Snake Churches, an Underground City and Star Wars

With the end of 2014 around the corner, its time to play catch up.  When I began this blog in 2011, I was an avid poster…but travels, moves and wandering got the best of me and about a year ago I fell behind.  Now, with the inspiration of the new year, new studio and much work to be made, I’m determined to become more grounded and settle back into my routines..

With this in mind, here are a few shots from the end of my residency in Cappadocia last fall.  I have now been to the heart of Anatolia so many times that it is becoming as familiar as Istanbul, and with each visit I discover more of the region’s less touristy routes.  In May of this year, I traveled with a friend along a winding road which passed through small villages, carved rock monasteries and ended in an open air museum which was promised  to leave us feeling as though we had walked through a landscape from Star Wars.  We followed a small map marked in pen, and stopped at all the locations suggested by our residency host.  As our rental car traveled along, we felt a bit like players in a video game as we checked off from our list of tasks for the journey; 1) have breakfast in Mustafapaşa 2) stop at the Keslik Monestary and inform the gateman that we were sent from special friends in order to get the 5 lira entry 3) have tea with the gateman after our tour of the Monastery 4) Stop in the “criminal” village of Mazi and find the only man in the village with access into the underground city….and the list went on.

By the time we reached the open air museum at Soğanlı, the last stop on our map, we had found hidden churches, secret wells, archaic doorways, hid out in our car during a wind storm and plunged deep into underground tunnels alone with a with a drunk tour guide who kept running away into the shadows only to jump out again and scare us.  We were covered in dust, exhausted, hungry, but knew somehow that our friendship would be something special after sharing this experience together.

After my residency period ended this fall, I was joined by my boyfriend, and we decided to do the same tour with 2 other artists from my program.  We stopped in all of the same places as I directed us along with the map I had used in May.  When we arrived in Mazi and found the underground city, I was surprised to see a few other tourists, and our guide (fully sober) dressed in an all white suit for the Bayram.  A number of new rooms in the city had been opened, and though the tour still involved climbing up narrow tunnels with only wooden blocks feebly nailed to the passage walls as steps..the experience had inevitably changed since my visit in the spring, and made me realize how quickly Cappadocia is changing through tourism.

At our last stop in Soğanlı, we explored the cave churches, climbed slippery stone steps and picked fresh apples as we walked along the paths between each sight.  During the trip in May, my friend and I had to find solace in our car as a dust storm forced us to miss out on most of Soğanlı’s churches.  But as we watched the dust swirl outside of our windows, I was filled with the joy of a newly formed friendship.  In early October, the calm weather allowed me to climb every step and peer into each crevice, and although the experience lacked the fresh excitement of that windy day in spring, I was discovering what I had not seen months before.  I was also accompanied by someone for whom I was realizing more love for everyday.

With each new experience, I find new love and appreciation for this life and the people I share it with.

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Village Collaboration

Sometimes collaboration comes in unexpected ways and methods.  Here are some images of door rubbings done in an antique dealer’s depo in Ibrahimpasa, Cappadocia…a project he was so happy and excited to help me with.

I’m not sure what direction to take these in, but the process of working with others, especially those who are not directly involved in the “art world,” makes me realize how much we have to learn from each other…

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Drawing on Location

Below are a few shots showing my process of drawing on village streets in Cappadocia last month…

As I was making this post, I was trying to think of a way to describe why I love drawing on location so much.  In the end, I couldn’t put it into more perfect words than this quote from my friend, fellow artist, and former professor Doug Russell:

“It’s the visceral quality of it.  If you are drawing from a photograph or memory, you have all day…or week…or year.  That infinite time can be good or bad, though it can sometimes lead to procrastination or boredom or overworking.  If you are looking at something in real time, the light is changing, the weather is changing, you’re changing.  There are bugs and people, there’s wind or rain.  It makes every choice more powerful, individual, unique, exciting, frustrating, challenging and scary because it is either going to succeed or fail in that moment.  As opposed to other studio work that can take months, and move through several failures and successes, the drawing done on location is either going to work or not work.”

This quote was taken from my interview with Doug last summer.  To read more, click here for part one of our interview, and here for part two.

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Gece/Night

I started sketching at night during my stay in Cappadocia last summer, and found  it so interesting to compare what could be seen or not seen during the night, as apposed to broad daylight.  This fall, despite the dropping temperatures, I found myself outdoors most evenings…doing quick studies, taking photographs or making longer drawings with my fellow artists.

“I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.”

-Vincent Van Gogh

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“Ibrahimpasa at Night 1” Mixed Media on Paper, 2014

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“Ibrahimpasa at Night 2” Mixed Media on Paper, 2014

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Photo Credit: Artist Heather Freedman

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Rüya

Istanbul, September 2011: I visited an antique book market several times during those sweltering Fall days.  It was a temporary market, set up beneath white tents in a parking lot next to the Pera Müzesi.  A great place to rummage through lose papers, beautiful old Quarans and books illustrating the art of carpet weaving.  I would dig for an hour or so before relaxing  in a plastic chair to have a hot çay, and gaze out over the sprawling city.

I had collected several sheets of lose paper with arabic writing, and a few worn out journals bound together with cardboard covers before finding a magazine dated from the 1920’s.  The cover illustration reminded me of a dream, and I felt compelled by the simple quality of its line and color.  I purchased the piece, having been so transfixed by this image, and after many months of handing he magazine, flipping through its pages and admiring the delicate writing and eloquently drawn cartoons, it struck me to recreate a version of the cover image for my Hüzün Exhibition.

This dream-like image seemed to fit perfectly into my concept, as it reminded me of that surreal Istanbul feeling I was trying so desperately to capture.  The tittle came to me before I began, Rüya….Dream.  Below is the original drawing by the unknown artist, and the evolution of my version.

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"Ruya" Mixed Media on Paper, 2013

“Ruya” Mixed Media on Paper, 2013

 

Dad and Grandma

After arriving in Oregon, at the end of my journey last fall, I stayed with my Aunt in Newberg  for a few days.  She has many wonderful things at her house up on the hill.  I found these tiny pictures of my dad and grandma propped up on her shelf, and sat in front of a warm stove all day, sipping tea, drawing and watching the fog slowly lift from the green and gold country outside.

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