Thursday, June 28, 2012

The red house

The red house, Arches 28 x 38 cm
Another scene from the streets of old Ankara, Turkey.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

In old Ankara and experiments with Yupo

In old Ankara, Arches 28 x 38 cm
Ever since I started following the blog of Mineke Reinders I've wanted to visit Ankara and see its old parts with the small streets and wooden houses. We didn't have much time to spend there during our trip, but still manged to walk around a bit and snap a few photos.

This style of houses was very common in Bulgaria too in the past centuries, so there are a number of towns, where this architecture is preserved and restored.

The piece below is my first attempt to paint on Yupo paper. What a funny experience! The paint would just refuse to adhere to the paper and would retract into puddles. And to make things worse, in the middle of the sheet I saw round shapes of white paper forming, as if there was wax-resist. Then a number of letters took shape, reading "do it on Yupo". I realized, that the print from the cover of the Yupo pad has somehow changed the properties of the surface of this first sheet. Maybe I should have washed it with soap, if I knew. Anyway, I think I inadvertently ended up with a winter version of the above scene. And with the loosest painting I've ever done. My husband just laughed when he saw it and said "This should sell for a fortune!"

On Yupo!?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia, Arches 38 x 28 cm

I got a little lost in all the architectural details above.

And another attempt at the Istanbul skyline, this time with reflections in the water, that make it look like a smooth lake. But I wanted to see how it looks this way...

Istanbul skyline, Arches 40 x 30 cm

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Istanbul, watercolor and HomeSense...

I tried painting this view a few times, and the less detail I put in the more I liked it. I may try it again later.

Sunset on the Bosphorus, Arches 40 x 30 cm
Here's a story from last weekend. While doing one of our favorite city walks, we stumbled upon an Arts-and-crafts show at Toronto's Kew gardens. I was immediately attracted by a display of magnificent watercolors. Expressive portraits of people of different walks of life and beautiful city scenes in an exciting fusion of primary colors. Some figures and views reminded us strongly of our recent trip. I started chatting with the artists and it turned out that they are Asuman and Atanur Dogan - a couple of Turkish-Canadian watercolorists and sculptors. Both highly educated and very accomplished have held exhibits throughout the world. Asuman paints mostly landscapes and city scenes in her very own style of loose washes and contrasting colors. Her husband, Atanur, paints mostly figures and portraits. One of them, an old fisherman, completely captivated me.

While we were enjoying the paintings, talking with my husband about the unjust advantage that snobby attitudes give to oil in comparison to watercolor, two ladies approached.
"I like these very much!" said the first, pointing to the paintings.
"Yes, they are beautiful. But these things are not in style now. You should go to HomeSense to see the current style!" replied the second. (For those who don't know, HomeSense sells wall decorations along with its off-price home furnishing and kitchen ware.)
And I was worrying about the fate of watercolor vs. oil!

This little event made me realize how hard it must be to make a living with art, even if you are really good. And it made me admire these two people even more, and the others like them. They are apparently very skillful and versatile and could work in any medium, but they have chosen to stick to the one they are passionate about. They not only create, but also actively work towards popularizing watercolor and bringing together all watercolor artists through societies and events. I am so glad that I met them and so proud that two of the big names in watercolors live in "my neck of the woods."

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Turkish landscape

I was hesitant to put this title, as I am hardly capable of depicting the beauty of the nature I saw. My first pleasant surprise in Turkey was the beautiful and diverse landscape. For some reason I've allways thought that once crossing the Bosphorus,  you enter the arid desert of the Anatolian plateau. This is so far from the truth. There are luscious green valleys surrounded by high mountains, whose peaks were still covered with snow. It was a delight to watch the lovely pattern of differently colored agricultural fields - some freshly plowed and exposing the orange-reddish soil, while the others ranging  through all shades of green and yellow.

The view was changing too fast from the bus window, so I was trying to capture it with my camera. I must be the owner of the largest number of photos of road-side posts and shrubs. You know how these always manage to get into the frame, while you try to focus on something in the distance.

Here are a few of my attempts to transform those landscapes into watercolors.

The Meander valley, Arches 35 x 18 cm
Snow-capped mountains near Bursa, Arches 40 x 30 cm
Near Bursa, Arches 35 x 25 cm
Olive garden, Arches 40 x 25 cm

Saturday, June 9, 2012

I'm back

I am back and I am fine. I do owe an apology to a number of my blogger friends, who were surprised and worried by my disappearance. Those who asked, and those who wanted to... I was away. I knew I would be, but I didn't expect to have no time for either painting or blogging. Next time I have to plan this better...

I was on vacation. Took a very interesting trip through Turkey, and hope to be able to tell you about some of my impressions through paintings.

Next I spent time with my mother and extended family. Allays a cozy experience, despite the constant rain for two weeks. And though I was forced to spend much time indoors, there was still no time for painting or even sketching. I was enjoying the company of my little niece, who doesn't speak yet, but can still be the source of very entertaining communication.

Below are some of the few little sketches I managed to produce, just to say "Hi", until I get back on track and painting again.