape Oya project, to learn more about her work her work, click here.