Just a quick side note before I continue with my account of the Black Sea….
I have recently been in touch with people about selling prints of my paintings. I have sold a few in the past, but have never done much advertising for them. Its good for me because prints are easy and fast to make, and good for the client because they are affordable, can be printed at any size and look almost as good as an original. So, that being said if you are interested in purchasing a print of any sketch, painting or drawing of mine, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find most of my work on this site, as well as at Gabriellereeves.com.
A few examples of prints sold…
“Mala in the Monsoon” Mixed Media on Paper, 2013
“Waldo” Oil on Canvas, 2011
“On Road” Oil on Canvas, 2008
“Apparaition” Oil on Panel, 2010
Thank you to everyone who has supported my work! Now, back to the Black Sea…
Çay, pronounces chai, is the traditional black tea of Turkey…and one of my favorite things about day to day life in this country. I was never a big tea drinker in the US, I usually stick to my 5 daily cups of coffee. However, since my first visit to Turkey in 2008, I became instantly hooked on the amber colored tea that is served everywhere in Turkey, and at any time of day. There are tea servers (çaycis) in every business, home, park, boat and street in Turkey shouting “Chai!” as they walk amongst their potential customers. This caffeine packed elixir is never more than a hand waive’s away.
Tea gardens are found all over Turkey. In small villages, in big cities, the scene is basically the same; a group of men reading news papers or playing backgammon, young couples modestly flirting, clouds of smoke and the sound of clinking spoons stirring sugar into narrow waisted tea glasses.
While traveling along the Black Sea coast, Sarah and I were just so lucky enough to come across Turkey’s tea capital…Rize. Because of its fertile soil and high precipitation, the eastern Black Sea coast is ideal for cultivating tea. Rize has been producing tea since the early 1900s, and the large tea garden in the center of town draws tourists from around Turkey and the Middle East. Rize was not much to look at from first glance…a seedy sort of sea side industrial city, but we were eager to see the garden and have some much needed caffeine so we drove our little rental car up the steep hill in the middle of town, and found ourselves in a little piece of heaven.
The view was absolutely breathtaking, and once we got a waiter’s attention we enjoyed it with our own pot of brewing çay. Ahhh, now this was a “sparkle moment” as Sarah and I have learned to call them.
“Rize Cay Bacesi” From my sketchbook, July 6, 2013
Sarah and I only had so much money this summer, so we had to decide on whether to spend it on renting a car, or staying in hotels…but we couldn’t do both. So, the best solution was to rent a car, drive it along the Black Sea coast, find a camping spot every night, and survive and cheese and crackers. There was that one time when we couldn’t resist a fresh roadside lunch on our way up into the mountains, but other than that we were scrounging…and did we ever have fun!
Let me start by saying Happy New Year! 2013 was fantastic…I spent 6 wonderful months in my home state of Wyoming, and 6 months traveling and making art in India and Turkey. I couldn’t have asked for a better year; exciting, humbling, productive and prosperous…lets hope for the same on 2014!
Now lets see, where was I….Ah yes, heading North towards the Black Sea. It was the end of June, and I had a 10 day period in between residencies. So, my traveling companion, fellow artist and best friend Sarah met me in Trabzon for a Holiday. Sarah and I have traveled through Turkey together twice before, but have never explored the Northern Coast. So we set out for the unknown together, starting with one of the best Turkish breakfasts I’ve ever had!