Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ten Most Painted Scenes of Istanbul

One can sense some kind of competitiveness  as one looks from the massive bulk of Hagia Sophia across the park to Sultan Ahmed. The latter is infinitely more beautiful, Ottoman chic at its best. The former is intriguing much older and full of mystery and sadness, its size too reduces the first time visitor to astonishment. It's strange to see such important, symbolic, historical monuments so close to each other, good for the tourists I suppose...

The picture itself is a watercolour, the jpeg doesn't do the background any justice as it is a light hue of purple.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

More Tombs....

'So how old is this tomb?' I asked the young boy in his early teens who was following us around this strange old graveyard on the Silk Route.
"It's really old, probably 1960s' he answered.

Strange really, it's not exactly the epitomy of 1960s Chinese communist architecture! To be fair to our companion that day, he was sadly ignorant of the rich, long history of his people and the ancient status that his town had occupied in centuries past.

The city of Yarkand sits on the Silk-route that skirts the southern edge of the Taklamakan desert in North West China.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Izmir Trees

Trees are definitely alive. I mean, not just alive, but aware, conscious. John F. Carlson in his 'Landscape Painting' classic also implies that trees have a higher state of being than your average lumberjack would acknowledge, so that's good enough for me.

Tolkien seems to have been preoccupied with trees. Although dare I say it in this Lord of the Rings besotted generation,  Tom Bombadil and the Ents were his least gripping moments in what I would say was a great read (notice Tom Bombadil isn't in the film).

The above trees were 'meditating' near me for a few days some years ago in Izmir Turkey and I was charmed by them.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Awaiting Rebirth

The traditional houses of the people of Istanbul were made of wood. The vast majority of buildings you'd see in the city now are reinforced concrete apartments. I'm told that forty years ago in the place of most of the apartment blocks you see now there would have stood wooden houses.

Apparently due to the costs of insuring these dwellings because of their susceptibility to fire most of them were torn down. Now many of those remaining have preservation orders on them which means in most cases that they molder away. The lucky ones are beautifully restored and often have a grace and beauty that puts the modern ubiquitous apartment blocks to shame. I'm also told that they are a lot better in an earth quake!

This is a watercolour painting of a detail of one these old buildings, 'Awaiting rebirth'. In the past I've favoured free flowing watercolour techniques, 'allow the water to do the painting' has been a principle of mine. In my most recent phase I have allowed the subject to dictate what is going on which which leads to far more controlled, almost photographic result. Realism has never been a aim of mine but it works for this kind of subject.

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