Visitors

Last week I had some visitors come from my hometown in Wyoming.  The night before they arrived I was so excited I could barely sleep.  Its not very often that I get guests from Wyoming, as Istanbul is so far away and not yet on the traveling radar for many people.  However, Casper College organizes a yearly trip lead by my dear friend and former professor, and this year the peak interest with everyone was Turkey.

Ever since I moved away from Wyoming, and especially since I have been in Turkey, I have felt overwhelming support from the Casper community.  Though I am far away, I am constantly offered shows and opportunities where I grew up, and it keeps me coming back several times a year.  I am always happy to visit my home town, but last week I got to share my new home with a group of very special people…and I think we will all remember it for years to come.

After 6 days of exploring exquisite mosques, byzantine wonders, busy bazaars, taking a trip to Asia for dinner, having an amazing yoga class lead by Ozgur, dancing to gypsy music in Beyoğlu, and taking a peek into the Istanbul art scene…we were ready to collapse by the weekend, though still full of joy and excitement.  The greatest pleasure for me was especially seeing how this city, which has been so immensely transformative for me, has an impact on each traveler in a different way.

A big thank you to Casper College and Valerie Maiers for allowing me to lead your group through Istanbul, introduce you to my favorite place and favorite people, and for the opportunity to teach my first Istanbul plain air workshops.  Thank you to everyone who joined the trip, for your patience and kindness, and your willingness to trust me.  Thank you to little 1 year old Ari for being so sweet and attracting the love and attention of everyone, including strangers on the street.  I hope to see you all this summer!

Love,

Gabby

A few of us on my favorite rooftop

A few of us on my favorite rooftop

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Istanbul Yogis after Ozgur’s class

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Valerie and I in the Harem at Topkapi Palace

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Watercolor workshop outside of Chora Church

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A beautiful morning in Topkapi Palace

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A watercolor study by Holly Turner

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Our last dinner together

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New Year

I was lucky enough to fly back to the US this year for Christmas and New Years.  I have only missed 1 Christmas away from my family in Wyoming, and am realizing more each year how much of a priority it is for me to be home over the holidays.  As I seem to have a new family member every year, I don’t want to miss out on catching these days of seeing their constant growth, change and discovery.

My days at home are few and precious, and with seeing these amazing changes in my family, along with having visits with inspiring friends, I can’t help but make a list of resolutions for 2015.

The other night I had dinner with my dear friends, and fellow artists Eric and Maria Wimmer.  Maria, who is a prolific blogger, recently posted her list of new years resolutions, which you can read here.  It seems only fitting that since I talked with Maria and Eric late into the night about new projects, upcoming shows and promises for the new year, that I should do the same.

That being said, here is my list for 2015:

1) Keep in touch.  With the loss of internet in my studio last fall, I fell into a silence.  Yes, I was also doing my best of staying in the present moment, but I realize how important keeping in touch is for my friends and family living far away.  So I promise to keep up on emailing as well as blog posting.

2) Complete all my projects.  Especially collaborations with friends, and push them as far as they can go.  This includes a collaborative sketchbook project, a series of articles on Istanbul Hans, a published book of travel sketches and 3 solo shows!

3) Keep up with my Turkish.  Its easy to get lazy about this one.  Even though I am living in Turkey, I am often surrounded by English speaking friends and too often succumb to the comfort of my native tongue.  This year I will continue with my private lessons, try out duolingo.com, which just added Turkish, perhaps take a month long intensive course, and just speak more often.

4) Continue with my consistent art making process, push forward with more discipline and diligence, even in those times when it is difficult to make anything.

5) Don’t loose the dedication to my yoga practice, keep connecting to that inner child and have the natural confidence that comes with letting go of our expectations from the world…just like Captain America here.

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Prints

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 gabrielleannreeves@gmail.com.  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

“Mala in the Monsoon” Mixed Media on Paper, 2013

"Waldo" Oil on Canvas, 2011

“Waldo” Oil on Canvas, 2011

"On Road"  Oil on Canvas, 2008

“On Road” Oil on Canvas, 2008

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“Apparaition” Oil on Panel, 2010

Thank you to everyone who has supported my work!  Now, back to the Black Sea…

The Show: Part 2

My last night in Ibrahimpaşa was concluded with an open studio.  After spending most of the day cleaning and packing, my drawings were displayed and I laid out plenty of cookies and juice for my guests.  The show in Goreme had been successful and enjoyable, but I was looking forward to sharing my project with the town that had been my home for 6 weeks, and had given me so much inspiration.

At 4pm, I welcomed the women to my cave studio.  Ibrahimpaşa is a gender segregated community, and in order to respect this way of living, separate times were arranged for men and women to visit the space.  The girls arrived in one large group.  I had spent a lot of time in their homes, helping with food or drawing their portraits, and I was so happy to welcome them into my space and show how grateful I was to know them.  The room was filled with laughter and a sweet, gentle air as we passed drawings around and skyped with my parents in Wyoming (who wanted to see the show and meet my new friends.)  I kissed all the girls as they left, promising that they would be dearly missed.

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I called my family again on skype so that they could meet the men of the town.  My dad compared notes about gardening with the locals as I translated in Turkish, and I suddenly realized how surreal and wonderful the moment was.

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The open studio lingered on for several more hours while we drank çay, ate sweets and haggled about the price of drawings.  I wasn’t expecting to sell much of my work, as I had only sold one piece from the show in Goreme and I was happy just to display and talk about the drawings.  However, to my surprise, there were a few interested buyers.  Turkish culture is well known for haggling about the price of anything, pazarlik as they call it.  So, I found myself bargaining on the price of my drawings in a foreign language as eager eyes shot between myself and the buyer.  When at last the prices were settled, drawings were signed, hands were shook and a few small pieces given away as gifts.  I have found myself bargaining on many occasions in Turkey, but this was the first time I was on the side of selling.  At the end of the night I had pulled down 7 drawings from the wall, sad to see them go, but happy they would be staying in Kapadokya.

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By 9pm I realized that I hadn’t eaten dinner.  So, after the crowd departed, I headed to Kuş Mehmet’s shop for one last tost, sitting in the back as I always did, eating while drawing my last village portrait.

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Commissioned Drawings

Various Drawing Commissions….

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“Greyson” Commissioned Portrait, 11″x8″ Pen on BFK Paper

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“Gabriel and Finley” Commissioned Drawing, Mixed Media on Paper

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“Pearl Street” Commissioned Plein Air Sketch, 8″x12″ Mixed Media on Paper

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“2nd Street” Commissioned Plein Air Drawing, 8″x11″ Mixed Media on Paper.

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“In Snow” Commissioned Watercolor for Wedding Invitation. 7″x5″ Watercolor on Paper

 

The Exhibition

Almost two years of work, many long studio nights, and a few tears resulted in my first solo exhibition at the Corridor Gallery.  It is was an incredible feeling to see everything from my sketchbook pages to my large studio paintings occupying one space and cumulating in a statement about my life in Istanbul.  I’m happy for the opportunity to share this part of my life with the world, in the way that I know best.  Thank you friends and family for the support and encouragement!  You can read a review of the show, as well as a few controversial comments (but what’s art without a little controversy) here, please enjoy!

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The Sale Barn

I love drawing people.  In Turkey, I would often sit in a tea house for hours and draw the crowd of Istanbullus, talking, laughing, smoking and sipping tea or coffee as if they had no other cares or obligations in the world . An open sketchbook, pencils, pens, markers and brushes scattered in the table in front of me, a hot çay and a sea of endless faces and gestures to capture is all I would need to feel as though I were in heaven.  In Wyoming this summer, I didn’t have a tea house but I still found interesting places to draw people.  Here are a few sketches from the sale barn in Riverton, where I was for three hours, drawing cowboys bidding on cattle.  This is ironic because I have not eaten meat in years, but I used to go here with my grandpa and watch the cattle, sheep and pigs as they are herded in and out of the arena.  I would listen to the auctioneer as his lips moved rapidly, resounding into the microphone his almost musical rythum.  I haven’t been here in years, but was delighted with the variety of faces I found and the nostalgia of the atmosphere.  I can’t imagine how out of place I looked, but no one seemed to notice me staring at them from the corner, just as no one seemed to notice at the çay bahçesi in Istanbul.